Amidst shrieks and wailings, Raghav opened his eyes to look up at weird plasticky tentacles.
He could not understand what it was because he was all of 4 months old again. This intervention was supposedly a device by his worried mother to pacify him.
It was a dingy room with orange walls which peeled at multiple places. Accentuated by the bleak bulb, was the orange jarred young Anita’s head.
Odds and ends lined open shelves engraved in the walls like morse code. “Why doesn’t he stop crying!” she spat.
It really was a mistake.
Tut-tut-tut. Raghav knocked at his son’s door.
A dull yet sturdy thud had interrupted the early morning musings. There was no answer. The blue walls of the swanky drawing room somewhat resonated with his mood.
It had been a while since his son had spoken to him in more than two syllables. While he had given up on any reprieve, he knew he was failing in his responsibilities as a father. He knew nothing about his 25 year old son’s friends, work or habits. When had they steered so apart? The mad rush to earn money had managed to do what he had feared all along.
Raghav hadn’t yet opened the door.
Shades of Grey
Anny held Raghav tightly while their bodies throbbed in embrace. She hadn’t been touched so, ever in her life before. The pain was blinding but blissful — the euphoria only punctuated by the greyness of the ceiling she saw above her. They trailed to the edge of climax; almost animalistic in the throes of passion. “We should have used protection,” said she panting between heavy breaths. Raghav wasn’t worried. She was not his first in this bed.
He detested condoms.
Loud music filled the boneyard. Dirt on the floor reverberated in rhythm. Tiny
specks of cocaine, as white as the walls around, slid from a packet on to the table.
It had been a few years since his last time during college. According to his friend, this lot was the most face numbing, he had ever tried.
Raghav was eager and jittery more from the lack of layers in the cold room, than apprehensions. He made 4 lines with a practiced hand and cleaned off every last grain on the glass top.
It hit his head like electricity. It felt different. Numbness overpowered him and he fell to his death unceremoniously.
Tut-tut-tut. Raghav knocked at his son’s door…
By Ankit Kumar
It was a standard morning on a roman countryside. It was just another day in the life of a six year old Gladiator.Alejandro. It was after the days since the Colosseum had shut down. There was not much elements of interests in the day to day life of people, except, what except. There are no exceptions. We all do drugs. Yes drugs, the only form of recreation unless prescribed, which was for the gladiators, specifically were. There was LSD also known as acid, drops, blots, papers, grain, pixel, sniff, wuff, wurr, specially prescribed for those competing to be among the fastest. Now a particular requirement during experience of LSD was the smoking of hasish, as Anderso would say. The thing with LSD was that it was in plenty, available in nature, only need be tapped by the overbold of conscience. Hashish on the other hand was a product of the industrious, scythed by the contemptuous for the utter fulfillment of the life.
It was to be a tight rope race between the two gladiators where each would mount their rides, either on a green vespa, or a grey one. The prize of the race was to be a brick of the finest hashish, that would had been skinned out of the strongest of the stallions.
And so the legend goes, even among the followers of the usurpers. Alejandro, dressed in his hound armour, Anderso, bald as ever. Their vespas, tripping on their own throttle, their own anxieties, gyrating like the swirls of hookah, or at least that was what Anderso was pretending to be doing. As for Alejandro, it was a matter of life and death. He had popped mushrooms thirty grams of sand ago. It had taken him a complete ninety grams of sand to gather all his score. He was in need of the herb, as bad whisky is in need of water. Anderso, the pretender in the mean while was quietly chewing on a gram from the hash that was to be the prize.
[ n♠te: This perhaps is an extract from a larger piece in progress, perhaps just a piece to spike the imagination of the reader.] [ PARENTAL DISCRETION NEEDED ]
1 o’ clock, 2 o’ clock, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock, 5 o’ clock, 6 o’ clock, 7 o’ clock, 8 o’ clock, 9 o’ clock, 10 o clock, 11 o’ clock, 12 o’ clock, midnight ….Ghost in the graveyard…and the children would play and scurry around chasing each other underneath the lamp post. It was to be evening on account of which a group of over excited insects had assembled around dancing particles of dust which were now visible under the tungsten radiance of the lamppost. The children were in fact involved in the mentioned sport during the better part of the evening when the sun would cast it’s long slanting rays across the face of the earth disinfecting ever another creek or a corner which the direct rays could not reach. Now that the moon was visible and a cool breeze could be felt upon the skin as the light faded into subtle shades of gray filtered by the dense layers of atmosphere. The children chose to call it a day against their better judgement. As some traced their way back home while others sat around the light chit chatting and gossiping and discussing daily chores and home work and school and parents and siblings amongst more friends and their stories. All under the watchful observation of the ghost of the lamp post.
The ghost of the lamppost, a dilemma in existence, like a left over from a long sumptuous meal, a mere reflection of its previous taste. Maybe once a part of a bigger idea that long lay like a redundant thought that had somehow gone out of fashion and has ever since skipped creation. No form, no purpose, no destiny, no future, no memories of past or intentions of the present could the soul comprehend or proclaim to possess initially. Like a trickle of water it held on to the glass even when it was empty and instead of getting wiped or washed, it got absorbed by the cruel surface. All that could be described of it presently was a conglomeration of ideas that vibrated in perfect harmony to each other. An independent force that neither transmitted nor dissipated and the shear absence of mass.
By the time the entity came to realise of its existence and abilities it had long forgotten its past. The only reflections that lingered on were of a huge rush of similar kinds. As if all of them were getting late for an appointment. Expressionless, emotionless yet they pushed along as each one tried to make their way forward. Literally a mass departure of souls that had escaped the pangs of mortality and were on their way to face their greater destiny. The cause of death most probably an epidemic or a calamity. And their in the hullaballoo the namesake cum protagonist of our story gets lost and even looses consciousness. if we could only estimate the spirit to possess a conscience till it discovers itself under the glow of the lamppost. Internally consisting of two perfectly similar vibrations that completely cancelled out each other. The ghost, aimless directionless and discretion less as it lay, incapable of perceiving its surroundings then discovered motion. It’s capability to travel through space even though adorned it was with no mass whatsoever.
Having journeyed through space and civilizations, galaxies and groceries, black holes and bedrooms. The vast nothingness and the little everythingness round and around again and again, inconspicuous, incognito, undetectable in its completeness the ghost had thus settled upon the lamppost. Explanations went as such. Although the ghost had no recollection of its previous life the spirit was overcome by a great sense of belonging under the warm rays of the yellow light that as if covered the surroundings under a yellow blanket. Everything looked of the colour. Like a moment of brilliance the ghost was struck with great nostalgia as memories of yellow vision came floating like an ephemeral fume and decomposed itself somewhere in the vicinity of the soul. Maybe even got absorbed into it. Although through its various journeys, the soul had started developing a perception of other energies that varied from the turbulent surface of a star to the delicate folds of a woman, between the two it could not distinguish. Although it was able to pass through any vibration unhindered owing to the perfect equilibrium that existed within itself, yet no sense of discretion or judgement had the spirit developed.
The missing sense as if bubbled onto the surface under the sombre luminance of the tungsten light emitted by the tall standing lamp post. Memories of the yellow death that had slowly set upon the body of which the wandering soul once was a mere part strengthen the soul in the same way the heart , the lungs , kidneys and the sense organs did while it was still a resident of the body. The vital nourishments the soul required for its sustenance, once again was it able to derive. Only this time from an external source. The intensity of the light became an object of expression for the soul, and the erect metallic body a safe hovel. Through varying brightness’s of the light as if the spirit was able to express its own feelings in terms of strength. The structure was the proof of strength itself.
Brightly would the lamp be seen glowing at times compared to the surrounding lights or else glowing ever so dimly that it looked out of order. And spark would it all of a sudden up astonishing every other passerby.” Voltage fluctuations”,” earthing problems” they would mutter as they went by ignorant of the electrician behind the show. “Wow that looks like a magic lamp” would say one among a group of youthful passerines and the light glowed ever so brightly as if acknowledging the compliments. It was only through perception of the vibration the soul would interact with the society as no cognition it had of language, speech or any knowledge for that matter. But unlike before it was now able to distinguish between the harsh taunts of the unlearned to the witty remarks of the unlearned still and accordingly was it able to respond.
As a part of city maintenance activity that had been commissioned by the government all the bulbs were to be replaced by cheaper imported substitutes. A city municipal worker was assigned the duty to bring about the task at different localities. The person thus assigned for the particular locality went about doing his job as instructed till he was almost electrocuted at the haunted pole. The remaining poles were left un attended as the issue turned out to be of trivial importance to the society and the chosen pole been haunted was not yet established till a further funding by the government saw the uprooting of all the existing poles and replacement through installation of once again imported but this time complete poles and not just bulbs. Not only was it impossible for the men to dig into the soil surrounding the structure but they also complained of sudden electric shocks on touching the metallic frame. The spirit apparently had firmer control over its capacities and intended no harm. Thus a hue and a cry was raised about and thus now the officially haunted and the one next to poles, owing to the hardness of the ground, were left unattended. The fate of the neighbour was not to be similar as that of the occupant. The neighbour could not afford a replacement of bulb as they were no longer available in the market, whilst the ghost inhabited pillar glowed ever on bright and gay without ever needing a replacement of bulbs or any maintenance what so ever. More proud than before, now having the responsibility to enlighten a larger area due to the blacking out of the adjacent pole. And haunted it was, the fact was established. Thus as all the other street lights in the city were of a more whitish luminance as if exhaling out of bubbling lime, this one lamp post in some obscured corner surrounded by residential habitats held onto its pale yellow illumination provided by the resistance of beaten, coiled tungsten. . The very source of the wandering soul’s new found life.
Nourishing upon the yellow ambience the only thread of connection between the soul and the concept of existence. The spirit embodied the lamppost as generations passed and new people moved into the localities and people on the whole started getting less supernaturally inclined. During the heavy monsoons when the moisture laden breath of the earth infused the surface with vegetation as long drawn climbers with heart shaped heavily veined leaves would wrap around the entire post like an oriental ornament to the extent of been a garment. Along the horizontal more twining branches would drop down and could be seen hanging midway in the air like fashionable laces along the sleeve. The grass was unkempt and thick around the base only periodically manicured by some voluntarily visiting herbivore or the unknown trampling of a jovial foot. Then the winter came as the vegetation would sustain itself yet the once turgid leaves would have now wilted and the abundance receded. Then would come the prolonged summer that encapsulates autumn and spring. A tug of war would be raged between the soil and atmosphere as moisture would drastically disappear from the surface. Still would be the withered, now brown branches be seen swinging to the breeze as during the months it would slowly turn black and blow away with the wind itself.
Thus Due to its aesthetic charm and seclusion from traffic the place became a particular hangout for kids during the evenings , for an occasional loner or a chirping couple later still, and a rare drunkard or two at times late into the night. Not forgotten were the stray goat, or a lonely cow, once even a raging bull that tried what the municipal pile drivers equipping their drivers could not achieve. To displace the post, from its foundation and above. Came one sultry afternoon the starved, uncastrated, nomad bull intending to vent it’s frustrations on the body of the post. Head long he charged ramming a part of his right horn and the adjacent skull into the hollow metallic structure as sound played it’s tricks upon the tube . No doubt a considerable dent was made on the frame that was visible to the naked eye but never again was the animal seen wandering around the post nor such incidences had been recorded thus. Peaceful was the general demeanour of the locality.
The spirit all by itself gained more control over its intentions and actions, all owing to the sense of perception that the pale light of the post had rendered active. The perception of vibrations. Although inactive would be the spirit during the day when the sun was out but during the nights the ghost of the lamp post would play it’s tricks of fluctuating voltages upon the indifferent passerby’s, dogs been a subject of special interest. Ever so slyly would the bulb flicker when a group or even at times a solitary dog would pass by. Drawing their attention, forcing them to bark in ecstasy, or howl in retreat or at times jump in aggravation. And stark would be the light piercing into the eyes of the creature. Then slowly would it fade out of prominence as one among the group or the lone traveller all by itself would stamp it’s authority , relieve itself and thus move ahead in life.