Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 109 Separation

Rob was worried about Ringo, not like a zookeeper should be worried about a majestic African Lion but because there was something, well almost human about Ringo. He would sit and stare at Ringo’s enclosure for hours and on days Ringo would stare back;  then on other days he would just sit in the shade and stare at nothing at all.

Ringo had come into the zoo only two months ago and for Rob it was love at first sight. Tall, lean and royal with a mane that would put any other lion to shame. Ringo was just the most handsome animal that he had ever seen. Ringo was also the saddest animal he had ever seen. He would not eat, sleep a lot and moan instead of roaring like a lion should. Something was surely off. Rob only wished there was a way of finding out.

“Have you heard of Nancy The Psychic?” his wife asked him over dinner one evening. Rob shook his head. “She is an animal Psychic. Talks to animals or you could say she picks up on the thoughts of the animals.” Rob laughed out loud. “Don’t be ridiculous. That cannot be.” His wife shrugged and said nothing more.

The next morning when Rob saw Ringo forlorn he thought back to the conversation about Nancy. What did he have to lose by calling her to meet Ringo? Perhaps, it was a good idea.
Nancy was a petite young woman with an easy smile. She came by on a Grey Saturday morning and Rob quickly took her across to meet Ringo. She was at once saddened on seeing Ringo, as if Ringo was saying something to her. Ringo, on his part, found a shoulder to cry on in Nancy. They stared at each other for a good ten minutes. Nancy began to cry at the end of the ten minutes, Ringo turned around and walked away.

“Did you bring him in from the Munich Zoo two months back” quizzed Nancy. Rob couldn’t believe that Ringo told her that. “Ringo did tell me that!” Nancy confirmed. “He also told me that there is a Lioness by the name of ‘Lily’ who shared the enclosure with him in Munich. They were in love. You brought him here and separated the lovers. He is devastated and thinks of her all the time.”
 
Nancy left Rob very thoughtful.

Two weeks later Ringo lazily ambled out of his shed to find Lily waiting for him in his enclosure. With a roar of delight he ran to her and then both Lily and Ringo rolled on the grass in a dance of lovers reuniting.

Rob watched the whole scene unfold in front of his eyes. It was worth all the pain and circumventing the red tape to bring Lily here. This time he did not need a Psychic to tell him that there was just one universal language and that was love.

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 108

He was a Guru, revered by thousands, no less than a God to his followers.

She was his wife, loyal and devoted.

They were both found dead in the wee hours of the morning. She had left behind a smartphone with a voice recording of their last minutes together.

The following is a transcript.

He: (gasping) I cannot believe you poisoned me. You, of all the people. I never thought you would turn against me.
She: ( silence, gasping)
He: Why? Why did you do it?
She: She was only fifteen. You molested her.
He: You believed her? You took her word against mine?
She: I have heard cries of your deprivation through the years. She was the last straw.
He: I am a God. A god to millions and you have deprived them of solace. Deprived them of peace.
She: Let me tell you something that perhaps you with your vast knowledge have never considered. Every God has had a woman who was willing to sacrifice herself for him. Radha for Krishna, Sita for Ram and Yashodhara for Buddha. And you know why they did it? Not because they loved to sacrifice but because they were the first to see a God in their love, even before the world could see it. Every woman who has seen this God has given up her right on him so that he can belong to the world. In the very same way the woman is also the first to see the Devil in her Man. Most bear it with a heavy heart. I could not.
(Silence on the tape)
He: (voice very feeble) the world will never forgive you.
She: I have taken the poison as well. The world has to only know the truth. In search of a way out of these worldly pains too many have made lesser humans like you into Gods. In any case, one less God won’t really matter.

(Silence on tape)

(The woman begins to cry softly)

-Arsee.

Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 43 A letter from a father to his daughter

A letter from the man that taught me –

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

Our normalcy is in our madness.

Time gave us a little bit of a run, but there’s nothing some swimming can’t fix.

I love you Papa, the most special man in my world x

Thinking Chitalia

My story today is a special one. Here’s the most precious gift I could have asked for! In a way it is the sum of my father’s various experiences or in other words, the essence of his life’s stories put together so it can be of some use.

24th April 2018
Dear Riddhi,

It is a very special day today. At the stroke of midnight you turn twenty-one. Which is a remarkable feat considering the klutz you are! I am also overjoyed by the fact that you can finally cross the road and make difficult calculations in regard to velocity and acceleration of moving objects, we call cars, and negotiate a crossing by adjusting your own speed. Belive me, that’s very advanced calculas.

Jokes apart, I am happy you are now in adult land and boring adult things will be expected out of you. You have fought so many battles…

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A letter from a father to his daughter · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 43 A letter from a father to his daughter

My story today is a special one. Here’s the most precious gift I could have asked for! In a way it is the sum of my father’s various experiences or in other words, the essence of his life’s stories put together so it can be of some use.

24th April 2018
Dear Riddhi,

It is a very special day today. At the stroke of midnight you turn twenty-one. Which is a remarkable feat considering the klutz you are! I am also overjoyed by the fact that you can finally cross the road and make difficult calculations in regard to velocity and acceleration of moving objects, we call cars, and negotiate a crossing by adjusting your own speed. Belive me, that’s very advanced calculas.

Jokes apart, I am happy you are now in adult land and boring adult things will be expected out of you. You have fought so many battles and come out victorious. Yet, when I think of the juncture of life that you are at I cannot help but think not of the battles you have fought but of the battles that you will need to fight ahead. As your father, I can only enlist my life’s learnings as a ready reckoner for you. So here goes.

First off, remember that you are unique and beautiful.

God is a great concept. Sometimes He works, most times he does not. Have faith in God but you will have to fight your own battles.

How do you fight these battles? Choice! Your choice will determine your future. We are nothing but the sum of our choices, the roads we decided to travel. Choose wisely.

Never trust the person who says,“ Trust me, I know”.

Nobody knows anything for certain. The only knowledge that people have is dependent on the experiences they have. Learn from your own experiences.

You will have secrets. Never share them or one day someone will use them against you.

Never Will away anything while you are alive. And this means to no one!

You are what you desire. There are no extra points for being frugal. Desire the life of a Queen. Travel first or business and stay in good hotels. People will treat you the way you treat yourself.

Life is not fair. You will never get what you deserve. You will only get what you negotiate.

Failure is ineviatble, learn from it. You may think that failure is an event and not a person but the world seeks to hang the blame on someone. Take the blame gracefully.

The only revenge is success. The rest is just airing of failed ambitions.

There is nothing like loyalty and gratitude in others. Find it in yourself and that will be a great victory.

Don’t be too nice all the time. The world mistakes niceness for weakness.

Heartbreak is ineviatble, don’t fear it. Defy it.

Age and sense are not directly propionate. Don’t listen to nonsense from an older person. Starting with me and this letter. Decide for yourself.

Be charitable. Don’t lend money expecting it back.

Don’t borrow. Please don’t steal.

Don’t get into politics. Anywhere in life. Cunning people are those who cannot be courageous. Choose courage over cunning.

Don’t marry in a hurry. Don’t marry to suit someone else’s deadline. Ideally don’t marry at all, its a defunct institution but make your own decision on that!

Assholes are everywhere and they have various kinds of disguises. Keep them away.

Be wary of the ones who flatter.

Don’t ever enter a door that opens before you knock, figuratively speaking, of course.

Don’t be honest when it might hurt someone. Honesty is a virtue not a weapon.

As you grow older drift away from the vices. There are better ways to kill yourself.

Work at being self reliant.

Don’t look for someone to make you happy. That always ends in disaster. Happiness is a habit. Don’t mistake it for a person or an eventuality.

Self respect is good. Ego is not. Be arrogant with the one who is arrogant.

Don’t ever pity yourself. Everything that happens happens cause you let it.

It’s not possible to seek fame without being in love with yourself.

There is nothing like the “art of living”. There is no art in a dog eat dog world.

Spirituality is also a painkiller.

I have yet to see the effect of karma on a bad person. Do good because you should and not as a celestial trade off. God will punish you, is nonsense.

Love will never last. That’s the bad news. You will fall in love again and again. That’s the good news.

You are free to chuck all this advice out of the window.

If I had taken all this advice I would have been a rockstar and not writing a letter to you on your 21st birthday but if the humiliations and setbacks of my life are not useful to you then it would be a real waste of insight.

Lastly, I love you unconditionally. Regardless of your choices. I would love you even if you choose to join Al Qaida or be a self detotonating terrorist, though I seriously urge you not do that. I also think that is a serious waste of well put together protoplasam.

Happy Birthday my darling. You are the embodiment of all my dreams.

Love
Papa.

This letter will be my Temple. Pa, you’ve indeed been the best father one could ask for. Thank you for being my role model, my best friend & my loneranger. Pa, love you beyond words can express.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 107 Misery

Sia had a terrible childhood. Her Father died when she was eight and that left her alone, without any siblings, in the care of her Mother who was slowly turning into an alcoholic.

It started with a slap or two but as time progressed it steadily got worse. Coming home from school, which was a happy thought for any child, filled Sia with dread. Her Mother would be stone cold drunk in a house that looked like a pigsty. Add to that there was something that Sia had always done wrong. The beatings would begin the minute she got home. Sometimes a coat hangar that left her badly bruised, at other times footwear that stung her skin and the there were times that her Mother would throw at her anything that she could lay her hands on.

On her Prom night her Mother locked her in her room and refused to let her out to “roam the streets like a tramp with men of low repute.” She howled all night. In the early hours of the morning she took the chair that sat next to her study table and shattered the glass window. Sia ran away from home, never to come back again.

Sia was now a mother of two, married to a successful lawyer and a reputed fashion designer herself. The years had healed the wounds inflicted on her childhood but she never once contacted her Mother. Her Mother was dead to her.

It was on a Monday morning that an old age home called to inform her that her Mother would not live very long, incase she wanted to meet her. Sia deliberated an entire week before she finally decided to meet her tormentor.

Her Mother lay in a hospital bed, tubes and wires running in and out of her. The morning Sun cast a yellow hue on her parched skin. Sia sat close to her, saying nothing. Her Mother opened her eyes, stared at her blankly and then slowly she could see the recognition filling her dying eyes.

“I did not think you would come,” her Mother said in a low raspy voice.

“I almost did not. But then I had to come to ask you one question.” Sia said evenly.

“Which is?” asked her Mother.

“Did you not feel anything when you hurt me so much?”

Sia’s Mother closed her eyes for a moment and then when she opened them again Sia could see a new light in them.

“I am very happy that you left when you did Sia or else I would have only made you more miserable. I have understood that we are all born to learn some kind of lesson and I was born to understand misery. Misery is awful because misery seeks company. Get away from the miserable cause the only cure for their misery is to see someone more miserable than them. And if you are not then they will make sure you are.”

Sia could feel her eyes well up with tears. Her Mother closed her eyes and said, “For the miserable, happiness is a feeling that arises from the misery of another. Leave that person as fast as you can.”

If only life could teach you the lessons you needed when you needed them. Sia got up and walked out, richer for the lesson and sadder for her Mother.

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 106

He could see the Magic Kingdom from the window; the world knew it as Disney World. He wanted to get away from the cold of New York but more importantly he wanted to get away from the pain of divorce.

It had been four years since he had said, “I want a divorce” but it was a large estate and the divorce took time in coming. Divorce was never an easy thing when there was a lot to be divided. The back and forth coupled with the endless rounds of discussions had come to an end and the termination papers lay in front of him. How ironic it was that all the magic that he once believed in was coming to an end in the Magic Kingdom.

As he stared outside the window he replayed all the years of togetherness, of love and the magic of creation. It had all ended. He had a feeling the day Brian died that it was going south, things would never be the same again. And he was right! There at the Polynesian Village Hotel, it was all coming to an end.

He took a deep breath and then scribbled the words, “John Lennon” on the termination papers. The greatest marriage had come to an end. “The Beatles” were a finished story.

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 105

Sayuri watched the greenery as a blur out of her car window. She liked playing this game since she was little; look a little further up and the rushing scenery would be in focus and then as your look travelled closer to the window it would become a blur. Too fast to focus, like her life, which felt like a blur.

The man she loved, Taro, was just not the same anymore. He would keep her waiting for just a call, never text back, incommunicative, threatening to walk out of the relationship at the slightest provocation, almost insensitive to her every need. Uncaring. It was like the harder she was tried the worse it got. She needed the wisdom of Grandma Yasuko to understand what she must do.

Grandma Yasuko lived in Nagoya, two hundred and fifty kilometers out of Tokyo. A beautiful small cottage set in a Chrysanthemum garden with small white pebbles that made a lane pretty lane to her door. Sayuri rang the doorbell and Yasuko was only too eager to open the door to her most cherished grandchild.

Later, that evening Grandma Yasuko and Sayuri sat in the garden sipping their favorite Jasmine tea. Sayuri had just finished telling Grandma her problems. Grandma was quiet for a bit and then smiled a reassuringly, “Do you know that love is like mathematics?” Grandma asked Sayuri. “Mathematics?” Sayuri raised her eyebrows completely confused. “Yes, there is an equation in love. Once you know the equation, you understand love, well maybe not love, but the relationships of love,” she further explained.  Sayuri was listening carefully. “You see, the equation is like this, in love, no two people love the same amount. One always loves more than the other. And the person who loves less always has more control over the relationship because that less loving person cares less than the more loving person to keep the relationship going. Do you understand?” Grandma asked, her smile still lingering. Sayuri slowly understood and nodded. “The one who loves less will control more, that is the equation.”

Sayuri thought a while, “Alright Grandma, I suppose this equation is true but that does not stop me from loving Taro more than he loves me. Right? Love is love you can’t measure the amount of love before feeling it!” Grandma burst into a laugh, “Ah! You can love him, as much you want; you just have to pretend to love him less. Get it?”

It was serendipitous that Taro rang Sayuri at that precise moment. Sayuri smiled slowly and did not answer the phone. Grandma Yasuko nodded approvingly.

-Arsee.

Short stories

Happy 61st mufasa x

my father, my friend, my rock when i need to be held, my water when i need to flow, my air when i want to fly, my greatest ally, how one person can be so many people i’ve never understood but what i’ve understood is there’s no one like you my special special beautiful pops i feel so grateful to know you everyday. getting to call you my father is one of my greatest joys and the privilege of my life. thank you for your infallible companionship and for all that you are. happy 61st my mufasa 🦁❤️ thank you for making me and being you i love you so much my old man x

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 104 Clifton Heights

Part 2.

Jonas chaired the meeting of the Clifton Heights residents. One minutes silence on the death of Mrs. Strauss followed by ten minutes of mayhem over the two murders.

Who was killing? Why? And more importantly, how? The police were absolutely clueless. How was this kind of murder even possible? Sucking a human dry without even a wound?

Cathy from the tenth floor spoke evenly through the chaos, “What if its not a human hand? What if this is a supernatural occurrence?” What followed was an eerie hush. That was the only explanation and everyone knew it. There were a couple of, “what nonsense” and “ridiculous” but they quickly settled without much persuasion. Perhaps Cathy was right.

Mr. Rochester pointed out that both the killings were in the same elevator. What if there was a spirit in the elevator shaft, running through the entire height of the building? That sent a shiver through the gathering. Was it not that very same elevator where the film actress over dosed and died six months ago? Jonas suggested they call the priest from their parish to bless the place. Everyone agreed.

Father Sebastian came around after mass on Sunday. Almost all the residents stood gaping in wonder while Father Sebastian blessed the hall and the areas around the elevators with holy water. Almost all of them gasped in horror when they noticed hot vapour rise where the holy water touched the walls of the cursed elevator. Most of them heard a low groan. Father Sebastian assured them that all would be well, now that the Lord had blessed the premises.

Jonas died three days later in the very same elevator. In the very same way!

The meeting of the residents was an affair of long stretched silences; they were living a nightmare. “Now that all has failed perhaps we should try Psychometry,” suggested Mr. Rochester. He noticed a lot of raised eyebrows. “Its a psychic process by which one can touch an object and learn everything about it by the energies that surround it. Now that we have tried it all what have we got to lose?” argued Mr. Rochester. No one argued back.

Tim Thomas was a psychometric professional from a very young age and the residents sought his services to end their ordeal.

Tim arrived late on Tuesday night and this time there was a large group of residents to welcome him and watch him work. In absolute silence, they watched him feel the air around the objects in the foyer. He walked to the last elevator in the corridor almost drawn to it. The residents watched as the elevators doors were held open to aid him feel the energy inside it. He suddenly began to sweat and his hands began to shake, then he screamed out loud, “Oh my God! This elevator is alive! It has a life!!” The elevator door shut on him even before he could think of stepping out.

The residents could swear they heard an evil laugh behind the doors.

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 103 Clifton Heights

Part 1.

Clifton heights rose majestically from the hills that overlooked the city. Thirty storeys of the city’s most expensive real estate. If the security let you in, you would find Jaguars, Lamborghinis and Porsches strewn around the carpark. Revolving doors would throw you into a plush marble foyer with a suited Concierge, who might smile at you if you are rich. Banks of elevators would transport you to the doorstep of the rich and on some floors even the famous. It was perhaps for that reason that Mr. Hawthorne’s murder made the headlines.

He was found in the elevator, the one at the end of the corridor, in the early hours of the morning under the most curious circumstances. The Concierge was the first to witness the gory sight. All the blood had been sucked out of Mr. Hawthorne, he lay in a heap white as chalk, his eyes whiter and minus the eyeballs. It was like someone had put a pump to him and sucked out his blood.

What was perhaps more curious was the absence of puncture marks. No clue what the weapon or instrument of assault could be. The forensics were boggled. The police confused by the lack of any evidence, not one iffy character, anywhere on the premise, was caught by the CCTV cameras. The media had the ammunition to last a month with this one!

The residents were worried. What should become of them if the threat was not from the outside but from one of them? Something had to be done!

Mrs. Strauss banged the make shift gavel on the table to bring the meeting of the residents to attention. It was obvious that the authorities were clueless; they had to fend for themselves. Jonas, from the sixth floor had a cunning plan. Only one family at a time should be allowed to ride the elevator! There was a chorus of acceptance. Mrs. Strauss hit the gavel hard to pass a resolution to that effect.

It worked. The murderer had been carefully isolated. He could either kill his family members or then not at all. The police kept their investigations going but the media began to cool off a bit.

Two weeks later, at three in the morning,  the Concierge found Mrs.Strauss lying on her stomach in the elevator. When he turned her around he saw that her skin and her eyes were whiter than death itself.

(To be continued)

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 102 True Friendship

If it were not for Ray, Mo would have never gotten through school.  In the second grade Ray taught him to add and subtract numbers, in ninth grade calculus and whole lot of other stuff in the interim. Mo dropped out of school in the tenth grade to help his father at the car repair garage. Ray marched on in life.

Literature beckoned Ray and he decided to become a writer. Mo in the meanwhile serviced cars and made a meager living. Ray and Mo never lost touch; they continued to remain the best of friends. It was clear to the both of them that Mo would spend his life in the mundane, the drudgery of plebian existence, see less money and a boring life while Ray would touch the skies with his talent.

There was another aspect to their relationship, money. Mo was always out of money and Ray was always there for him. It started with some cash here and there but as Ray became richer Mo’s needs became greater. He always needed money and Ray never refused him.

Mo’s marriage, mortgage of his house, medial bills, school fees for Mo’s children, Ray paid for everything. But through the years Mo’s borrowing habit did not go down well with Ray’s family.

Ray’s wife began her protest soon after they got married and soon his children joined in to raise their objection to this, “Pile on” friend. Ray would listen to no one. He would not let anything or anyone come in the way of his friendship but Mo was not welcome in Ray’s house. The family did not want to have anything to do with a man who continuously exploited a good friend.

As the years went by Ray saw the pinnacle of success with his books, bestsellers and literary awards and then came a time when the ideas began to dry up and the publisher’s began to run away. Ray turned depressive and uncommunicative.
Then one day Mo came to see Ray again, he needed more money. This time it was for his wife’s medical treatment. After being there for Mo his entire life Ray had to finally hold his hands up, “I would give you, had I the money but it is drying Mo. It has been hard for me the past year. Just living on old royalties.”

Mo was saddened by what he heard; “You mean you never saved any money for yourself?” Mo asked concerned. Ray shook his head, “I always thought the ideas would keep pouring in but they have stopped. I have become irrelevant. My stories are not interesting anymore.”

Mo stood up, walked to Ray and placed a key on the coffee table. “What is this key?” Ray frowned.

Mo took a deep breath, “I knew you were brilliant from the first day I met you in school but I also knew that brilliant people often forgot that brilliance does not last forever. If I had told you this fact of life earlier, you have never believed me so I did what a friend should. Every penny I borrowed from you I saved in industrial bonds in your name. That key is to the locker where the bonds lie. You own four and a half million in bonds, you are a rich man my friend. Thank you for teaching me calculus!”

 
Ray stood up slowly and holding his childhood friend sobbed like a child.

-Arsee.

Fiction · Little stories · Short stories

Arsee’s short stories 101

There is a cave about hundred and fifty kilometers from here, it has ancient drawing that date back to the time of the Indus Valley civilization. Perhaps the answer lies there?
 
Philip reflected on the information that Rhea had put out there, the drawings might have the answer, then again how many caves had they visited and how many ancient sites had they combed to come up with absolutely nothing!
 
Philip had quit his job as the Professor of Ancient Indian studies to find the answer to the one question that had chased him night and day, how did astrology work? Yes, people could read charts and predict, but how did it work? Why did it work? Rhea had joined him on the quest about five years ago and so far they had come up with very little. The one thing they knew was that it was a study that dated back almost 25,000 years and something that is so durable could not be nonsense.
 
So, that cave it was!
 
They got to the cave well past midnight and in the light of their torches they explored the cold, old darkness. Bats flew overhead, frightened from their perch and the sound of an underground river could be heard faraway. Then they saw it, bang in front of them, the ancient caveman drawings. It had the nine planets, the twelve houses and the 27 constellations; Philip was excited that he was finally onto something. Yet, the paintings confused him. It was like men were coming down from a light, then going through a prism that had all these astrological drawings and then landing on Earth. What did it mean? The two of them sat on the cold floor and stared at the painting for the longest time. Philip noticed that the caveman had drawn some apes just before the men from the light. So, from apes, through the light, then Prism and finally Earth.
 
Then it struck him! “Oh my God! It’s a computer program!” his voice echoed in the cave. Rhea looked at him confused.
 
“God created us in his likeness, we could not have random lives. It would be a waste, so he wrote a program for each one of us, we are all programmed!” Rhea was still confused. Philip explained further, “Don’t you see, its brilliant. How do you program lives and yet not leave the program on Earth? If it was on Earth, man would change it, and how do you create a program that would last for a long time? The stars and the planets! They are not going to disappear any time soon!” Rhea began to see what he was saying.
 
“Our lives are programmed to work with the movement of the stars. Astrologers are people who can read the program, they broke the code 25,000 years ago but cannot change the code because He has kept it out of our reach.”
 
Rhea whispered with awe and admiration, “The best and the biggest computer program ever written!”

-Arsee.