Random Tales

kpwrites #4

I don’t understand why you want to kill him. Isn’t it easier to just let him live and experience the joy of his torture?

Yes. But I don’t want to torture him. I just want him to stop existing.

Why?

Let’s just say that as long as he’s alive, I won’t be able to move on. For me to get a normal life, it’s important that he stops living. I know it is convoluted, perverted and perhaps, evil but I have to do it. I have to get rid of him.

Okay.

Just like that, okay?

Yes. I won’t argue with you if you have decided. How can I help you?

Hold his head a little higher so that I can slice his neck better.

Here you go!

Random Tales

kpwrites #2

Sunaina decided to kill everyone involved in her murder. It was the right thing to do. The only thing stopping her was her kid – Rohan. Rohan had unwittingly helped plan her murder and Sunaina couldn’t bring herself to kill her little boy. She had hardened herself several times but Rohan’s face would melt anything resembling anger, hate or resentment she could muster against her baby boy.

Sunaina decided that once she went on her killing spree, it would be easier for her to kill Rohan. Rohan thus found a place at the end of Sunaina’s kill list. She went through her list quite swiftly. The advantage of being a spirit was that while one person on her list was in Mumbai while another was in Delhi, she could still reach them in the same night and finish them off. Moreover, she wasn’t worried about the walls and other things as well. Sunaina had killed her husband, his parents, her parents and her doctor. Now, the only person left was Rohan.

Sunaina looked at Rohan and closed her eyes. She had to kill him. He was the last alive person responsible for her death.

“Mumma,” Rohan said and waved her hand at Sunaina. The hand passed through her but Rohan kept trying. At 1 year of age, his understanding of ghosts was limited. Despite his failed attempts at grabbing his mother, Sunaina felt that she had lost any resolve.

She couldn’t kill Rohan. Even though it was him who had killed her. Her husband, parents, in-laws and doctor had simply made the decision – “Save the child over the mother.” However, it was Rohan who had actually lead to that choice.

But she couldn’t kill him.

“Dead, ghost, and yet, a mother.” She sighed and left the room. Rohan had dozed off after his trying attempts to grab her mother. He will be found sleeping next to his dead family tomorrow with no information about the murderer.

Over the years, he would forget his only encounter with his mother. All he would know is that anyone close to him died before he had a chance to be loved.

Non-Tech

Anatomy of a Breakup

A breakup is never easy. A breakup shouldn’t be easy. If it is, then it wasn’t a good relationship to begin with. At its core, a breakup is a death. In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari talks about the two realities – Objective Reality (Trees, Lions, Rivers) and Imagined Reality (Corporations, Countries, Religions). A relationship is part of the second reality. It is imagined in the mind of two people and then those two individuals share their reality with other people through stories. Stories about how these two individuals met, how they realized their feelings for each other and how they are conceiving a future together. When this myth breaks down, the relationship ends.

Thus, a relationship involves three individuals – two objectively real people and one imagined relation. It is the death of the third individual – the imagined one – that is called a breakup. The two real people exist. No physical harm has happened to them and yet, the pain is often immeasurable.

If you are unable to grasp why the death of a myth causes so much trouble, remember that most recent wars have been for myths like countries or religions. The 2008 economic crisis was based on the meltdown of a myth. Heck! The whole concept of society in any form is based on shared myths. In a nutshell, just because it’s imagined doesn’t mean it’s not real, even if the definitions collide on the matter. And like everyone deals with death in different ways, all of us handle a breakup differently. Mainly, people can be put in three buckets –

Workers

Some of us become workaholic and put every ounce of our energy in our goals. There are two advantages of this technique. One, continuously doing something doesn’t give the mind to dwell over the matter. Second, one is productive and is able to achieve something even in a bad situation. It may be a silver lining, but something is always better than nothing. The disadvantage is that the feelings that were pushed during this period may come back like the sleep that hits you after a alcohol and caffeine fueled night-out. Worse, it may emotionally char you forever with no healing ever taking place.

Criers

Other people just let out the pain by crying and drinking. They would talk to their friends and share the pain. They would seek support and break down at every other turn. However, this has its advantages. A person like this is able to heal faster as sharing of pain helps in reducing it. This person is also inadvertently connecting to their other relationships and strengthening them. The disadvantage is that the productivity is zero and if the person doesn’t heal quickly, this person might become a burden in the other relationships.

Shutters

Finally, there are people who just become stunned, and eventually, they shut down. They end up being completely useless. Binge-watching television is one of the most prominent features in such a situation. Listening to songs while overthinking every moment of that relationship to identify the situations where things could have been improved. Looking at ways in which things can be put back together or torn apart further. Frankly, I don’t know any advantage of this situation. You aren’t productive, you aren’t healing, and you aren’t going forward. You are just stuck in a moment in time, frozen and looping. Unfortunately, this is also the place where most of us find ourselves. My advice – either pick a project to do or cry your heart out. Get out of this place ASAP!

But I’m not interested in giving an advice on a breakup. My interest is in the mechanism of the breakdown of the myth. How does a breakup happen? I believe that often, the seeds of a breakup can be found in the beginning of the relationship. It all starts with the construction of the combined myth. This combined lore consists of two stories – my story and your story.

My Story

– I saw you when you were talking to your friend.

– I fell in love with you when it was raining, and you were wearing that black dress.

– I realized it won’t work out when we fought that day.

– I told you about it when I couldn’t take it anymore.

Your Story

– I saw you when you were being a buffoon.

– I fell in love when we went out for the show under the clear sky.

– I realized that it wasn’t working when you didn’t talk to me that day.

– I believed we can work out our troubles.

When two people come together, there are many forces that are against the relationship. For some, it’s the society; for others, distance. Some must fight the financial barriers while others have to fight their own past issues. The higher the strength and the number of these forces, the higher efforts the relationship requires. The relationship is more draining and the chances of success of the relationship are also reduced. These challenges are thwarted by the strength of the relationship which comes from the shared narrative, the combined myth – the love story.

The shared lore is bound to have two different narratives – my story and your story. In an ideal world, these two stories would be identical. This would make it strong and able to handle any external force. In the real world, the two stories deviate from each other and the farther they are, the weaker the relationships become.

The worst case is when one person thinks they are in a relationship while the other thinks they are not (friend-zone anyone?). However, even in a relationship which is clear on its status, there can be small deviations which would lead to butterfly effect in the future. If the two stories start deviating and are not reconciled, eventually, the relationship will become weak and external forces will overpower the relationship. It is also important to acknowledge that the small deviations in the story would come. For one, memory is not set in stone. Second, we are not hive mind and can’t know everything about the other individual’s life and thus would take assumptions which will add those deviations.

That is why, communication is considered one of the most important pillars in a relationship. It helps in identifying the small deviations before they become too big to be handled. Constant communication helps in keeping the deviations small and manageable. No wonder that most researches on relationships conclude that almost all healthy relationships (not just romantic ones) have good communication at its core. In fact, a good relationship can falter even after years if the communication breaks down due to some reason.

Another important component in maintaining the combined narrative is conflict resolution. If the two stories are different, which one is the correct version? What is the TRUTH? Well, the truth is what both participants can agree on. Trust is the key here. It helps in conflict resolution. That is why a breakdown of trust often is the quickest path to a breakup, even faster than lack of communication. Because identifying the conflicts is of no use if they can’t be resolved.

However, it’s possible that some deviations are missed even after regular communication and deep trust. These deviations become larger and might come out in the open too late for a quick resolution. Resolving them requires both communication and trust with a lot of patience. Patience, unfortunately, is a commodity in dearth. Often, the modern life doesn’t stop, and allow people to take a breath, to contemplate, consider and resolve conflicts. This is where the relationship is at its weakest and this is where it often breaks down. The deviations continue to increase until one day, one person says – I’m done.

The shared narrative breaks and the combined myth ends. The suspension of disbelief is over and the third entity in a relationship, the imagined one, dies. It doesn’t matter if the two people were good or bad, it doesn’t matter if the two people were near or far, it doesn’t matter if the two people were rich or poor. The relationship continues as long as the two stories in the combined myth reconcile and it breaks when they deviate from each other.

To conclude, talk. Share your stories and ensure that both people have the same narrative. They are on the same page.

And for those who have already crossed the breakup bridge – mourn. It was a death.

Ozymandias

Excerpts from a lost diary – I

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 29th July, 1857

This is the age of rumors. I recently heard the rumors that people in some places have suddenly started ageing backwards. Also, I have been hearing rumors about an immortal man. As a man of science, this kind of behavior from people was unacceptable for me. However, I could do nothing sitting in my house. I ventured to the party where I had heard the immortal man was coming who could grant the same immortality to others. This journal is about my first meeting with the immortal man – or as he called himself Keith Parker.

The moment I met Keith Parker, I knew he was different. The way he carried himself showed a certain arrogance that clearly marked him as an uncommoner. However, I also immediately knew that he was mortal. When I “accidentally” cut him, he bled like any other man. He winced like any other human being in pain. Luckily, I had expected this much and had first-aid ready which he accepted readily. No immortal man would find use or need of medicine of such frivolity.

Now, it is possible that all this was a facade by Mr. Parker to stay hidden. And I decided to test that as well. However, in first look, Mr. Parker was as human as anyone I had ever met, and more caring.

Throughout the whole party, he asked about everyone and talked to everyone. Even with the air of a Lord, Mr. Parker considered commoners and non-commoners alike and gave them equal respect. In addition to that, a confidant of mine confirmed that Mr. Parker was readily available during lunches, discounting the theory that he might be a Vampire. I know that I would be able to debunk all theories soon enough.

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 1st Aug, 1857

Mr. Parker… Keith rather, has become a good friend of mine. He asked for my well being more often than I did for him. He would often say that I was the best thing that happened to this town. And I would humbly accept his compliments expecting him to ask something in return.

“Why are you here, Keith?” I asked him today.

“Why does anyone go anywhere in these troubling my friend. Business.” Keith said smiling. He was as carefree saying the world troubling as he was saying cupcakes.

“What business brings you in this quaint town?” I asked curious. His stay here was of a week, as per the mayor.

“The mayor wants me to protect someone. However, I doubt I will succeeding in saving them.”

“Who’s in danger? How did you find out?” I asked.

“A man who shouldn’t die but for the cruelty of life. I found out through a friend of mine. More of an acquaintance rather. However, as soon as I received the notification about this calamity, I decided to step in. Unfortunately, the mayor is not ready to pay my fees for such protection.”

“That’s why you are afraid that you will fail. Because if you aren’t paid, you will not save the man?” I asked fascinated. I had never met a man who was so clear about what he wanted that he didn’t even care about human emotions.

“Something like that. However, I am sure that the deal will be struck by tomorrow.” Keith said and puffed a pipe. His attempts to smoke were quite novice and showed the youth in him. I would peg him around 25 to 30 years of age.

“I hope so. Poor man. But who’s the person whose life is in danger and who threatens it?” I asked, pushing for an answer. Keith kept puffing without saying anything. He looked pensive, as if he was making a decision on whether to tell me or not. In the end, he caved.

“You, my dear James, are the victim. And death itself is the culprit. Only I can save you now.” Keith said with a sinister smile.

In that moment, I knew that I was wrong. Keith isn’t human. Keith is anything but human.

James Nathan’s Notes

Date: 10th Aug, 1857

The last 10 days have been the most thought provoking and enlightening days of my entire life. My whole belief system is shattered and the way I live is now an old path.

Ten days ago, Mr. Keith Parker told me that I was about to die and only he could save me. That was all he said that day before going. Next day, mayor asked me to join him in his office.

“As Mr. Keith Parker told you last night, your life is in danger and as you are the only physician in the town and nearby area, he wanted to negotiate the price for your life. He has explained to me the details and I wish you could also listen to them.” Mayor said to me with a stern face. His demeanour showed that he wasn’t pleased with the deal he had just made and considered it my fault.

“Mr. Parker. Whatever information you might have on my life, please don’t use it to threaten my town. I don’t wish to be any part of it. In fact, I consider this to be blatant lying to cheat the people of this town.” I said to him point-blank. He remained unfazed. The warmth and the tenderness that Mr. Keith Parker had shown earlier was nowhere to be found. In fact, in that moment, he wasn’t Keith Parker.

“Call me Ozymandias or Oz, if you prefer. Keith Parker is an alias I use sometimes. And you don’t have to worry about anything related to threat James. The price has been paid in half by the mayor already. The second part of the price has to be paid by you and after that, the deal can be sealed.”

“In that case, consider the deal broken as I don’t have any money to give to you Ozymandias.” I said hotly.

“I don’t ask for money my friend. I only ask for a favor. Today, I’m coming in your time of need. If ever a time comes, please do help me. That’s all I ask.” Ozymandias said smiling.

I was taken aback by such a small and humble request from a man who was oozing arrogance. To the extent that I nodded and we shook on it.

“So, how will I die?” I finally asked once the IOU was signed.

“Heart-attack.” Ozymandias said calmly.

“But if it’s this then how will you save me.” I asked. He smiled and took out a letter.

“This will answer all your queries. Or at least the queries I think should be answered. Open it once I am gone. Once I have completed my end of the bargain, a person will come and take the payment. You, James, can vouch for it whether I succeeded or not. Mr. Mayor, you are already here so I suppose you can see it for yourself as well. My advice is that we move to James’ house for this.” Oz said and packed his things. He gave me the letter which I kept in my pocket.

This brings me to today. I woke up yesterday and immediately vouched that I indeed had a heart-attack. It was the most horrific experience of my life and yet, somehow, I am alive. The moment I died, Mr. Mayor told me, Oz shook hands with Mr. Mayor and told him that he would exchange his life for mine. Saying this, he died. Mayor told me that I started breathing immediately after. It took me several days to wake up and in this period, Oz’s body was taken away and his friend came to take the payment.

I don’t know how to explain this with science. However, I hope that someday, someone is able to explain what happened. In that case, these notes might come in handy.

Poor Oz was not an immortal man. But he was a true friend. He was my savior.

Tales of a Clumsy Girl

#5: Murder at first sight

Mansi decided that she would kill him. Not because he threw water on her precious clothes; not because he teased to date her sister; and definitely not because he was cute. She decided that the only way everyone in the office would stop teasing her about him was if he didn’t exist. “I know it’s not the right thing but what choice do I have?” Mansi thought and mixed the juice with a little alcohol.

“It would have been easier if he was a drunkard. But this is the best poison in the world either ways,” said Mansi giggling. She had checked online and it takes a little more than a shot worth of methyl alcohol to kill someone. Mansi knew that he wouldn’t drink that much alcohol in one go – the non-drinker he was – but the night was young and she had time on her hand.

“Here’s your juice,” said Mansi and brought him his favorite orange juice.

“Oh! Wow, Mansi. I never thought you would bring me water, let alone juice,” he said with a grin.

“I was already taking something for myself so…” Mansi trailed off waiting for him to sip.

“It’s tasting funny. I think it’s gone bad,” he said and kept the juice down.

“Oh no!” said Mansi, truly disappointed. He looked at her face and grinned again, “but you have brought me the drink so I’ll finish this one even if it’s sour.”

In one large swig, he finished off the drink and smacked his lips. “You happy Mansi.”

Mansi nodded. “A couple more of such drinks and my work is done,” she thought, her mind sparkling with happiness.

As the party continued, Mansi found new and creative ways to smuggle in the methyl alcohol in his drinks and food. It was almost three hours since the first glass of juice was taken by him when he coughed.

“I don’t know why, but I feel dizzy. What was in the food man?” He said in a voice that was quickly deteriorating. He grabbed the chair and tried to sit on it but fell beside it. A person shouted for some water while another one held him. Mansi showed concern but was giddy inside.

‘Finally!’ her mind repeated as he started coughing blood.

“Mansi. I don’t know what is happening but I must tell you. I’m sorry if I ever hurt you. You’re the most wonderful person I’ve ever met,” he said waving his hands. His vision had become blurry and he could barely see two feet in front of him.

Mansi held his hand and spoke softly, “I know. I was not offended. It was all fine.”

By the time the ambulance arrived, his body had given up. Mansi knew what the autopsy would say and hoped that there was no murder investigation. Her choice of poison was mundane specifically for this reason.

‘Now, I will finally be rid of all the teasing,’ she thought as his body was taken away.