Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Application to Heaven

‘Hi.. Umm.. My name is X. As you must be knowing, I was sent to hell for my life in earth. It has been 14 years si…’

Vivek paused the video and swore loudly.
“Who allowed a 14 year old to send a petition.” He asked his subordinates. No one looked at him directly. Knowingly, he immediately turned to Junior.

“What is the meaning of this? I have told you the rules a hundred times. No one can send a petition until he has spent an equivalent time of his or her age. How hard is it for you to understand?” Vivek fumed.

He hated this job. It had two things that were beyond his paygrade. One, he had to spend at least sometime in hell to check on the situation. Second, he had to watch the bloody applications. Ever since God has had the epiphany, his life has become hell. Vivek thought miserably.

The decree was passed, without consulting him mind you, that anyone in hell who has had good behavior and is changed can now be sent to heaven. The applications can be made in either video, audio or written format. Most inmates used video as the technology was fairly robust and they thought that looking at their pitiful state would appease him. Ha!

Truth be told, it did work sometimes. Especially when Vivek saw the rules acting up stupid. Two days after the law was passed, a video came through, obviously made by one of his assistant, of a baby of around 5 months. The baby spoke nothing but kept on looking at the video crying and then being pacified to laughter. It took him a minute to realise that he was watching a petition and not some baby video on Facebook.

Looking at the file, he came to know that the baby had jumped (more like fallen) from the roof and on technicality, had committed a suicide. Really! a seven month suicidal baby. She was in hell since seventeen months. He could not believe what he was seeing.

On a thorough search by the staff, about three hundred children below the age of one and about 15000 children below the age of 5 were found in hell, who ended up here because the process was done by a machine without brains. They were all immediately transferred to heaven. He had felt really good about it and that week was considered the best week for the HMC (Hell Maintenance Committee). Vivek allowed a few applications to pass through even when the age of the applicant in hell was less than the age on Earth. After all, just because a kid had lived for four years on Earth doesn’t mean he should live the same in this God-forsaken place, Vivek thought amused at his pun.

The first month was good too. A lot of people were there for measly reasons and were shifted to heaven. Then the lot began to rot. First came the murderers. They always had the same excuse — ‘self-defence’. Then the thieves- ‘we were just providing for the family’ and then even the rapists- ‘heat of the moment, we are sooooooorry’. As if the extra o’s change everything now.

But this, this was just out of control. This guy was a murderer and had not even lived in hell for his age.

“Tell me Junior. What is wrong with you? Why are you sending this application to me?”

“Just look at it once. You will understand. I promise.” Junior pleaded.

Curious, Vivek unpaused the video.

“…nce I was part of that incident. I will be honest. At first I did not understand why I was placed here and I thought I had offended God in some other manner. But, I have been told that it was that incident that is the reason for my place in hell. Looking back at everything, I apologise for my mistakes and I wish I was not a part of it. In the end, I would again reiterate, I thought I was doing this in God’s honour. If I knew it was not God’s wish, I would not have been a part of 9/11. Thank you.”

The video stopped. Vivek looked at Junior puzzled. Junior looked at Vivek eagerly. Surely he must have missed something.

“What did you want me to see? This guy is going to stay here a long time Junior.”

“But… He did it for him.” Junior replied. “It must be worth something.”

“It doesn’t matter who he did it for. It is what he did that matters.” Vivek said deleting the video.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Humans vs. Anctids

“I am sorry.” Juan said softly to Sumit, the President of the Earth Charter.

“Its alright.” Sumit said wiping his brow with a handkerchief while reading the papers in front of him. It has been four years since humans first came in contact with aliens and the Earth Charter was formed to represent the Earth in the universe. He had only been the president for one year and in that one year, he had to come to the Galaxy Court 7 times and once, he had to even go to the Universe Court. All this, because some idiot human decided to act human on a galactic scale. He has come to learn the hard way that in the Inter-planetary world, they are the endangered species.

“We will plead Barbarism. It won’t get us out free but it should reduce the sentence. You did not know, right?” Sumit asked in the same soft voice.

The whole courtroom was silent. There was a jury of 29 individuals, each from a different species from across the galaxy. The judge was going through the details of the crime while the prosecutor, Retan — a humanoid ant (anctids as they are called) about the same height as Sumit, was looking at her notes. Her client, Meghan — a five feet anctid was looking suspiciously at Juan.

Juan was flabbergasted to see around 351 people sitting in the courtroom, each of a different species. No two members of the same species were present.

“What one knows, they all know.” Sumit spoke reading Juan’s mind.

“How does it work? What about freedom of thought or privacy?” Juan asked exasperated.

Privacy, Independence of thought and diversity in action, the most cherished of human traits are not only rare but looked down upon in the universe. Sumit thought amusingly. Almost all intelligent species in the universe originate from the hive communities. Some of the more advanced species have even created networks that have unified the brain systems of their entire species. Thus, they all have access to the collective information of the whole species at the same time. No sense of privacy left.

“There are some species that are still not ‘Uniformed’, if I had read the word right. They do not have the technology yet. But they are mostly considered barbaric and are trying to reach that position. In the meantime, they share information using technologies similar to ours — Internet. That is our defense today. That you did not have the necessary information regarding the change in law.” Sumit explained to Juan quickly.

“You really did not know this?” Sumit again asked Juan sceptically.

“No, I did not. Why would anyone want to live like that?” Juan said disgustingly.

“The advantage of course is that there were no crimes in their planets. The whole species behave as a single organism and no one harms themselves.” Sumit said sternly. The butt-kicking disadvantage, especially for his butt was that any crime committed by an individual was considered a collective action by the whole species. Sumit thought to himself.

“Humans have slapped the Anctids.” Retan said bringing Sumit out of his thoughts. “Humanity has decided to attack Anctids and we won’t take it lightly.” Retan continued in the same menacing voice detailing how humanity should be destroyed for what they have done.

This was Sumit’s second bout with Retan and he was not taken aback by the shrieking and screeching that Retan’s voice was. Through the universal translator, it felt like some was passing through a grating machine. Juan had no such practice and he panic was written all over his face. Was he also looking at Retan like this last time. No wonder he lost. Sumit thought with amusement.

“You want to pitch in Sumit, or smilingly foolishly will be all.” The judge, a 200-year old 27 feet tree spoke and started laughing at his own joke. A flower fell from one of his branch due to the shaking and shut him immediately.

“Ahem, please remove the flower and strike that off the court proceedings. Guard, please take it to my wife.” Judge spoke a little embarrassed. Sumit imagined that if the judge could, he would be blushing right now. It was equivalent to a wardrobe malfunction on Earth. On the bright side, it was good to see the judge doing family planning.
“So, Mr. Sumit. Do you want to proceed?”

“Yes sir. I completely agree with Retan. The atrocious crime committed by Juan is unforgivable. However, as before, I would like the court to understand that we are still not technologically advanced for the information to be with every individual. Thus, will it be possible to pass the judgement based on Earth laws, once again.”

“Sir. How long is humanity going to use this advantage while hurting other species? We want humanity destroyed.”

“Humanity Destroyed! For domestic violence.” Juan said startled. “She is my girlfriend and I know what I did was wrong but I had just slapped her once. Humanity destroyed for that. Are you kidding me?” Juan ranted on.

Sumit looked at Meghan. It was clearly visible that she was not comfortable with the idea of destruction of humanity, or at least her boyfriend. She kept looking at Juan and then at his hand. Sumit looked at Juan’s hand and knew at once, he could save humanity.

“Judge, sir. If the earth laws are unacceptable then please let Meghan decide what will happen to Juan. Whatever she decides for Juan, will be acceptable to rest of the humanity as well.” Sumit played his card.

“Now.. Now.. the final decision will be of the jury. I hope you know how the law works Sumit.” Judge said in a jovial voice. For a tree he was really full of life, Sumit thought.

“Yes, of course. But as the crime is committed against Meghan, she should have some part in the final punishment.”

“The crime is against Anctids. And the punishment will be for Humans.” Retan again shrieked.

Sumit looked at the judge and Meghan expectantly.

“I want humanity to be punished.” Meghan said softly.

“Of course you do. But what punishment you want to give Juan and Juan alone.” Sumit quipped.

“Juan alone?” Meghan asked confused.

‘Hive-mind.’ Hmmpphed Sumit under his breath.

“Yes. I believe your fight with him started on some issue and escalated. What if he did it 10 times over, or 100 times over. Can you agree to that as Juan’s punishment??”

Meghan did not speak anything but kept looking at Juan longingly.

“I suppose that would work.” Retan said, looking at Meghan. She already knew the decision Meghan had made.

“Alright then. Let the jury decide on all the aspects. Give us 2 minutes and we will make the decision.” Judge spoke while his branch extended to the jury platform. Each of the jury members touched his hand to give their advice.

“The results are out! Humanity is guilty of slapping Anctids. However, as Anctids have decided against complete annihilation of Humanity, the jury agrees to go with the Anctids proposed punishment. Humanity will wash all the clothes and dishes for Anctids for the next ten years. These will be sent to earth every 24 hours and should be return within next 24 hours. Sumit, please meet me in the chamber.” Judge said.

“Sumit, how did you know Anctids would cave?” Judge asked while flipping out his phone.

“I got an information that was not with me before.” Sumit said to judge.

“What was that information?” Judge asked absently while another tree, probably his wife was on the other side.

“Meghan stung first.” Sumit said.

“How did you not know that? Kinda vital don’t you think.” Judge chuckled.

“Yeah. Disadvantage of being a human. Juan had the choice of not telling me.” Sumit said with an emphasis on the word choice.

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Anything!

Gaurav woke up with a start. He checked around and found himself in a bathtub filled with ice. He was still wearing his watch on his left hand while a weird note was hanging from his right wrist. It was at least 8 hours since he had passed out. It can be 1 day and 8 hours too or even more. Gaurav tried to bring his right hand closer to read the note but could not. It stayed limp.

Gaurav looked around and found himself in some kind of abandoned apartment building. He was in a room larger than the bathroom.

“Perhaps some customised room for torture.” Gaurav thought while trying to move himself out of the bathtub. His whole body was numb from cold so he could barely move. However, each step shot two searing pains around his waist. Panicked, he looked down and saw two sharp cuts on his stomach. They had been sewed shut hastily. Gaurav realised that he was a victim of Kidney theft. Someone had tried to steal his kidneys.

Finally, Gaurav picked himself up and out of the tub. It took a few minutes before his body could warm itself up enough for movement to come properly. The right hand however, remained limp. Gaurav picked out the note from his right hand, half-knowing what he was gonna read.

“Why don’t you have any kidneys? WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU?”

The note read. Gaurav sighed. At least one person in the world now suspects something, perhaps even more. He hoped that the callousness would not cost him too much.

He found his clothes along with his cellphone in the next room. Apparently, once his captors could not find the kidney, they were in a hurry to run. There were 27 missed calls on his phone — all from the lab. He sighed with relief! It was only 8 hours since he was MIA.

He left the building and took a taxi to his home.

Finally, he decided to give the lab a call.

“Where were you?”, the voice said worried.

“Got kidnapped.” Gaurav said calmly.

“What? By competitors?” the voice immediately asked.

“No, some kidney stealers.”

“Oh! They know the truth now. How could you be so careless?” the voice said, losing all care in the tone.

“Relax! They got too scared to know the truth. They probably think I am some sort of devil.”

“Oh.. Alright. Come to the labs right away. We will give you a thorough checkup. We have to see if your kidneys are working fine.”

“Ok. I personally think they are working great. I think this technology should be made global.”

“The world is not ready yet. Bye Sir.” the voice said and the phone got disconnected.

At the labs, Gaurav got a full body scan and immediately, the machine told that he was not as fine as he thought.

“One of your kidneys has failed. It is the cold from the ice perhaps.” Doctor informed him.

“Alright doctor. Please change it.” Gaurav said nonchalantly.

“It won’t be easy. We will need to change both as only a pair can work together. Also, we will need at least 24 hours to miniaturise them. Not to mention finding a donor.”

“That is why I give you money doctor. Because I don’t want to know about these things. What interest I have in knowing who gave the set or whether they are put in the rib cage. The important thing is that I have these kidneys that work 10 times better than the normal ones.”

“Right sir. I will see if the last consignments of babies have a match for you. If there is, we will immediately extract the kidneys for the miniaturisation procedure.”

“Good.” Gaurav said as he remembered the first time he heard about this technology.

— –

“Sorry sir. Your both kidneys have failed. The only way to save you is an experimentative technology.” The voice had told him.

“Anything.” Gaurav said.

“Alright. We will take the kidneys from a new-born baby, not more than 3 days old and shrink them. The young kidneys are more adaptable for the procedure and the shrinking helps in improving its capabilities by up to 10 times. Also, this pair, about the size of grapes, will be put beside your lungs as they need more blood and would put a strain on your heart otherwise. Also, the procedure is completely illegal and very costly.”

“Anything.” Gaurav said again.

Tales of a Clumsy Girl

#10 Friend Conundrum

Mansi slapped him harder than she had intended.

“I’m sorry,” she said as he rubbed his cheek.

“Why did you hit me?” He asked.

“Why are you this weak?” She replied.

“I’m not weak.” He mumbled.

“Yeah, right. I slapped you a little and you crumpled like a pack of cards hit by a crazy cat.”

“That’s vivid. I guess you are getting your Instagram cat fix,” he said grinning.

“Not by choice. I’m being sent cat pics to see.”

“Ahh. She?”

“Yes, she. And don’t talk about her like you know her,” Mansi said with a stern look on her face.

“Don’t I?”

“No. She’s my friend and not yours.”

“Okay. But I won’t mind knowing her,” he said and winked at Mansi. Mansi fumed. Before she knew, her finger was pointing towards him.

“Stay away from her.”

“What if she doesn’t want to stay away from me,” he said with a twinkle in his eyes and a smirk.

Mansi looked at him and knew he was joking. His left hand was still rubbing his cheek. Mansi knew what she had to do and slammed her fist in his stomach.

“Ouch! What was that for?”

“The slap was clearly not enough,” Mansi said and grinned.

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.