Krishna · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 13 Selfish

Kanha could sense there was something wrong with Arjun from afar. His usual grace and vigor were clearly lost, he seemed unsettled about something and then for him to come to Dwarka unannounced was a little out of the ordinary as well.

Kanha welcomed Arjun with a tight embrace and led him to the satin throws the chambermaid had placed by the window. It was a beautiful night, far away in the harbor the boats could be seen bobbing in their luminescent lanterns making for a magical horizon but Kanha could see that the magic was lost on Arjun.
“You must be tired from the ride, I could have the cooks make a special meal for you my dear brother?” Kanha offered Arjun with a smile.
“I stopped to eat at dusk and then I don’t feel so hungry,” Arjun tried to offer Kanha a smile in return but failed half way.

Kanha let him soak in the sea breeze for a while and then lovingly put a hand on his shoulder, “What steals the hunger of the greatest warrior of Bharata?”
Arjun sighed and Kanha could see the struggle on his face. He could see that Arjun was in a lot of pain.
“I am ashamed. I don’t know how to talk about this Kanha,” Arjun said in a pain filled voice.
“And yet you ride all the way here because you know that I am the only person you can talk to, is that right?”
Kanha’s eyes glowed with the light of scores of oil lamps that lit the hall. Arjun nodded. Kanha allowed him the time he needed to say what he wanted.
“I am jealous, very jealous. I am finding it very hard to share,” Arjun said finally. It was clear that it took all his strength to bring that forth.
Kanha still maintained a soothing silence.
“I won her, she is mine and still I have to share her with my brothers,” the pain was making his voice tremble. “Draupadi is mine, I cannot bear the thought of her being with anyone but me and yet I know it is wrong. Mother has ordained that we are all to be her husbands but I am envious. Save me Kanha, please! Save me from this selfishness. I love my brothers but I love her too. I have no clue what to do!”
Kanha felt Arjun’s pain; love could humble even the greatest of warriors.

“Why is a man selfish Kanha, why can he not think about others before him? Why can I not do what is right?”
Kanha looked at the boats in the distance and sighed, “The problem is man is not selfish enough. Selfishness of the greatest denominator and the smallest denominator is lost to man. If he found that it would take care of all the troubles.”
Arjun looked at Kanha flummoxed, this was not the answer he had expected.
“Humans were made selfish for a reason, if they were not selfish they would not be able to survive and they would not be able to progress in their soul journey. However, humans have failed on both the fronts.”
“I have no idea what you are talking about Kanha,” Arjun knew Kanha well to know that there was a celestial secret that he was going to learn, he also knew that he would have to be patient.

“Explain to me Kanha,” he beseeched.
Kanha nodded and turned around to face Arjun.
“It’s like this, let’s look from the smallest to the greatest denominator. A man is first selfish for himself, is that right?”
Arjun nodded.
“Next he is selfish for his family, then for his tribe, then perhaps for his city, in rare cases for his country but the greatest denominator is lost to him. Do you follow, Arjun?”
“You mean the entire planet?” Arjun’s eyes widened with realization.
Kanha smiled, “Yes, after a point when the numbers start becoming too big Man stops caring. It is too much for him to grasp but he does not understand that in the largest good is his good. If he is not selfish about the planet there is no point in being selfish about the country or the tribe.”
“What is the smallest denominator then,” wondered Arjun.
“The soul Arjun, your soul. You may think that your body is the smallest denominator but there is something even more valuable and smaller, the soul that your body hides. If you are selfish for your soul then you will never think of the body.”
Arjun sat awe-struck looking at Kanha.
“The creator made you selfish for the extreme ends of the spectrum where Man unfortunately never reaches. Arjun, if you are selfish for the entire planet and then selfish for the soul all your decisions will be wise and moral. You shall see yourself. Your feeling selfish about Draupadi is a bodily selfishness. Now think what your soul would want?”
Arjun nodded and whispered, “The soul would never agree to carry the burden of such jealousy…”
Kanha did not respond, he let Arjun live with what he had just learned. He knew that Arjun was reaching out to his soul, it would probably take him all night, but the morning would be well worth it.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 12 The Dream Machine

The silence was deafening. The silence was screaming for silence. The web of love and lies that people weave and then the day when it all comes to light, it is a lot of shouting, harsh words thrown at each other, accusations, insulting barbs and then silence. This was that silence.

Fred sat looking at the woman whom he had lived with for the past ten years, his lawfully wedded wife but what he saw was someone he could not even recognize. He had no reason to look away from her, she did. Gloria, she knew it would come to this. But then life had thrown her the one chance and it was her last chance. She had to take it.

“You do know that the dream machine does not work twice for the same person? If you get it wrong there is no coming back to this marriage Gloria. Do you really want that?” Fred spoke in a quiet tone, now that all the shouting was done.
Gloria took a deep breath and spoke with all the equanimity she could gather. “Fred, you are everything that a woman would want but you are not everything I want. I loved Michael. Always have. And now this dream machine gives me the chance to relive the one dream that I want most and I want that dream. I know you don’t have the money. I have saved enough money and I can pay the dream makers for my own dream.”
“Do you know how the dream machine works?” Fred was almost accusing her of being careless and thoughtless once again. “Yes, I have done all the research. You get one shattered dream to mend and I want the dream I had of being with Michael to be mended. I fought with him, moved away from him over… over something really petty and I have missed him everyday. I cannot let that one chance go.”
Fred could not stop the tear from escaping his eye. He was shocked. He was shocked that she did not love him like he had imagined all through his marriage. What was worse, now she wanted to make use of this new invention that mended a shattered dream and correct her one dream. But what about him? What about his dream?

“You are going to mend a shattered dream by shattering a dream that I am living?” Fred asked Gloria in a choked voice.
“Don’t make this more difficult than it is already for me Fred. It’s been a tough decision for me. The Machine will go back to the time when Michael and I parted and warn me not to fight. I hope that means that we end up together. It is a big chance I am taking. I could well be alone and all by myself at the end of all this.”
Fred said no more. He stood up from the couch and walked out of the house. He needed air and some clarity. By the time he got back home Gloria would be gone and the dream machine would have changed all the reality around him. All signs of Gloria for the last ten years in his timeline would be wiped out. He cursed the man who had invented this machine. He wondered how many dreams were broken for every dream that was mended.

He was surely going to sign the petition to the President that wanted only those dreams to be mended that did not shatter someone else’s living dream. But he also knew that the petition would do nothing. The dream companies were paying millions to the powers that be. Nothing was going to come out of it.

When Fred got home he saw that all the signs of Gloria were gone. What hurt him the most was to see himself alone in all the pictures in which they had been together. She had gone to the man she loved. And he… he had to now live with the memory of the woman he loved.

Six months later, Fred was at an agency that sold virtual office spaces for start up businesses. He had no idea that he would bump into Gloria and Michael. They seemed very happy together, beaming even. Michael seemed to be starting something big and wanted all the space on the island sim that was available. Gloria looked at him and smiled, she had never met him in her timeline. She did not know who he was but he could see that she found him familiar. He was right.

So Gloria walked up to Fred and asked him in her lovely voice, “Excuse me, have we met before?”
Fred smiled back, “I am… I am afraid not. You must be mistaken.”
Gloria looked at him for a moment longer and then nodded. “I must be mistaken. Wait a minute! Have we not met at the dream machine? I thought I saw you there.”
Fred could feel a lump in his throat, “I could never afford a dream machine. I realized that a dream is nothing but a reality that refuses to change and so I just changed my reality.”
Gloria suddenly looked very sad. “That is a beautiful thing to say.” she said. “Beautiful. I have been to the dream machine guys but they tell me I have already used my chance of mending one dream. According to the rules they won’t tell me what my reality was before that dream but when you said what you did I felt you touched something inside me.” Fred smiled. “When you shatter one person’s dream to make your dream a bit of that nightmare always follows you.” Fred could say no more and he walked away.
Gloria could not understand why but she began to sob.


Fiction · Krishna · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 11 The Time Machine

It’s easy to imagine a time machine and even easier to imagine the wonderful worlds it could take you to. The exotic past and the wondrous future that was available at the flick of a button. But the reality of time travel was rather different.

Unnikrishnan or Unni as his colleagues called him was all set to test the machine. The problem, what was the assurance that the time machine would land in the year that the dial of the machine had ordered? A little error in his calculations and he could land anywhere. Was he ready to sit in a time machine and flag himself on a one way trip to nowhere? It was worrisome to say the least.

The scientist that lay in Unnikrishnan did not give a damn about the perils of a journey without a return ticket. But the Unni the little boy from the South of India was worried. He was worried about his parents, his unmarried sister and the EMIs that he took care of.

That night Unni could barely sleep. He tossed and turned in bed. The buzzing of the mosquitoes was the only music to accompany him. To time travel or not to time travel? He turned to the picture of Lord Krishna that hung on the wall of his bedroom. It was the only thing that had lasted in his room since the time he was born. It was not fashionable for men of science to believe in God but Unni was a man of faith. He agreed with Edison that if there was a creation then there had to be a creator. After all just a couple of hundred years ago the human race thought that the Earth was the center of the solar system and that the Earth was flat. So what was to say that God was just around the corner and he would soon show himself.

Unni had a very strange way of asking Lord Krishna to point out the right choice for him. He would ask for a sign and then acted on the basis of the sign from the Lord.

That night, restless in his bed Unni spoke to Lord Krishna and said, “Hey krishna, if you want me to take this journey let there be parathas for breakfast.” Now mind you, in a South Indian house parathas were a rarity and not like the normal idlis that showed their face every morning.

The next morning, Unni approached the breakfast table with a fair amount of trepidation to be welcomed by steaming hot parathas. The choice was made.

Time waited for him to travel and he could not keep time waiting. So, he drove to his lab and uncovered the machine. He went through the pre flight checklist set the date to 1500 A.D. Five hundred years back was far enough. He then went over his calculations, turned the nuclear fission generator into critical mode and then minutes later…. whoosh!

There was a lot of rumbling. Tumbling. Unni felt like someone was tearing his skin apart and the G forces were more than any aviator in history could have encountered. A sharp high octave sound almost split his eardrum and then suddenly it all went silent before one final heart stopping crash.

Unni stepped out of the time machine and found himself at the bank of a river. On closer inspection he found that he was stuck in a marsh. His legs caked with mud and the flies buzzing around him like he was a half eaten discarded sweet. The Time machine was gutted and so was he in some pre historic time. Served him right for messing with the dimensions.

It was precisely at that moment that he heard a human sound, screaming, hysterical. He hid behind the twisted metal. He was going to be found out and a tribal chief was going to behead him. Or probably, have him for breakfast. He was certain of that.

To his surprise, the man did not even notice him or his gutted machine and to his shock he knew why. The man was screaming, “He is coming! He is coming! Krishna is coming to Mathura!” He had travelled back not five hundred years but five thousand years. He was in the time of Lord Krishna. And then in his mind he saw the Krishna in the picture on his bedroom wall smiling at him. Krishna was coming to Mathura. He was going to see Krishna. If he could go back to his time, he would be the man who discovered God.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 10 Other Ways

There were two things that Zehra found out the hard way. When she had met Ahmet he was a young handsome footballer and the Euro cup hopeful for the country. Ahmet had even taken her to Bebet hills along the Bosporus where the rich of Istanbul lived to show her the mansion that he intended to buy as a wedding gift.

Life seemed a bed of roses for Zehra and that was the first thing that Zehra learnt. Life was sadistic, it would show you the possibility of a good time and then snatch it away from you. It was not tragic that you failed, it was tragic that you almost succeeded and that was where Ahmet came in. An accident injured him and from the footballer of repute he turned into a drunken wife beater. That was the second thing that life taught Zehra. It taught her that misery sought someone else to blame. And in the case of her marriage Ahmet’s misery had sought to blame her.

It was like clock work. Ahmet would wake up in the afternoon while she was already at work. He would call her and find her something to abuse her about. By the time she got home he had already had his first drink. She would try hard to ignore him and even harder to do nothing wrong around him but the more she tried the more she failed. It was as if Ahmet lived to traumatize her. He would find an excuse to assault her with anything he could… Slippers, belts, sometimes throw the very glass he was drinking from.

Zehra’s trips to the hospital became a weekly ritual. Doctors who stitched her up could scarce believe the story of a woman who seemed to have some kind of a accident every week. They knew. They suggested that she should approach some woman’s organization. Some organization that dealt in this matter. But Zehra shrugged it off. It did not matter.

It was a week after the annual Mesir festival that Zehra found out that she had a new neighbour and also that she was six weeks pregnant. What should have been a cause of celebration turned out to be a cause of deep sorrow for Zehra. How was she going to bring up a child with a primordial beast like Ahmet? Should she tell him about the child? Would that change him, make him more humane?

She didn’t have to think about the problem for too long. That evening in a drunken stupor Ahmet kicked Zehra so hard that she lost her child even before it could take its first breath.

In the early light of a spring morning Zehra sat on the bench in the park that ran along side the street where she lived. She had enough. There was only one way out of this. She had to kill Ahmet. Just kill him. That was the only way.

Then she looked at her apartment building across the street and found her new neighbour in his balcony, staring at her. Like he had picked up her thoughts. He did not even care to look away. He just stared.

How does one take a life and make it look like an accident? Zehra was so consumed with this that she thought about it all day. She did not care about the beatings anymore. She didn’t even cry out loud or make a sound when Ahmet chaffed her peaches and dove skin with a burning cigarette. It just had to be done. He had to be killed.

One week of interest research on the subject matter told her that poisoning was perhaps the best way. There was the old arsenic concoction it would show up in blood. So, how does one do it? Lost in her thoughts Zehra did not see the neighbour stepping out of his house in time and bumped into him quite literally. She apologized quickly and then she noticed that he was wearing a police officer’s uniform.

No! Her mind screamed, God could not be doing this to her. She could not have a police officer for a neighbour! Was this why he was staring at her? Did he know what she was up to? She walked aimlessly through the market street all day. Even if she bought the poison the police officer next door must have heard enough through the thin walls and he would know what would have happened. This killing plan was not going anywhere. But she had to kill… herself… not her husband. She would have to end her own life.

Ahmet was home earlier on that day. Drunk as usual. He seemed to be in a particularly fiendish mood on that day. In a fit of rage he went for Zehra and grabbed her neck to strangle her… when the deep rooted instinct for survival made her grab a knife and slash Ahmet across his throat. Then his face, then his chest, his arms, his torso, his legs…. over and over and over.

Then a knock on the door. “Please open the door, I know you are in there.” It was unmistakably the voice of the police officer who lived next door. He had heard everything through the thin walls. The humiliation, the screaming, the beatings, the horror she went through everyday at the hands of the man she had married. And now he lay there in a pool of his own blood, dead but with the police outside. She looked at herself in the mirror, the knife still in her hand, blood splattered all over her. She knew she had to open the door. It was all over.

The Police Officer walked in, looked at the blood soaked scene then turned to her and said, “we must first get rid of the body”… All Zehra could do was stare.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 9 Rebel with a Cause

Bunty had always been a problem child, a rebel without a pause! All he to do was meet authority and it would be fireworks. Very often it seemed like he went looking for authority just so that he could rebel against it, a compulsive rule breaker.

Sharada, had enough trouble keeping a large household together and Bunty problems, as everyone in the house called them, were getting just too nerve wracking for her to handle.
Bunty was the youngest of her three sons. Akhil and Amar, they were both married to lovely girls but Bunty remained obdurate in his views about marriage. He called it an ‘outdated institution’ and a ‘bloody waste of time’.
Sharada’s husband had died leaving her alone with her three sons when Sharada was still a young woman but she was indefatigable in her mission as a mother who wanted to give her Sons the best. It was Sharada’s belief in her God that had seen her through those trying years and aided her in her mission. So when Bunty insulted her belief in her God she decided enough was enough! An intervention was needed. A Family meeting had to be called!

Bunty had been a veteran of many a family intervention, not many things really worried him.
“You really hurt the Panditji,”Akhil fired the first opening salvo after dinner on Saturday. The two Brothers, their wives and Sharada had accosted Bunty, he had to answer for his behaviour.
“What did I do?” Bunty was almost dismissive in his demeanour.
“You knew there was a pooja in the house and yet you stayed in your room all day, not venturing out even for the aarti and when Maa asked you to take the Panditji’s blessings you shrugged and walked away. That is no way to behave,” scolded Amar.
“I don’t believe in pooja,” Bunty shot back.
“Why? Why must you be so troublesome? Why can you not follow tradition?” Sharada exclaimed woefully.
“Cause it is nonsense!” Bunty kept his calm, refusing to get drawn into this game.
“Do you not believe in God?” his Mother asked him.
“I do but not in pooja,” Bunty retorted.
There was no point arguing with the boy and the family came to that decision much sooner than Bunty had anticipated. Sharada was disappointed in Bunty but Akhil and Amar explained to her that it was the arrogance of youth and as time went by he would understand the value of tradition. Sharada secretly prayed he would.

What no one in the family expected was that in the coming days Bunty’s behavior would go from odd to bizarre.

One evening the intercom in the house rang and when Sharada answered it she found it was the building security on the line. The Guard had a message from Bunty, he was hungry and wanted dinner. Sharada was convinced that Bunty had lost his mind.
“Why do you have to ask the apartment security to talk to me? Can you not tell me that you are hungry yourself?”
Bunty said nothing in response but an hour later the security guard called again with another message, “Bunty says that he did not want to hurt you and he loves you. It was just that he was very hungry.” Sharada said nothing, she only wished she had a way of rebooting Bunty’s mind.

As the days went by Bunty would speak only through the security guard. Everything that Bunty wanted it was the Guard who would ask Sharada. Finally Sharada had had enough; she barged into Bunty’s room with the rest of the family in tow and told him in a firm quiet tone that she had decided to leave the house. It was obvious that Bunty and she could not live together. Her Sister had been asking her for the longest time to move in with her and Sharada had decided to take the offer. “Enough!”

Bunty smiled at his Mother and then walked up to her and gave her a tight hug,
“Now you know how God feels Mom?” he said lovingly. The best the family could do was look at Bunty confused.
“Like I love God, I love you. You have suffered endlessly to bring us up. You are my Hero and yet when I talk to you through the Security Guard does it not feel bizarre?” Sharada was more perplexed than ever.
“God loves you and Akhil and Amar and Bhabhi, He’s been with us through everything. Do you think you need a Pandit to talk to Him? Do you think He needs tradition to get to Him? Do you think God speaks Sanskrit and does not understand our language? Do you think He needs for you to extoll His virtues and… and pay obeisance to him for your love? Is your God like that? Mine is not.”

For the first time in her life Sharada understood that though Bunty was a rebel, he was a rebel with a cause! She hugged her son tight. He reminded her that the greatest tradition of our land was “Vaad, Vivaad, Samvaad!” The freedom to argue, question and discuss. She thanked God for him and this time spoke to God without an interpreter.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 8 The Hate Diary

People you meet on your way up are the people you meet on your way down. Harold held on to that maxim in those difficult days. He knew he had talent; he only needed that one opportunity to showcase his talent.

At first even the bit roles on stage were hard to come by. He would audition everyday, learn the lines backwards and know them better than anyone else, even the lead, but it was all a matter of chance and chance was in the habit of ignoring him.

Then very slowly the bit roles began to stream in, sometimes a couple of lines and at other times just standing on the stage like a tree. But it was the humiliations that were heaped on him that kept him going.

Harold kept a diary of all the people who had hurt him deeply, his talent and his desperation. The casting director who made a joke out of him and refused him a role, the writer who thought he should get out of town and stop spoiling his script, the director who scratched his lines and gave them to someone else and the actress who refused to be cast opposite him.

He remembered the lines from “Ben-Hur”, “Your eyes are full of hate forty-one, that is good, very good, hate keeps a man alive.” Hate was certainly keeping him alive.

Time went by and Harold’s fortunes began to change, a character role here and there, then praise from critics and the applause from the audience won him even better roles, till he made it to the lead.

Fifteen years after he stepped off the bus to become an actor Harold was finally considered the next big thing. Yet Harold had not forgotten. He kept his hate diary close to him. It was his turn now; he would do to them what they did to him. The very people who once snubbed him were willing to do anything to work with him but Harold would not work with any of them. He made sure that people on his hate list had no part to play in his projects, from casting directors to writers to lead actors, no one was allowed on his projects.

Quincy Quinn was one such director. When Harold was a bit player Quinn was a star director but now the tables had turned, Quinn could not land any work and Harold ruled the marquee. It took a lot of cajoling from Harold’s agents to get Harold to grant Quinn one face-to-face meeting. Reluctantly Harold agreed.

“Lets make this as quick as possible Quinn,” Harold told the director dryly. Quinn nodded, smiled. “I believe you don’t want to work with me for the way I treated you when you were still a nobody?”
“That is correct,” Harold responded, the hate still evident in his eyes.
“No great work can be created in the climate of hate and so I have not asked to meet with you to beg you for work. I just wanted to share a secret of the universe with you, that is all,” Quinn kept his smile alive.
“Really? And what is that secret?” Harold asked sarcastically.
“No one stays successful forever, the crest and troughs are a part of life but remember Harold, in good times or bad, people are never against you, they are just too much for themselves, think about it. People don’t want to do what is bad for you, they just want to do what they think is good for them.” Having said that Quinn stood up and showed himself out of the room.

Harold sat alone in the room long after Quinn was gone, then he walked into his study, picked his hate diary up and threw it into the fire that burned bright in the heat.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 7 Golden Opportunity

Since the early age of seven there were just two things that Sam was very fond of, one, hamburgers and two, computers. By the time Sam was nine he could break the code of all the school computers and rewrite most of the exam papers, much to the joy of his friends. And by the time he was eleven Sam broke into the National Bank server making his own gateway, though he had to quickly scramble out before all hell broke loose.

As Sam grew up he came to realize that hacking was not really a good job, if you really wanted to be on the honest side of the fence. Sam had an idea. He wanted to float his own Internet Security agency but the idea collapsed even before it started. No one was really interested in paying for Internet Security; no one really took the dangers of the Internet world seriously. Well it was what it was!

His Father had a friend who had a friend that owned a stock broking firm. Sam managed to get a day job at the firm. All he had to do was punch away at numbers and take calls all day. There was one advantage, a Hamburger joint close down the street, he could eat as many as his heart desired.
The owner of the firm, Ghanshayam Shah, insisted on calling Sam by his given name, Shyamsunder. Not that it terribly bothered Sam but it was just the way he called his name. He added a sarcastic lilt to it and stretched the yam of the Shyam a fair amount. It made all the other employees at the terminals laugh out loud. Sam would just grin and just bear it politely . Amongst Ghanshyam Shah’s peculiar habits there was one he had of sending his investors text messages of “golden opportunities” that they might want to invest in.

It was on a rainy Monday morning when one such “golden opportunity” misfired completely. Ghanshyam was besides himself with rage. His investors had been pulling out all day and all his begging and pleading had helped very little.

Now, on the other side of the room Sam was munching away at his hamburger and punching away on the numbers. From the un-scrubbed glass of his cabin Ghanshyam watched this sight with growing anger. Imagine relishing a burger while he was losing investors that he had worked a lifetime to gather around! Insensitive to the core! He marched up to Sam and grabbing the burger from his hand threw it out of the window.
There was a collective gasp from the office and a stunned Sam. “It is because of lazy bastards like you that I have to see a day like today! Eat all day while I lose my money! Get the fuck out of my office! Now!”

Sam had no idea what had happened. What had he done to deserve such humiliation and have his burger thrown out of the window? Everyone in the office could see tears of humiliation in Sam’s eyes. He picked his bag up slowly and walked out of the office.

“It must be your fault! I am sure you did something that you are not owning up to now, I am going to call Ghanshyam in the morning and apologize on your behalf,” his father bemoaned. Sam’s cries of innocence were lost in the melee of accusations.

That night Sam went to his room and cried himself to sleep. He could not get the image of Ghanshyam Shah grabbing his burger and throwing it out of the window off his mind.

Sam woke up to the sound of his Father pleading on the phone with Ghanshyam, he felt his heart being crushed under the weight of his Father’s disgrace. It was in the way that his Father hung up the phone that he knew that Ghanshyam did not want him back… But he, he would have to get back at Ghanshyam. There had to be jusitice!

Now, all he needed was a laptop and a Wi-Fi.

Sam had saved enough money to buy a second hand laptop, it was just for a day’ in any case, then a coffee shop with a free Wi-Fi area. It took Sam less than five minutes to get into the computer network of Ghanshyam’s Stock broking agency. Creating red herrings and using the agency’s IP address Sam hacked into the websites of The Press Service of India and The Indian News Network, the premier news agencies, and posted a bit of a breaking news, he posted, “Attack on PM’s motorcade, PM could be gravely injured, two bodyguards dead!”
He then threw the laptop in the garbage can down the road and walked away

By the time the agencies could correct the breaking news, report the hack and send out an explanation the Stock market had lost its bearings. In the fifteen minutes that the mayhem lasted investors panicked and went on a selling spree. In an hour when the dust had settled investors had lost more than a 100 million rupees. Sam, he bought himself a burger.

Fifteen days later the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister looked at the report of what had happened. Someone had played a prank from Ghanshyam Shah’s office, a stockbrokers office. Ghanshyam was behind bars and all his employees were being questioned but they really could not pin the blame on any one person. The Owner, however had been ordered to close the firm down and he was facing some really serious charges that could have him in prison for the rest of his life.

The National Security Advisor smiled and shook his head, “It’s not that Idiot behind the bars or any one working there, let them go, this is a work of a genius.”
The Sleuth in front of him nodded.
“Did you not tell me about a disgruntled employee who had his burger thrown out?” asked the Security Advisor.
“I did Sir,” responded the sleuth.
“Find him!”
“But what can we charge him with?” probed the sleuth.
“We don’t want to charge him, we want to hire him for National Security!”


Fiction · Little fellow · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 6 LOVE

It was really a celestial joke when the things that made you fall in love with someone started to become the things that you grew to abhor in that very someone. What was the problem with love? Why could it not stick around? Why did it have to be slippery, so.. so undependable?

Alok and Shubra had tried everything to keep their marriage together but nothing seemed to work. No amount of counseling or interventions by loved ones. Alok wanted “space” and thought Shubra was too controlling. Shubra wanted him to be responsible, “Space” did not mean behaving like a bachelor and forgetting that he had a wife at home.

“I suggest you guys take a holiday, stay with each other, away from the pressures of an everyday life. You might rediscover love,” Nana suggested to the both of them. Shubra’s Grandfather had been the only non-partisan member of the feud that was brewing between the two of them. More of out of respect for him and less out of any hope, they decided to take a holiday.

Shubra chose a lonely town in the South West of England. Alok would have preferred London but Shubra reminded him that the idea wasn’t really to live it up but to live together. He agreed.

In the various leaflets that crowded the quaint reception desk of the old Victorian Hotel Alok found one that screamed, “Visit the Haunted Lighthouse!” His eyes widened with excitement, this was going to be a fun place to be after all.
“You must be out of your mind Alok, I am not going to visit any haunted lighthouse,” Shubra cribbed.
“Come on! We are supposed to do the together thing, that’s why we are here, I promise to take you to the sailor’s market tomorrow’” Alok gave her his best boyish smile and Shubra gave in under protest.

It was midday when they got to the lighthouse and the lack of visitors gave the tourist guide nothing better to do than to feed the seagulls. He was more than happy to show them around at a fat discount.

The Guide explained to them the legend of the lighthouse as they made their way up the rickety wooden staircase. “Her name was Julia, she lived in the town, a young beautiful lady. They say that her lover was a sailor and went away on long voyages. One stormy evening she received news her lover’s ship had been sighted on the horizon. They say she waited, a candle in her hand for her lover’s ship to come into port but as the morning came she found that the ship had hit a rock in the storm and gone under. She was so devastated by the news that she threw herself off the lighthouse and fell to her death. A lot of people have seen a woman with a candle on the lighthouse.” Alok was fascinated and Shubra sufficiently disgusted. “We haven’t come all the way from India to hear this horrific story,” she whispered into Alok’s ears.

Shubra booked a table for two at a charming little restaurant off the pier. It was candlelit and romantic. It did not go well though. Shubra wanted to talk about the relationship and Alok wanted to have a drink to celebrate their togetherness.
There was no togetherness Shubra reminded him, Alok was quick to retort that it was because she always had to control him, why could he not have a drink? All hell broke loose; Shubra began to cry and walked out of the restaurant. Alok decided to stay and drink, he was going to do exactly what he wanted and no one was going to tell him otherwise.

Now, it was passed midnight; Alok was walking back to the Hotel when he chanced upon the lighthouse. He stopped and in his drunken stupor wondered if love like that really existed, where you would jump off a lighthouse and kill yourself. All he could see was Shubra jumping at his throat.

It was at precisely that moment that he saw her with a candle in her hand, the spirit of Julia. She was looking at him from the lighthouse window. She was beautiful, dressed in a charming early Victorian gown. It was a clear night and even from such a distance he could see the sorrow writ large on her face.

He stood paralyzed, unable to move. And then he saw her fall off the lighthouse right in front of his eyes. The candle blew out somewhere mid-fall. Alok wanted to scream but his scream remained stuck in this throat. All he could do was throw his arm out in horror watching her crash to the ground and then disappear as the waves crashed all over her, becoming one with her lover, in the watery grave.

Alok staggered back and sat himself down on a milestone by the side of the road. He did not realize when morning came.
When he got to the Hotel he found Shubra waiting for him, she had been crying and looked most anxious. She came charging at him, crazed, “Where the hell have you been all night and why have you not been answering the phone, I am just sick….”

Then she stopped. She had come close to see the expression on his face, there was deep anguish. Something had jolted him out of his everyday reverie. “What is the matter Alok?” her voice grew soft and the concern had a touch of affection mixed in it.

Alok and Shubra stood at the very spot that Alok had stood the night before watching the lighthouse. It was a cold foggy night. The road lay quiet; the last car had passed them by an hour ago.

It was past midnight and there was no sign of Julia’s Spirit.
“You were drunk Alok, you could have been mistaken,” Shubra whispered.
Alok shook his head. “No Shubra, she will come, I know, I believe.” Shubra sighed, “Ghosts don’t exist Alok, there is nothing to believe…” “There!” Alok whispered loudly. Then Shubra saw her too, candle in hand looking at the two of them, the waves crashing under her. Then like the night before she threw herself off the lighthouse. Shubra screamed and buried her face in Alok’s jacket. When she looked back Julia was gone, only the waves remained, lashing at the shore. They stood there for a long time after as the fog approached them from the sea.

“What we believe exists and what we don’t believe exists too. Its existence doesn’t change based on our belief,” Alok whispered.
“Like our love,” said Shubra gently.
“Yes, if we believe then it hasn’t gone anywhere,” replied a teary eyed Alok.
As the fog enveloped them in its loving embrace Alok and Shubra kissed like they had never kissed before.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 5 Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Rahul had often wondered what that meant till it became imperative for him to think things through with a calm calculated mind to bring matters to the end he desired.

The first thing he needed to do was to hire a detective and pretend to want to find out something that he had already found out. The choice of the detective was very important. He had to be good at his job but someone who could not be trusted in the end. He had to be someone who could spill the beans when push came to shove.

Rahul found the kind that he was looking for in Dinesh Karmakar. He had a dingy office somewhere in the back roads of the suburb. On the face of it he looked the same as the others but he noticed that Karmakar had a dog that he kept tied up in office. Any man who kept his dog tied up and who preferred the comfort of his clients to the freedom of his dog was the kind of man who would buckle under pressure easily. Rahul hired Dinesh Karmakar and wrote him a cheque for the complete job even before he had started the job.

Now, for the next part of the plan!Rahul came home from office and sat alone in his study, he looked pensive, forlorn even. His wife, Sheetal came in and asked him if something was the matter but Rahul brushed it aside.
“I have to go to Delhi tomorrow, to meet my Lawyers,” he informed Sheetal.
Sheetal frowned, “Rahul its Sunday tomorrow! We have to go to brunch with Karan and Siya. You are surely not going to meet lawyers on a Sunday! You can easily go on Monday morning if you want.”
Rahul did not want to argue. He nodded his agreement.
Sheetal was thankful that Rahul had decided to be in a better mood at brunch and not his usual sullen self, sticking to the corner of the room as he usually did.

It was after lunch and before dessert, Rahul and Karan stepped out of the restaurant for a smoke. Rahul and Karan had been friends for long and Rahul had always found it easy to confide in Karan.
“I am going to Delhi tomorrow, to meet my lawyers,” he told Karan, his tone did seem conspiratorial.
“Delhi? You got lawyers in Mumbai too, you know?” Karan rebuked with a grin.
Rahul smiled but stayed thoughtful, “I need to get Sheetal out of my will. I want to give it away, everything, to a trust.”
Karan seemed to be taken aback by this confession but he preferred to remain quiet and let Rahul do the talking. Rahul decided to stay quiet as well. There was nothing to more to say.

Late on Sunday night as Sheetal slept, Rahul woke up and went out to his car. He had bought prawns earlier in the evening and left them in the car. He was allergic to prawns but he had to eat a few.

Sheetal woke up to find Rahul vomiting his guts out in the toilet. He was in no shape to catch the flight and go to Delhi. The meeting with the lawyer had to be cancelled.

Rahul crawled into bed and asked Sheetal to call the lawyer and inform him that he could not make it.

He listened with all his senses alert as Sheetal called the lawyer. As she finished he smiled and decided to take the rest of the day off. He needed to sleep and flush the damn prawns out of his system.

The next part of the plan needed him to get better and go about his life as usual. Rahul did that with ease.

Now for the last piece of the plan!
Rahul took a cab to the address that he gotten from his builder friend who in turn had used an outside “agency” to get a “job’ done. It was a dingy restaurant in the seedy side of town. Even at the odd hour of the night the streets were crowded with shops that bled onto the road and hookers who kept a frightened eye on a pimp and a glad eye on the customers were all around.
“Light of Shera”, the restaurant called itself.
He sat himself down on the table that he was advised to sit on. Fifteen minutes later the owner of the establishment sat down in front of him.
“I need to get someone murdered,” Rahul said very nonchalantly.
“We need a picture,” the owner responded with an equal degree of casualness.
Rahul nodded.

Two days later Rahul asked Sheetal to drop a package off for him at a suburban hotel. He would have done it himself but unfortunately he had back-to-back meetings. Would she please oblige?

Sheetal said she would do it.
Rahul put together a sizeable number of money bundles and then a picture into a brown paper bag. He then taped the bag over and over again.

Then, he went to Sheetal and gave the package to her with a smile and a kiss. Sheetal kissed him back but it was a routine kiss that lacked any affection, Rahul did not care.

He stepped out and called Dinesh Karmakar, “Make sure you follow my wife today from the moment she leaves the house and get pictures of her with everyone she meets.”
Dinesh did not think that was going to be tough thing to do.
Sheetal met the man that her husband had asked her to meet in the lobby of the hotel. She had no idea that the man owned a restaurant by the name of, “Light of Shera”

When Karmakar called to tell him that he had all the pictures of his wife’s day out Rahul smiled and allowed himself to make a drink. It was done. Everything was in place.

Five days later when Rahul stepped out of his office a car without any number plate screeched to a stop in front of him.

Two men pointed country made pistols at him and opened fire.
Rahul took most of the bullets from the volley directed at him.
The men sat back in the car within a flash of a second and the car sped away.

As Rahul fell to the ground he had an image of Karan and Sheetal in bed together. It had burned into his soul from the very moment he had walked in early from his business trip and seen them from the crack in the door.

Now all that was needed was for a clever investigative mind to piece the evidence that he had planeted together. It would be easy. He let himself into his death. Sweet, sweet death. Sweet, sweet revenge.


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 4 Space Odyssey

It was true; they had finally got to it. 55Cnce, also named Janssen, an exoplanet that orbits its Sun-like host star, 55 Cancri A, 41 light years from Earth.

Captain Quinton gazed out of the large windows of the spaceship at the planet in front of him. Planet Janssen, once a rumor in the scientific community was now a reality orbiting in front of him.
When it was first suggested that the planet’s crust could be made of graphite and diamond everyone thought it was a joke that had gone too far but yet, here it was spinning with all the diamond on it.

The first reconnaissance party that did an orbit around the planet confirmed a layer of diamonds till the eye could see.
Had it not been for the dimensional access that was discovered a few years ago they would have never been able to get so far away from Earth, 41 light years in 2 years was unthinkable!Though, there was one unthinkable thing that did happen. Orbiting the Planet they found another spaceship and it did not belong to Earth’s Starfleet. It belonged to another civilization, An Alien Civilization!

When Major Rhett Collins crossed checked with the fact files of all the known species that the federation had encountered and recorded he did not find any record of a spaceship that looked like the one that was orbiting the planet in front of them. What was stranger; the language symbols the species spoke in unknown. The Ship’s mother computer could not find the language in their data. They had never encountered this civilization and yet it was clear that it was almost as superior in technology if not more.

Three minutes after the reconnaissance probe had begun its orbit around the planet, the Alien spaceship had dispatched two of its war crafts. The war crafts fired at pinpoint precision around the probe, till it was forced to cut its mission short and return to the Earth ship. They were obviously protecting the diamonds on the planet. But, who were they and was it not strange that diamonds were of value to them as well?

The questions made Captain Quinton feel faint. He was so close to bringing home a spaceship filled with diamonds and he was not going to let some Alien starship get in the way. Not after 41 light years of interstellar travel.

Then once again the scrambled message came in from the spaceship and the army of experts that Captain Quinton had put together to decode the language seemed to be getting nowhere.
“What the hell are these messages? I need to know,” he hollered at the crackers of the code.

Three Earth hours later Technical Director Fredrick strode in rather pleased with himself. “Think we have cracked it, sir…”
Captain Quinton stood up immediately to see what the Technical Director had done with the code.
“Death! You will value what you don’t have…”

That was the scrambled message from the Alien spaceship.

Captain Quinton looked at the Technical Director, unable to crack what they had cracked. The director looked a bit confused, “We know this is what the message stands for but we have no way of knowing what they mean by saying this.”
The Captain looked out at the Alien ship deep in thought and then reaching out to his communicator, he spoke into it plainly, “prepare the shuttle, we shall go and meet these Aliens.”
“Do you think that is wise, Sir?” the Director seemed worried. The Captain only nodded in response.
Captain Quinton and his party of five docked their shuttle on the landing bay of the Alien ship and then waited for the airlock to open.

It was at the very same time in the Earth Ship that the Technical Director’s assistant came up running in panic, “Sir, we have made a mistake in decoding the message!”

The Technical Director looked ashen, “What do you mean?”
“Death, you will value what you don’t have… we made a mistake in the first word, it is not Death Sir, it is Dearth. Dearth! you will value what you don’t have…”
On the Alien Spaceship the airlock opened. Captain Quinton and his team walked in. It was dark and dingy and oddly. Captain Quinton could smell the desert, a parched kind of air.

Back at the Earth Ship the Technical Director tried to make sense of what the changed message could mean. Diamonds? Did we value Diamonds because we did not have them? Cause we had a dearth of them? Or then, did it mean….

On the Alien Ship Captain Quinton made out a strange shape rushing towards them and before he could even move it was all over.

The Earth Ship then overheard a radio communication on the Alien Ship before it sped away at light speed. Four minutes later when they decoded it they learnt the message from the Alien spaceship to the their home planet. It said, “This civilization has beings with water in them! Water! They have water on their surface, as far as the eye can see! We can suck them dry!”
The Technical Director stumbled backwards and fell on the chair.

“Dearth! You will value what you don’t have…”

The Aliens did not have water.


Fiction · Lessons of Life · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 3 Cat and Mouse Game

“Must be a harrowing few days for you, Miss Roberts?” the Detective Sargent offered the lady a drink of water before settling down in front of her. The lady, Miss Roberts, nodded and sipped on the water. She was looking clearly shaken up by the events that had assailed her.

“I am ready when you are, Miss Roberts,” the Detective tapped on the notepad in front of him with the pen he had been holding and the smile that he had been holding along with the pen.
“I am ready Detective,” Miss Roberts said with a shaky smile.
“State your name for the record please?” the Detective began recording her statement like he had done a zillion times before with other witnesses.
“Gloria Roberts, 28,” Miss Roberts answered.
“And can you tell me a bit of about the circumstances that led you to buying this house?”
“I have lived my life in a small town called Clifton in the Southern Province, it was there that I met my husband Eric Roberts and we moved to Philadelphia soon after. Then we got married. It was the happiest time of my life. Eric was a good man and took real good care of me.”
Miss Roberts waited a while allowing the Detective to catch up with her words.
“Then last November I was hit by a tragedy. Eric never got home from work. The police found his car on the side of the road and his body in the boot. It was case of burglary clearly. All his valuables were stolen and everything he had on him.”
Miss Roberts paused a while, her eyes brimming with tears. This time it was the Detective’s turn to allow her the time to catch up.

“We did not have any insurance and the house was the only asset that I had. So I sold the house and moved here, to this city. The house on Fairmont Street was at half price. I figured I could get a roof over my head and save enough to live till I found myself a job. And then this happened… It seems like I am plagued by tragedy.” Miss Roberts took her handkerchief and wiped her tears.
The Detective pushed the glass of water towards her but she preferred to keep talking.

“I found myself a job with the Investment firm on Fern Heights. Things were beginning to get settled. Then the rat thing started to happen.” “Rat thing?” the Detective asked frowning.

Miss Roberts nodded and went on with her story; “On the South side of my apartment I share the wall with Mr. Nicholas, my neighbor. Every night I would hear strange grating sounds from the direction. I thought it was Mr. Nicholas up to some odd job at night but when I asked him to keep it down he said he had no clue what I was talking about. So I decided to keep a vigil. It was then that I saw them, rats! They had made themselves a little burrowing hole in the wall and would scamper in and out. Now, let me tell you Sargent, I am petrified of rats. I let out a scream and shut myself in the bedroom all night. The first thing I did in the morning was to call the Pest Control chaps and asked them to fix the rats and the burrowing hole.”
The Detective Sargent was writing as fast as he could. Miss Roberts did avail herself the drink of water finally.
“And did they find it?” asked the Sargent.
“They did Detective. Jim Ferro is his name. He is the leader of the Pest Control brigade. One look at the wall and he told me that it was a fake wall and that if I wanted to be rid of the rat menace I should break the wall down. I would do almost anything to rid myself of the rats and so I allowed them to tear the wall down. And then…. and that is when the dead body came tumbling out.” The Detective nodded. “Do you know the identity of the body Miss Roberts?” inquired the Detective.“Now I do Detective. Apparently a travelling salesman who has been missing for about six months, I saw it on the news,” Miss Roberts informed the Detective.

“That was a month and a half before you bought the house. Is that right?”
Miss Roberts nodded, “I feel I have been duped by the past owner into buying this house, no wonder it was going for so less.”
“Well, we shall surely find what went on there but I would like to thank you for all your help,” the Detective offered her a handshake which Miss Roberts accepted.

On the street Miss Roberts began to plan the next killing. This was a really cool plan, kill and then plant the body way before you move in to a place and be the one to discover it. Her husband in the boot and the man behind the wall were still easy. This time around it had to be something far more difficult. But first things first, she had to scout a house and a worthy victim.

In his office Detective Sargent Philby looked at the little rubber rat that he had placed so carelessly next to the door, he wondered why Miss Roberts never noticed that rat when it sat in front of her all the while.

Perhaps, the game of cat and mouse was about to begin!


Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Vol 2 Arsee’s short stories 2 Past Life Regression

When Dr. Morgan decided to use Past Life Regression as a way of healing the psychological agony of his patients he had no idea there would come to him a case so bizarre that it would test everything he knew about science and human behaviour.

Jim Higgins owned a sports shop in downtown Manhattan New York. A loner since childhood, Jim would often complain of panic attacks and dreams of being shot in the abdomen by an unknown assailant. He often found himself waking up in cold sweat at odds hour of the night, breathing hard and fighting to come back to reality.

A friend of Jim suggested he see Dr. Morgan. He had tried all the medicines on the shelf in any case; a little alternate therapy would not harm him. Jim agreed.
Dr. Morgan usually used the first two sessions to get to know his patient well. Most times the problems that people faced were rather simple and mere counseling did the trick. He used Past Life Regression only as the last resort; it took a lot out of him and his patients. So, in Jim’s case the ailment was indeed complicated.

Jim had no history of any kind of mental disorder in his family. He also led a rather stress-free life, the shop brought in good money and being single and with a low maintenance it put very little strain on his finances.

What really bothered Dr. Morgan were the recurring dreams and the gun shot that he suffered in them. But there was a physical manifestation of those dreams as well; Jim would suffer terrible pain in the abdomen region and the various tests did not reveal anything out of the ordinary. The C.T. Scan and the M.R.I showed nothing wrong with him. If there was a candidate for Past Life Regression, it was Jim Higgins.

Late one November afternoon Dr. Morgan penciled in Jim for a Regression session. The session lasted for three hours. At the end of it there was no choice for Dr. Morgan but to lie to Jim Higgins, “You were not very clear in what you were trying to say Mr. Higgins. It was not a very successful session. Perhaps we should try again.”

Jim nodded, a trifle disappointed. He was expecting his problems to come to an end but he took courage in the suggestion of another session. What Jim did not know was that his session was a copybook Regression. It was what he had divulged in the hypnotic state that had struck panic in the heart of Dr. Morgan.

It was late at night when Dr. Morgan began to play the audio recording of the session with Jim once again. He allowed himself an extra drink that evening, he certainly deserved it.
He could hear himself clearly on the recording.
“What year is it Jim?”
“It is 1963, November but the sun is out,” Jim whispered, barely audible.
“How do you feel?” asked the Doctor.
“I am scared, very scared. They have trapped me. I’m.. I’m not alone in this. I am just a patsy!” Jim was getting agitated and was beginning to speak louder now.
“Who has you trapped? Do you know them?”
“Yes, they are dangerous. I did not do it. They are putting the whole blame on me. It is.. It is going to kill me; I am not going to get to a trial. I am a dead man. The conspiracy runs too deep.” Jim was clearly panicking and his voice was fairly loud.
“What conspiracy?” Dr. Morgan shot back.
“The assassination conspiracy, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.” Jim Higgins shouted out loud.
There was silence on the tape. It was like Dr. Morgan had been hit hard.
“What is your name?” asked the Doctor, caution evident in his voice.
“My name is Lee Harvey Oswald. I did not assassinate President Kennedy and I have come back to expose who has….”

Dr. Morgan switched the recorder off. The question was, should he help Jim Higgins in his mission or dissuade him and tell him that the sessions were not working?

He knew he should help Jim, and if Jim was right about the events that occurred in Dallas in November 1963 then both he and Jim were probably living on borrowed time. Truth or life, what was more important wondered Dr. Morgan…