Welcome to my blog of stories! I will update with my short stories as often as possible. The content in this blog are purely my own work. Feel free to comment on my stories.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who is it?

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


 "You are caught red handed, aren't you?", Roshan looked with strong command.
"I beg you to leave me. Please! I will give you one crore!"
"Don't you know that I don't accept bribe?"
"Wow! What a man!", a woman from behind exclaimed. 

Roshan beamed with pride but when suddenly he became conscious of what a girl is doing in that scene. The scene dissolved and when he opened, the original life he is living came as a blur and became brighter. The early morning sunshine was scorching bright that he couldn't open his eyes. He took out his mobile phone that he dare not use for anything else but for his job. In this job, his name is not Roshan. They call him B441, a secret name that conceals his real identity from the agency he is working for. His job is to assassinate people. He is a hitman.

He had received a call from the agency. They call it 'New Hope'. Again this name is only for security purpose. Roshan had heard that even the very important people knew about this secret agency. He called back the number and he expected a familiar mellow voice.

"Welcome to New Hope academy. How can I help you?", came in a lady voice at the other end.
"I wish to have new hope", Roshan said.
"Thank you. We would be happy to provide you with information. Your id?"
"Damn this system code!", Roshan thought to himself.
"What can we do for you?"
"Please connect to Agent A101"
"Please wait while we connect you to the agent"

Agent A101, as they call her, is the administrator of the database. She has the information regarding the jobs assigned to agents. Once too often, he has wondered whether she owns the academy. He also wonders often whether she is married. He thinks that every hitman would have this doubt. No one could resist the husky voice of A101 but he never dared to ask.

"Hello Agent B441. It is nice to speak to you again".
Although the words were welcoming to hear, her tone was never pleasing and was with disinterest. Probably she hated him.
"Nice to speak to you again! I hear I have a news from you"
"Yes. Your next mission is to assassinate a person named 'Tea Maker'"
"Tea Maker? Should I destroy a machine?", he laughed but there was blank silence from the other side. He decided to not cast another dry joke again. He continued, "More details please?"
"The Tea Maker is going to attend a party at the 10th anniversary of the 'Six Sigma' club. We have the information that the best place you can catch the tea maker is at the party"
"Ok. More details?"
"That is it Agent B441"
"That is it? Is the person a 'he' or a 'she'?"
"I do not have the information.  If you would like to…"
"How am I supposed to find the person? I am not a detective. I am the so-called Hitman", he interrupted.
"If you refer to Section 22.4.3 of the 'Hitman Guidelines', you would find that 'A perfect Hitman, not only executes the plan, but also could extract the entire scenario from a tiny piece of information he/she gets'", Agent A101 said firmly.
"If you refer to Section 23.5.2, it says "Get as much information as you want from Agent A101. You don't want to kill a wrong person""
"There is no such phrase in the guideline", Agent A101 said softly yet commandingly.
"God! She has probably drunk the book!", he thought to himself.
"Alright. But what if I kill the wrong person?"
"The agency will settle that issue Agent B441.  You should also be knowing that you are likely to be fired if you did that. Any more information you need?"
He wished to say, "That is what I am trying to get from you" but there is something creepy about the lady that he did not wish to do so.
"No. Just send the contact details of the people attending the party."
"Alright.  I will send that. Contact me if you wish to know something"
"Ok. Thank you. Bye". The line hung up. Probably she loathed him.

Roshan kept the phone aside and recollected the phone call with A101. They wanted him to kill a person named 'Tea Maker'. He has no clue where to begin with except that he would be attending a club anniversary party. The Academy probably wanted this to be his last mission. 

He went to the bathroom and looked at the mirror. He was twenty six years and had not changed much in the last three years. The shirt, which he had bought two years back still fitting on to him, bore evidence to that fact. As he brushed his teeth and had a shower, he remembered a conversation with A1, the chief of the New Hope academy.

"B441, we are not happy with your performance", the guy had a rough voice and sounded like one in his sixties.
"Apologies sir. What happened yesterday was a mistake and I regret it!"
"Mistakes are left to be committed by a man. A hitman's mistake is a sin"
"Sorry sir. I couldn't kill the old man. He deserves to live"
"The first thing a hitman must realize is not to emotionally bond with the target. I suppose you did that",  A1 spat out those words.
"No sir. I never befriended him. We never spoke much"
"Then what were you doing speaking to that old guy for two hours before screwing up what you were supposed to do?"
"He was drunk... and was speaking about how he lost his son in a war"
A1 continued speaking as if he was never interrupted, "If that wasn’t enough, you dropped the old guy at his house"
Roshan couldn't speak anything further.
A1 continued, "Bidding adios to your dear friend, weren't you?"
"Apologies sir. It wasn't supposed to end that way. He told that I look like his son"
"Emotion is not an excuse B441", the voice sounded with authority, "Speaking about father and son, your late father is best known for his skills to execute people with ease. The company owes him a lot. I knew him personally. The only reason you are in this academy is because of your father"
"I am sorry sir. Is there anything I can do to compensate?"
The guy at the other end chuckled. He gave a brief pause.
"There is no need for you to do anything. This time, you are excused.  I only hope that you will never repeat it again"
"Yes sir. Definitely", Roshan hid his relief in his speech.
A1 gave a brief and pause and said, "Very well B441. See you sometime later"

Roshan wore the first dress that he could find in the closet. He switched on his laptop and logged in to the New Hope academy website. A101 has done her job perfectly. Not only he has received all the contact details in his inbox but also the corresponding passes they got for the party. He started reading out the list to himself.

Rajeshwar Iyengar, Siddarth Vanesh, Sindhuja Kannala… The list went on, "Who could be the tea maker?", Roshan thought to himself. "Who are you?"

He googled each name, read information about them, made notes and finally shortlisted the list to five names. He found information about a particular name to be curious - Ashish Sindhe. The information he read about Ashish is…

"Ashish Sindhe, the new icon in the Ootacamund hills, has all tasted success in his cotton mills industry. Will he face the same success with his new tea factory? Off late, he has signed deal with the Srinivas Tea estates and his factory will be opened later this month.  We spoke to his manager Mr.Muthuraman and…"

This piece of information was interesting.  "I believe I caught the man", he thought to himself.

He read on further to get more details about Ashish Sindhe. It looked like Ashish wanted to get hold of the major estates in Ootacamund hills. He was highlighted as the next big tea manufacturer of the South. Why should someone want to kill him? He didn't want to research on that.

He got into the line with A101.
"Hey, if possible, get a VIP pass for me to the anniversary party", is what he told her.
"Done", A101 replied with no emotions as usual and hung up. A101 is swift with her actions. He knew that she would get back to him quicker. Within an hour, as expected, he got a call from A101.

"We got you a VIP pass for you under the name 'Rajesh', senior reporter of 'Wassup Chennai?' The pass is available in Muthu Medical Store. A prescription will do. Meet Dr.Ramalingam at Singamalai street to get the prescription. The passcode is "Hey doctor, I am suffering from some unfamiliar disease. Are you having the same?""

"Are you kidding me?", Roshan couldn't help but wonder about the absolute weirdness of the passcode.

"Listen, the anniversary is a secure zone. No weapons are allowed inside. You will undergo a security check before you enter. The party takes place in MACA grounds. It will be open aired. They are offering buffet for all the guests. Since you are a reporter, you will need a pen and probably a microphone although you can expect it to be confiscated"

"Try your best not to create a havoc there. It is a prestigious club and you can expect plenty of big shots. Good luck B441. The meeting is tomorrow at 5 pm." The call hung up.

He spent the rest of the day doing what A101 had asked him to do. Getting the prescription from the doctor was not that easy as he had imagined. He knew that some of the important people were in the New Hope Academy but he never imagined that he would meet a doctor from the academy.

The doctor, with his round eyed spectacles, observed his weird patient, smiled when he heard the passcode. He seemed to be in his early sixties having bald head and shrunken facial muscles.  The doctor kept smiling. Whats wrong with the doctor?, thought Roshan.

"What kind of problems do you have?"
"I… I… that is it"
"Dear son, only if you tell your problems, I can give you the solution. Is it anything personal?"
Panic! Roshan definitely knew something was wrong. He never believed in weird passcodes. This time, he had proven it.
"That is the problem Dr.Ramalingam"
The doctor laughed, "I am not Dr.Ramalingam. He comes during evening shifts. I am Dr.Bhaskar, gynecologist"

Roshan now knew all the reasons why the doctor kept smiling. He ran out of the clinic only to come again two hours later to the same place. He ensured Dr.Ramalingam was inside before greeting him with the passcode.

The doctor had scars and burns on his cheek. Though he may be a part of the club, he never imagined this guy to have a rough look. His expressions were as rough as his face and he immediately scribbled something in a prescription and handed it over to Roshan.

Getting the pass from the medical store was really easy. All he had to endure was just a plain cold stare from the pharmacist before he went in to bring his prize.


Roshan went to the MACA ground ten minutes late intentionally. He was dressed in a formal suit. He was briefly checked for any weapons and was also given a long stern stare by one of the securities. He is familiar with these procedures and have also seen many of those stares before. He was carrying a bag with a PDA which he took there proudly to indicate that he is a journalist and was thus given the honor to take it inside; not that it was not allowed.

He went inside and mingled with the rest of the people. He didn't want to have a lengthy discussion with them; neither he wanted to be too silent to raise suspicions. He was wearing a fake beard but then he did not want people to remember him and identify him later. He wanted to do it perfectly smooth. He went to the buffet table, skipped all the main food; followed a kid to the ice-cream stacks. He asked for a ice-cream cup and when the staff gave a smile, Roshan smiled back and said, "I love ice-creams". He tore off a piece of silver paper from the buffet table.

After quickly finishing off the ice-cream, he placed the empty cup in his pocket. He went inside a building there and went inside a rest room. "I should find something here", thought Roshan. He opened a cupboard and luckily, he saw a transparent cleaner liquid just exactly like he wanted. He took out the empty ice-cream cup and filled it with the liquid and sealed it tight using the silver paper.

He took a needle from his coat which he had earlier soaked it in poison. He pierced the needle on to the hands of the cotton shirt exactly on his wrists. The other end came out of the wrist cloth just enough to pierce anyone when given a handshake. After his handshake with Ashish, the poison would start giving effect after half an hour. Due to the poison, Ashish would start feeling thirsty and would need water. By that time, the cleaner liquid would have already been mixed in the water that is to be given to Ashish. The only thing he has to make sure is to put the liquid in the water at the right time. He placed the cup of liquid back inside his pocket and quietly walked out of the rest room.

He attended the speech given by the chief guest and immediately after the meet, he went to the stage, shook hands with Ashish and patted on his shoulders to make him not realize the pain of the needle prick.

"Hi Mr.Ashish, I am Rajesh, senior reporter of Wassup Chennai? The entire last week, I was reading about your accomplishments and am really amazed about how you prospered from being an underdog"

"Hi Rajesh. You speak too much", Ashish chuckled, followed by the laughter of Roshan, "Well… what can I say? It is good to hear from a reporter"

"Ya. You must be a busy man. How about you featuring on the front page of the special edition of our newspaper? You know, you are an inspiration to a lot of people"

"Thanks Rajesh. That was really nice. However, I am not sure about that. I still have to reach heights. I hope you don't mind"

"No worries. I haven't given up yet. I would come to your house again to find out whether you have reconsidered your decision. A lot of people are waiting to hear from you"

Ashish chuckled, "Ya Rajesh. Thank you. A lot of people are waiting indeed; over here. I will talk to you later. We can catch up sometime later".

"Ya sure. See you Mr.Ashish", he didn't shake hands this time; how many times does he have to prick the needle in his wrist and cover it up wit a pat on his shoulders.

After he went a fair distance away from Ashish, he looked at his wrist watch. It was 6.30. The needle should have an effect probably at 7. He was walking as he was noticing the time and hit someone really hard. He fell down on his side.

"Oh my God! Don't you watch out?", the girl shouted.
"Me? Me?", Roshan looked around and saw where the voice was coming from. He stood up and saw the person who just talked to him. He saw a stunning beauty lying down and staring straight at him with her big eyes. Her hair was set loose and it had fallen on the ground. She wore a black tube top and a matching jeans that contrasted with her fair skin. Though the confusion was not just the accident, Roshan was left speechless.

"Hellooo… Won't you even lift me up?", the girl raised her hands and had her right knee bent. Roshan wished it was the other way around. He offered his hand and lifted her.
"Hi, I am sorry madam. I hope you are not hurt"
"No I am not, Where do you have your eyes?"
"I am extremely sorry Madam. I didn't notice you"
"Don’t call me madam". The girl started walking away. Roshan started following her swiftly taking two steps at a time.
"Then how should I call you?"
"Why do you want to know my name?"
"Any guess?"
The girl stopped at the drinks table, turned around and stared at him with her big bulgy eyes. Her nose and her lips looked smaller than her eyes which weirdly made her ravishing.
Without a reply, she turned around again and started calling for a staff.
"Oh. So you drink?", Roshan asked.
The staff arrived and asked the kind of drink she wished to have.
"Orange please"
"Oh. You like soft?", Roshan asked her. There was again no reply and Roshan spoke to the staff, "One orange for me too"
When the staff was getting ready with the orange, Roshan continued.
"My friends would spit at me if they know that I didn't find out the name of the beautiful girl whom I collided with"
"How are they going to know?"
"Simple. I will tell them", Roshan.
The girl chuckled and Roshan was met with another stare from her, a stare that talked to his heart.
"What are you going to tell your friends? I am curious"
"I dashed straight into Ms.I-don’t-know-her-name. Ms.She-wont-tell-me-her-name asked me to lift her up. Ms.She-wont-tell-me-her-name-yet scolded me. Ms.Not-yet-convinced walked away from me"
Roshan could find out that the girl was controlling her laughter. She wasn't able to hide it in her face.
"Ms.Please-don’t-control-your-smile-you-will-look-beautiful just kept on walking"
Roshan stopped when the girl burst out laughing and looked at him with her big eyes again. The staff just placed two glasses of orange on the table.
"I am Nishika", she stretched out her right hand.
Roshan realized that he won't be able to use his right hand and instantly picked up the glass of orange juice and stretched his left hand.
"You don't give handshake with your left hand, do you?"
"Well, I do if my other hand is busy. You know the FBI are ready with both of their hands", Roshan raised the glass in his other hand.
"You are not a FBI. You haven't told your name yet", she shook his left hand with her right hand twisted.
"I am Ro-", Roshan gave a fraction-of-a-second pause and said, "-jesh"
Roshan laughed and said, "No. Rajesh"
"Oh! Rajesh. So what do you do Rajesh?"
Roshan said proudly as if he is really working there, "I work as a senior reporter in Wassup Chennai?"
"Ooooh! A reporter", Nishika pouted and Roshan wanted to continue it wherever the conversation was leading, "A crime scene reporter?"
"No. I am the reporter of the masses. The entertainer. I catch all the famous folks out there and present them to the people"
"I guess you would have had a snatch at all the famous celebrities out there"
Roshan beamed, "Not yet. So what do you do Nishika?"
"I…", Nishika pressed her hands together as if she is going to pray, "I work as a fashion designer"
"That’s interesting. Where?"
"I work on my own. I am an aspiring entrepreneur. As of now, I am working on freelance projects and looking for contracts with any big company"
Roshan shook his head thrice and smiled at her, "If your design is the same as your fashion sense, then I am sure you will become great"
Nishika blushed, "Thanks Rajesh. But I am not flattered"
"Come on, your fashion sense is great. Just go for a ramp walk in that dress. Become the model for your own dress. Who would not shell out their money to get your designs?"
Nishika laughed, "You speak well"
Roshan had to. He is a hitman; should be good at striking conversations with people. He instead said, "That is why they made a reporter", and he laughed back.
Nishika smiled and drank the last sip of the orange juice left in her glass and placed it on the table. Roshan continued, "So where do you get inspiration from?"
Nishika asked, "You are asking about the designs?". Roshan nodded, drank his last sip and followed suit.
Nishika took her mobile out of her pocket and started speaking like an enthusiastic child, "Being a lover of art, I go out often and observe the things happening around me. If there is anything interesting that strikes me, I immediately take a snap", Nishika aimed at random point in the sky and made a clicking sound with her mouth, "I collect them all and they become a model design"
Roshan said, "That’s really cool. You know what? My story is similar. I have got something bigger inside"
He winked.
Nishika's eyes bulged with panic , her eyebrows raised and cautiously asked, "Whaaattt?"
Roshan opened his bag and took out his PDA. Nishika sighed a breath of relief as Roshan started his PDA and said, "I too go out, when I find something interesting, I write it down in my PDA immediately. I go to office, collect my thoughts and bring up an article. It will go to the editor for approval"
It was Nishika's turn to appreciate, "I am sure it will get approved"
Roshan smiled to himself about the lies he had just told. He was noticing that he got her interested and was wondering how long he is going to continue the lies. There was a brief silence and Nishika broke it, "Hey, you must be knowing a lot of big shots from the fashion department. Can you introduce me to anyone of them?"
"I am sure I can. I have already decided to write an article on you"
Nishika laughed, "You must be kidding me!"
Roshan smiled, "No no, I am serious. I don't even need to publicize you. I am sure your article will fetch us a lot of cash"
Nishika raised her eyebrows, "Why do you say so?"
Roshan continued, "Not often we will be having a gorgeous beauty in our front page telling people what their fashion sense would be about"
Nishika blushed again. She gave a smile before she continued, "So when is this article coming?"
Roshan said, "Very soon. How about meeting tomorrow at the Vicky's Coffee Pub?"
Nishika placed her hands on her hips, "So you are asking me for a date?"
Roshan continued with a smile, "So it is a date. Tomorrow, dinner with me at 'The Parkway'"
Nishika kept smiling without any reply.
Roshan decided to continue, "So shall I pick you up tomorrow?"
Nishika replied, "No I can be there. What time?"
Roshan said, "At 7. I can book a table for both of us"
Nishika nodded and Roshan continued, "A candle-light dinner"
Nishika burst out laughing, "You are smart!"
Roshan was smiling when he heard a commotion behind. He turned around and saw that Ashish had collapsed. People started gathering around him. Roshan smelt trouble. He smelt disaster. The conversation with Nishika had made him completely forget about his real job that night. Without realizing, he blurted out, "Oh no! I missed the tea maker"
He turned around again and to his shock, he saw Nishika holding a gun in her hands pointing at him.
"Who are you? What did you say just now?"
Not just disaster but now he felt panic, "How-did-you-get-the-gun-in-here?"
Nishika's face was filled with panic as well. Her face was sweating, "It is none of your business. You have come to kill me, haven't you?"
"No no", Roshan did not dare to move, "I came here for the tea maker"
"I am the tee maker"
"You too own a tea estate?"
"Fool. It is T-E-E and not T-E-A"
Roshan innocently said, "Oh!". He did not even imagine that he would be held at gun point by this beauty.
Nishika shrugged, "Why am I even telling you this?". She did not drop down her hands.
She continued, "Tell me. Who are you? Why have you come for me?"
Roshan could hear footsteps running in all corners and they were coming nearby. Nishika dropped down her hands and gave a deep breath. Roshan didn't react either. He just kept watching and after a brief eye contact, Nishika left the scene.
Two hours later, Roshan was back at home thinking about what happened that day. He was supposed to commit a murder; he was halfway in doing it when he met a girl. Whatever happened that time looked like magic to him then; he was instantly flattered by her beauty and the conversation with her was making wonders in his heart. He still remember the scene where she pointed the gun at him saying that she is the tee maker.

Had he gone there to kill her? Would he have killed her if he had not met her before? He wondered how he made the calculation wrong. Is he happy because his calculation got wrong? Luckily for him, the innocent didn't die. He was rescued. The interesting part was that she had the chance to kill him but she didn't. Is it because she likes him? He had the chance to kill her as well. Why didn't he do it? Why did he let her slip away? Is he having a soft corner for her? Is it love? Does he wish to marry her?  Is he going to continue the mission? He was sure that he would definitely not continue the mission. Is he going to tell A101?

Too many thoughts were crossing his mind. The dream of leaving the job and marrying Nishika also crossed his mind.  As he had guessed, A101 called a few minutes later interrupting his dreams.
"B441, well done. You failed the mission"
Roshan didn't like the sarcasm but he started speaking.
"Listen A101, I am extremely sorry. It was a fault because of the pronunciation"
A101 did not reply but he knew she was listening.
"Alright A101. I call off the mission. I would like to leave this job"
"Leave this job?", A101 started laughing wickedly.
"B441, The agency has fired you already. You will receive your final salary by mail. Goodbye B441. Your history with New Hope Academy has just ended". She hung up.

Roshan was still in confusion. He didn't mind being fired. Neither did he mind the conversation with A101. All this thoughts were on Nishika and her safety. If he is not going to do the mission, definitely, the agency is going to call some other hitman. He decided to find her and rescue her. How will he find her? He had to do it fast. He thought to himself, "Don't worry Nishika, I will find you and rescue you"


Deva Lingam was sitting at his home, a small room where he kept all his belongings. He was fondly called as Deva by the little friends he have. He hated his name. He likes being called as A-777, a name that he is proud of. Getting the A-status was not easy. He had executed 47 murders and has 100% strike rate. He was a specialist in sniper and he has heard from A101 that the agency calls him as Devil. He was extremely proud of that. He considered renaming himself as Devil Lingam. Both God and Evil in his name. He is proud to be the Devil and like being adored like a God. He had 30 years of life to boast about; one-third of it spent on killing. He had a rough manly face and a devilish handsome face. He was clever at womanizing and had killed more women than men with those skills.

He received a call from A101.
"Hi Devil", A101 said in a flirty tone. He remembers the husky voice of A101 pretty well.
"Hi A101. Any assignments?", his voice was hard as the rock.
"The Devil is always ready. Isn't he?"
Deva imagined A101 near him and smiled to himself. He nodded.
"How about giving a try?"
A101 gave a sultry laugh.
"I am sure this mission would be simple for you. You have to murder a person named Tee Maker"
"Tea maker?"
"Ya. T-E-E maker"
"Oh I see", Deva said slowly in a casual tone.
"We are now sure that it is a girl. Should be an interesting mission for you A-777"
Deva smiled to himself. He is going to love this mission.
When there was no reply, A101 continued, "I am sure you will love it. You shall be well rewarded"
Deva laughed.
A101 continued, "Let me know if you want further details. Good luck!" and hung up.
Deva was excited. Another mission for the woman specialist. He started smiling devilishly and laughed like a maniac thinking about the Tee Maker and A101.


Ricky was eating and drinking in a small fast food. He was staring at Vineetha, the cook at the fast food when he got a call from Peter. He knew what it was for. He had received a call from A101 sometime back.  He was a very thin guy but the mobile he owned was big. He likes big prizes and rewards. Most of the rewards came from 'The New Hope' academy. Peter was a muscular guy who is a wanted criminal in the local police station for theft and robbery but he has a bigger side to himself.

"Hey Ricky. Whats going on boss?"
"Nothing much man. Just eating. So whats up?", he wants to confirm the reason from Peter before reacting.
"Are you alone?"
Ricky almost confirmed it.
He left the food and went to a lonely street where he started to speak.
"Ya. Tell me"
"Good. I am sure you received a call from A101"
"It is going to be a Laurel & Hardy mission again", Ricky said jokingly and both laughed together.
"What is the guy's name again?", Ricky asked.
"Roshan Ganapathy", Peter said casually.
"When are we supposed to do it?"
"As soon as possible. I shall come to your house tomorrow. Let us discuss"
"It is going to be a simple job Peter! Don't worry about it too much!"
"No Ricky. I heard from A101 that he is an ex-employee of our academy. B-status. Looks like we have a big task ahead. A real chance to prove ourselves"
Ricky was worried now but Peter was the smart guy. He convinced himself that it is going to be done easily, bid bye and hung up the phone.
He went back to the fast food and smiled at Vineetha. He knew that somewhere in the city, Peter was having a lovely outing. He wondered about his life, his girl Vineetha. This mission is going to fetch him more money, he thought. Then he would be able to live his life like Peter. Though he was eating, his thoughts were on the rewards. "Roshan Ganapathy, B-status. We are coming for you"


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Shadow of Victory

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The following story is an inspiration from real life incidents.


Hi, I am Pugazh, M.B.A (Marketing). I am a guy whom you could often meet at Kodambakkam tea stalls. I live there. I graduated from a college in Theni - then moved here to work in the RealWorks firm as a marketing analyst for their products. What am I going to narrate? I would like to tell the story of my dear friend Sudeep. He worked under me as one of the clerks. He doesn't have anyone in his life. He always came to me for advices and inspiration.

There was one thing common among us. We are both district level runners. Internal politics led us to not run for state level. Sudeep even had the talent to reach the national level. If that had stopped us from reaching any further for the national level, it was probably destined for us. Then came the famous Chennai marathon - an open tournament to the people of Chennai to run and conquer the luring first
prize of one lakh. That was the time we decided to change our destiny.

Sudeep was clearly the best runner. I had never admitted in front of him because he likes challenges. He was almost sure that either of us will win. He had such confidence. He was sure that I could be the only competitor to him. He never minded that. He wanted me to run as fast as I could to be an inspiration -  an inspiration for him to run better. We were very much looking forward to that day.

It was a Saturday, a day before the marathon. Sudeep and I went for a practice run. We ran for 2000 metres continuously. After the run, I decided to call it off. Sudeep was seated near a tree with a cool attitude he often shows in his face. He was tall, lean and dark. He had an oval face that often smiled. I do not know whether he did that to cheer himself or others. The sweat that he had on his face made him darker.

"Sudeep. Let us call this off. Let us have a snack and head home"
"Pugazh, you are scared that I will win?"
"Come on Sudeep. You know very well that it we have practised well enough"
"No. Definitely not enough. You are my boss only in office. Try to beat me tomorrow"

Saying that, Sudeep started running. The effect of that long run had an effect on him the next morning at the marathon. He looked tired but deterministic. We both reached the Lighthouse located at the Marina beach where the marathon race is to be held. It was a four miles run. Around 5000 had come to participate in that big marathon. Ambulances and rescue squads were present. The rescue squads had water packets at regular distance throughout the marathon. It was a grand event - an event that was sponsored by big companies and promoted by celebrities.

We were asked to take medical tests before the event. We lined up in the queue to get ourselves tested to be fit of participating. Once we got ourselves tested, we were given a number badge that read "Chennai Marathon 2010" and below that was an unique number to identify ourselves. Mine was 459 and Sudeep's was 634. A news was circulating that the State-level champion Kunal is going to participate in the marathon. That drained the hopes of quarter of the runners. The rest of the runners were there just for fun.

"Hey Pugazh, did you hear that Kunal is participating?"
"Ya. I am sure I can beat him. Are you scared?"
"That is good. You can do very well in the second place."

We exchanged a mild laugh and punched our fists before we headed for the race. People came in thousands to witness this grand event and the cheer that erupted, when the gun shot was heard to mark the start of the race, was tremendous.

The 5000 participants started running slowly as a jog for half the journey. Some had a break, some left the race. It was only when half the distance was covered, people decided to run fast. Sudeep and I started picking up speed and raced through the crowd now level with other competitors determined to win. Now is the real game.

A few minutes later, Sudeep and I were now among the front ten people. I was sure that Kunal was one among them but I didn't  bother to look. I slowly moved to the first place - Sudeep was following just behind me. It was his trick to follow me all the way and then suddenly pick up speed to win the race. I carefully observed his moves.

The end point was now visible. A red flag was being waved at us. I was able to sense that  Sudeep was picking up speed. I moved to my right to block his path - he usually overtakes in the right. But the day was extremely sunny and humid. The sun was scorching bright to my right in the east coast. That was when I saw Sudeep to my left. This guy was not following me on the right. He was following me on to my left to avoid the sun - a clever move. I continued to run helplessly as I saw Sudeep going front. He was clearly way ahead of me.

The end point was just 400 meters ahead. I pushed myself faster and got closer to Sudeep. The turning point occurred when I sped very fast ahead of him. I was able to sense victory but I was able to sense some weirdness. Sudeep was nowhere near me. I was not that good to be ahead of him by several meters. I stopped immediately and turned around. Sudeep was lying down with his hands stretched out front.

I moved quickly to him, turned him around. Sudeep was lying unconscious. I was gasping for breath and I called a rescue guard to bring some water. I tore a packet and sprayed it on his face. It didn't work. The rescue guards immediately picked him and rushed to a nearby ambulance. A doctor was readily waiting to check on his pulses. I heard a huge cheer behind me. Someone had won the race. I didn't bother to look as I waited for the doctor to give treatment to Sudeep. The doctor checked his pulses and told the rescue guards, "He is dead. Cardiac arrest". The scene ahead of me started blurring and I fainted.


"Hey Chennai. Looks like we had a great event. We were glad to have 5123 participants, the biggest turnout ever in Chennai. On this day, we were unfortunate to lose one person named Sudeep. We deeply regret over that incident and until further inquiries, we are not going to talk about it. We are not going to have a great ceremony either. I would like to call upon Kunal to receive the award and a cheque of one lakh rupees and it will be presented by the sports minister Mr.Narasimhan", said Raja, an ex-national runner.

Kunal went to the stage and collected the prize. When the crowd cheered, he requested silence and started speaking.

"First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your support. This is a great honor for me to win it. On this day, I would like to talk about the sad demise of our beloved friend Sudeep. This event was supposed to be an event without controversies. I feel very sad for this incident and I dedicate this award to him. Whoever you are Sudeep, this is for you!"


After the rites were performed, I went to meet Sanghvi, my girlfriend. She had just returned from a North India tour with her family.  She also worked in the same company that I worked for. Her face was pale when she opened the door. She was clearly sad.

"Come in!", she said inviting him to the house, "Mom, it is Pugazh"
Her mom greeted me from inside the house. Sanghvi interrupted, "I know you must be feeling very bad"
I looked at her speechless.
Sanghvi continued, "How did it happen Pugazh?"
"It is my fault Sanghvi", I spoke with a broken voice which scared her.
"Don't panic! It is not your fault"
"I shouldn't have allowed him to run extra during the practice run", I dropped into the sofa.
"No Pugazh, it is not your fault", she pressed my shoulders.
"It is!"
"The news has become a controversy. The death of Sudeep has led to certain reports that the organization was not well. It seems that there weren't enough rescue guards and the fitness test proved to be a disaster"
That did not help me.  I closed my eyes.


A week later, Pugazh was working in his cabin at office when a peon came by and told him that he has a visitor. Pugazh immediately went out to check out who is his visitor is and to his shock found Kunal. He is the star of Chennai. He is not just a State-level runner but also the winner of the marathon. He had troubled eyes and that should have been because of his hour long interviews. This marathon could lead him to running for the National team.

"Hi, I am Kunal. Are you Pugazh?"
"Yes, I am", Pugazh got curious and asked him to sit down at the nearby table.
"I heard that you are the best friend of Sudeep and that he has no one else. I can't express my grief and I am not sure how to express by condolence"
"Please Mr.Kunal! Do not remind me of that incident. I am getting over it", Pugazh rose up from his chair, "Congratulations on your victory Mr.Kunal! All the best!"
When Pugazh neared the exit door, he heard Kunal speak behind him, "I could have saved him!"
He turned around and looked at the long dark troubled face, "Mr.Kunal, I don't understand what you are talking about"
Kunal continued, "Yes, that day, during the marathon…."


It was almost the end of the marathon when every runner started picking up speed. I saw two guys racing almost together. The front guy clearly had an edge. No, he did not. The guy behind him just raced past him on his left. I closed in on those two guys. I realized that I am the third. Two local guys are at the front and a state-level runner like me is way behind them. Just then, again the guy in the right overtook and he was leading.

 Suddenly, the guy in the back stopped and stretched out his hands. I almost neared him when he fell to his knees and he shouted in pain, "Heeeeelp"

Pride took over me as I didn't bother to stop. I just kept running. I realized that the front guy stopped running and the victory almost came. It did reach my hands finally. It was destined for me.


"Mr.Kunal", Pugazh looked at the red eyes of Kunal. He didn't feel angry but felt sorry, "It is not your fault. You just ran for the prize"
"No Mr.Pugazh, I could have saved him. I have learnt first aid. He could have been saved if I had rubbed his chest and blown through his mouth"
"Mr.Kunal, it is not your fault. Please calm down! Go to your home and take rest!"
Kunal got up and moved away slowly.


The next day morning at 8, Pugazh received a call. It was from Sanghvi. A panicked Sanghvi voice told him over phone, "Look at the news Pugazh!"

He went over to the television immediately and also asked what the problem is over phone.
Sanghvi continued with a panicked voice, "Kunal is dead. He committed suicide in his apartment"

It was a shock to him as he searched for the remote channel. On reaching the channel, he saw a flash report on the demise of Kunal, a national level hero. The lady news reporter named Anjali Gupta said, "We are now standing outside the house of Kunal, the deceased. We all know that what a hero he is. He also won the recent Chennai marathon. What could possibly have led to his death?"

A video clipping of Kunal was shown and clips of his interviews were shown as Pugazh watched in shock. The news channel was focusing on his words said during a particular interview, "I feel guilty!"

Anjali Gupta came again on the screen, "Could guilt be the possible reason for his suicide? He did tell us that he felt guilty for the demise of Sudeep during the marathon. We are not sure of the reason. However, reports claim that Kunal has written a signed letter just before he died. He claims no one is responsible for his death"

Pugazh continued to watch in shock, the photos of the man he met only the day before. Clearly, it was his guilt. Reporter Anjali continued, "We just got one more information. We got the last few sentences of his letter. Report claims that it goes like "I meant it when I dedicated my award to Sudeep. Whoever you are Sudeep, this is for you!""

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

That Extra Sensory Perception!

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

The following story is inspired by the Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010) movie trailer.

January 12, 2010

It was a rainy morning in Thoraipakkam and yet people swarmed in groups around the residence of Richaa whose house had been burgled the previous night. Some had umbrellas, some had raincoats, some didn't care about the rain. The rumours and gossips buzzed among the public until the arrival of the police cars beckoned silence. Two constables got out of the car and made sure the people are away from the cars. They then opened the rear door of the car again and made an indecent gesture to someone inside.

"Come out", a constable shouted.

Moses got out of the car. He was heavily built, had a rugged look on his face. Friends told him that shaving his head would make him look scarier. He did shave his head as his friends had suggested. A tanned face, black scars on his face and a shaved head was sure to look too scary for everyone. He entered the familiar house yet again this time with lack of interest.

He chose this house because it was lonely. It is a single floor house and had a bushy garden around the house which he assumed that no one took care of it for years. He did the robbery perfectly yet got caught by the police immediately. He tried every way to refuse to the policemen that he was ignorant of any crime but they wouldn't listen to him. His past records are against him. They wanted to put him in prison but before that, they want the priced treasure. Why would he tell them where it is?

Moses looked around to see two police entering the scene. He remembered one who interrogated him the previous night after he got caught - Kesavan, inspector of police. He was along with a senior police G.P.Ashok, Superintendent of Police, Crime branch.

Ashok looked around the house and the broken furniture. He wore a normal suit with boots. He wore gloves, not for the cool weather, but for the man who is yet to come. He also wore coolers for the same reason. Every part of his body was covered except for his face. He has a sharp nose that he claims to use for smelling criminals. He knows the fish in the tank and that is something he is proud of. His vast years of experience , along with his mean looks, daunts fellow colleagues. Kesavan was dressed in a similar fashion.

"Kesavan, where are the inmates of the house?"

"Just one lady sir named Richaa and she has been admitted in the local hospital owing to injuries"

"Will she succumb?", asked Ashok plainly.

Kesavan didn't shrug. He knows the shrewdness of this forty year old man.

"No sir. She will be alright… She is recovering fast"

"Looks like we have no one to investigate right now. Now where is Kishore?"

"I have been told that he is on the way sir"

"Not respecting seniors… I hate him… I always will hate him… Who does he think he is?" Ashok lit on a cigarette and took a huge puff, blew it out.

"Just because he has got some weird powers that other people doesn't have… who does he think he is?", Ashok repeated, "The Police call him as a gift to the crime branch"

Kesavan knew what was coming. He is used to hearing this a lot of times.

Ashok continued, "… and the journals call him", he raised his pitch and mimicked a female voice, "the man with the extra sense"

Ashok looked face to face with Kesavan, "No matter who he is, whatever the public calls him, he will always be an ex-convict. He will always be my assistant. I don't like my assistants to come late… I hate…"

He stopped saying anything when he heard the screech of a car.

Kesavan took the opportunity to speak, "I guess he has arrived sir"

Kishore, Special Force of Crime Branch, just entered the house walking slowly like a robot with his hands in his suit pocket. He had put on weight in the last couple of years since the time he was called for the police job. The plump cheek bones said it all. His face looked calm and pleasant which often looked like he is about to erupt in laughter. His blue eyes made him famous among the ladies. Though two years of hard work in the crime branch, never did it show in his light fair skin.

"Sorry I am late. Got caught up in the traffic. So what am I digging at?", Kishore asked Ashok. Ashok turned to look into Kishore's eyes through his black shades. He smoked the last puff of the cigarette, put it down and stamped it using his boots. Kishore followed his actions through his eyes expecting a reply. Ashok ordered Kesavan to tell him the story using hand movements. "A puppet", Kishore thought.

"Mr.Kishore, I am sure you must have heard about this case", Kesavan told with a stern mannerism that Kishore never liked. It seemed to imitate Ashok. It was funny for him to watch them both with shades and gloves in the hot sultry climate of Chennai.

"Yeah. I do. I know about the case but brief me more on what I am supposed to do"

"The man standing over there…", Kesavan pointed his hands towards Moses and Kishore stared at a bald man towards the direction Kesavan is pointing to, "… he is Moses, the crime suspect. He stabbed the house inmate and escaped with 12 pounds of jewellery. He refuses to give information about where he has hidden the stolen goods"

"Anything else?", Kishore asked, his eyes still fixed at the bald man.

"No… Nothing… you can proceed further with the case".

Before he could finish that line, Kishore started walking towards Moses, like a lion marching towards it's prey.

"Hi Moses, this is Kishore", Kishore let out his hand and when there was no response, he continued, "I would like you to help me with the case to make it simple and clean". Kishore looked into Moses' eyes. "Where have you hidden the jewellery?"

"Do you think I would tell you where it is?", Moses thought to himself.

"Yes I think you should tell me. I don't wish to drag this for long"

"How does he know what I thought?", Moses thought in panic.

"Tell me Moses. Why do you have to hide it in your thoughts? Why not share it?"

"Oh my God! He is reading my thoughts. He is a magician", Moses started sweating.

"You are not going to tell me your thoughts?"

"No", Moses, this time, shouted his thoughts out.

Kishore smiled gently and said firmly, "Then I have to steal it!"

Moses shrugged in panic as Kishore raised his hands towards his head.

"Moses, your bald head makes it easier for me to access your thoughts straight away from your little brain", he laughed mockingly and placed both of his hands on his bald head.

Kishore could see with his closed eyes the entire crime incident. It was like forcing someone to give their thoughts to others. He was forcing the crime scene from Moses. He had stabbed the innocent lady right in her stomach, when she had tried to cause alert. He had searched the entire place for any goods and found a key to the cupboard from where he stole 12 pounds of gold. He thought for a while that the best place is to hide it  in the garden as no one would try to search it there. He searched for a bush, dug the ground, hid the jewellery inside the hole and covered it perfectly with mud.

Kishore opened his eyes, looked at the frightened Moses and said, "Thank you!". He turned towards Kesavan who was looking curiously beside Ashok, who was not interested in what he did. "Look at the backside of the house in the garden. You should find it there beneath a patch of mud". Kesavan nodded and the constables went to the backside to search. They indeed found the 12 pounds of gold in the backyard.

"See you Kesavan and Ashok", Kishore smiled and left. Ashok told annoyingly, "What could I do to get rid of him?"

February 16, 2010

The Police headquarters was filled with silence. No one bothered to speak. As Kishore entered the floor of the crime branch, he knew that it is not going to be a normal day. He passed his office and several offices to reach a door which read "Only Authorized Personnel allowed". It is the room where investigation was held every time. He was called to investigate this time. As he was about to enter the room, he saw Rhea, the beautiful young secretary of the office, seated in a chair. Her beautiful face looked pale and dull. It was clear indeed that she had cried for a long period. Her hair had been let loose and when she saw Kishore, she let a sigh of relief.

"Don't worry Rhea! I will make sure you get justice", Kishore said those words and entered the investigation room.

As he entered the room, he was welcomed by the stare of his several colleagues. Most of the senior officers were present. They wanted this investigation to get over immediately as it involved one of the big shots of the police department. In the middle of the room was a round table with several chairs around it. He saw the criminal in one of the chairs.

Kishore sat in one of the chairs and greeted the criminal in front of him. "Good morning Mr.Ashok!"

Ashok was looking down and didn't raise his head to meet his junior official, the man he hated the most. Now it embarrassed him even more that he is being investigated by him.

"Mr.Ashok, I know it is hard time for you. It is hard time for the police department as well. Investigating police officers of a senior rank like yours is not what we ever wanted to do."

Ashok still didn't raise his head and Kishore continued, "You, being a police officer yourself, know very well how cooperation from criminals would be very helpful. I guess you would extend your full support in helping with the case. I want you to remove your coolers and also your gloves and leave your hands stretched on the table"

That was the first time Ashok looked above at his fellow colleagues, helpless, and he, then, removed his coolers and gloves as asked by Kishore or a command in disguise as thought by Ashok. He, then, laid his hands on the table.

Kishore thanked him, held Ashok's hands in his and closed his eyes.

Kishore told in words, "How did it all began?"

Kishore could see the scene in front of him through Ashok's eyes. Rhea was standing in front professionally dressed and her hair neatly combed. She was sporting a professional smile on her face which flattered Ashok instantly. He later called Kesavan to appoint Rhea as the secretary instantly.

Kishore now asked, his eyes still closed, "You liked her but why did you have to do it?"

The scene disappeared and this time Rhea stood in front again with a different yet similar dress. She was controlling her smiles. She noticed a decorative red band in her right hand. Ashok couldn't help but notice it, "What is that beautiful red band doing in your hand?"
Rhea blushed and said, "Oh! Is it nice? Kishore gifted it to me"

Ashok thought, "Goddamn Kishore!" but just smiled and wished her a nice day.

Kishore said, "More!"

The scene disappeared again and in front stood himself with a big file in his hand. Ashok looked him through the shades. "You haven't finished the TN9431 assignment, have you?"

"No sir. I expect to finish it tonight"

"It is already time for you to leave for the day. How are you going to finish it by tomorrow? The report is due tomorrow"

"Yes sir, I am aware of that. Apologies. I am going to stay overnight and finish it", Kishore said softly.

"I am afraid you will need some assistance", Ashok asked in his usual plain tone.

"Yes sir. I got Rhea to help me with this", Kishore said looking down.

Ashok's facial muscles ached with anger. He thought, "This Kishore is trying to take away my girl. I am afraid he already has. I won't let you get away with it Kishore!"

He shouted at Kishore, "Idiot, don't you know that I got work to do? I want Rhea to help me! You take someone's help instead. Ask Ganesh to help you"

Kishore replied softly, "I am sorry sir but Ganesh has already left. I told Rhea as well. I can get her help when she is not helping you" and he continued with a smile, his hands stretched out, "We are going to be in the same office. So it would be easy"

Ashok thought again, "Idiot is trying to be smart. I will show him who is smarter"

Ashok replied, "No, I am not going to work here. I left the file in my home. Is Rhea there?"

Kishore replied disappointingly, "No sir, I asked her to go to her home for a break. She will be back in sometime"

Ashok said with a striking voice, "Ask her to come to my house directly. I am leaving now"

Kishore nodded.

Kishore opened his eyes, thought for a while, and said, "Finally, what happened?"

The scene disappeared and now he was in a house, probably Ashok's house. The house looked empty without anyone. The doorbell rang. Ashok got up, adjusted his tie, cleared his throat and opened the door. In front of him stood Rhea, strikingly beautiful. She had done a makeover. Her hair was curled and pinned into a pony tail;  she had applied dark eye shades to her eyebrows; applied light red lipstick; sported a red tube top and a black mini skirt. She smiled, wished Ashok and entered the house.

"So shall we get started?", Rhea asked with a smile.

"Not too fast young lady!", Ashok thought happily.

"No, not yet. Not before we have a cup of tea", Ashok said amusingly.

Not before long, Ashok brought two cups of tea. Rhea tasted one sip and commented, "I didn't know sir that you make wonderful tea"

"Ya I am indeed special in making tea. Most of the times…"

"Sir, can we get our work started. I need to return home early".

For the very first time, to an office person, Ashok couldn't express his grudge. He started taking out the files he wanted, talked for a while. After sometime, he couldn't resist, he claimed that there is a small insect on her cheek and informing that he would get that insect off her, she went close to her cheeks, held her head tightly before Rhea could react and tried to kiss her.

Rhea retorted to his actions and tried to get away from the sofa that they were seated on. She tried calling for help but Ashok instinctively caught her throat. Rhea choked and gasped for breath. Ashok took the opportunity to gain advantage but Rhea found the nearby porcelain cup and smashed it on Ashok. It didn't help knock out the big tough guy but it surely did help to get his hands off her throat. Rhea managed to free herself from him.

Ashok shouted in agony, "You liked me, didn't you?"

Rhea felt a burning sensation and just then, she realized that she had been scratched by Ashok in the process of attempting to get her. Rhea screamed out loud, ran towards the exit and escaped from being the victim.

Kishore opened his eyes and saw the eyes of Ashok. He had very small eyes for a big guy like him and it was surely frightened to an extent.

Kishore looked at others and said, "He is guilty. I will file a report by today evening and we can submit the same to the court tomorrow". He then looked at Ashok and said, "Thank you, sir, for your cooperation".

February 17, 2010

"I plead guilty", Ashok admitted in front of the group that had assembled, headed by a judge named Vikram.

Kishore and Kesavan were seated at the back of the court, both being calm and silent. They, for the first time, saw their boss almost weeping in front of the judge. The plea by Ashok would make it easier for the judge to make the judgement. The judge postponed the judgement to the next day. It was being wrapped up fast. They didn't want reporters to cover this story. As Ashok was taken back to the custody by the police, Kishore thought to himself.

"Mr. Ashok, I know you hate me. There is one thing you should know about me. I hate you as much as you hate me. I never liked working under you. I wanted to get rid of you more than the job of working under you"

"Unfortunately, I could never think of any way to get rid of you. You wore shades and gloves. It was impossible to get into your mind. But every man has a weakness. I found your weakness in the form of a lady named Rhea. Just then I knew I found my treasure"

January 18, 2010

Kishore entered the crime branch and in the reception found a beautiful young lady who started staring at him the minute he entered the room.

"I haven't seen you before, have I?", Kishore interrogated.

The lady giggled, "Yes sir, I am the new secretary of the branch. I am Rhea"

Kishore noticed from her eyes that the lady had a crush on him, "I am Kishore, Special Force". He looked around cautiously, then winked at her and said, "I work here".

Rhea giggled and said, "Me too!"

Kishore beamed, "Welcome to Crime branch!"

"Things were going normal until you started throwing too much attention on her. I realized that she stared hating you too! Happy news Mr.Ashok. That was when my plan began"

January 22, 2010

Kishore entered the crime branch, looked into Rhea's eyes. Her eyes talked frustration but couldn't get much information. He greeted her with a smile and suddenly looked at her hand, "Hey, Is that a new watch?"

"Ya Kishore. Have a look at it. She stretched out her hand"

Kishore accepted the stretched out hands, a gift. As soon as he touched it, he saw Ashok in front of his eyes staring at Rhea like a tiger looking at its prey.

"It is really good!", Kishore commented at the watch, "See you later or I will be caught by the crime force with you"

Rhea giggled much even after Kishore had left.

"Day by day, I noticed her frustration that she had whenever she came out of your office. She clearly never liked your indecent stares. I wanted to confirm this. So I met Kesavan in his office"

January 28, 2010

"Hey Kesavan, whats up man?"

"Tough day Kishore!", Kesavan said silently.

"That girl at the door, Rhea, she is hot, isn't she?"

Kesavan suddenly sounded enthusiastic, "Yes she is. Boss likes her. I wouldn't dare cross his path. She distracts a lot, doesn't she?"

Kishore nodded, "Absolutely!"

"Sometimes I would send her to your office just to gain information. Everytime it all talked about how uncomfortable she was in your room, how she hided it in her smiles. I also came to know one important thing. She started liking me more. She thought I was too decent than you. I used the opportunity"

Feb 2, 2010

Kishore straight to Rhea's desk while he was leaving, "Hey Rhea, wonder what it is?". He showed her a red band.

"Wow! It is a beautiful red band"

"Ya I bet it is. I bought it for my young niece. Do you like it?"

"It is awesome", Rhea gleamed, "How sweet of him! Always decent and nice unlike the sick boss", she thought

"It is working out", Kishore thought proudly.

"I guess you like it. You can keep it if you like"

"No Kishore, I don't want it", Rhea said half-heartedly.

Rhea couldn't hide her intentions and Kishore convinced her to take it.

 "I wanted you to know that Rhea likes me. That was why I gifted her the band. I was waiting for the reaction from you. Just as I had thought, you reacted the very next day. It was funny getting to know how she felt about you - Anger, hatred and how she felt about me - Love, admiration. I knew the time to strike was arriving but I didn't rush with it. I waited for the right moment to strike and I found it"

Feb 15,2010

Kesavan entered Kishore's office and told, gasping breath, "Kishore, have you finished the TN9431 assignment?"

Kishore replied, "No, I haven't. Whats up with that?"

Kesavan said, "It is due tomorrow. You are supposed to finish it today"

"Ya Ya, I am working on it. Should work late night"
"I bet you should. Boss is also working late hours tonight"

"He always wants to spend time with his family, doesn't he?"

"No, his family has gone out of town. He loves work, doesn't he?", Kesavan said proudly and left.

"Ya. Doesn't he?", Kishore smiled after he left.

He went straight to Rhea, "Hey Rhea, It is a tough day today. I have a big assignment to complete. Could you help me with it, if you are free?"

Rhea smiled, "Yes ofcourse! When? Now?"

Rhea was more professionally dressed than usual. Full hand shirt and pant with a tie was her day's attire.

"No, not now. Late hours today. Can you?"

"Yes sure", Rhea smiled and thought, "It is going to be a great evening! I wonder whether he has understood my intentions"

"Ok. That’s great Rhea"

Rhea was still thinking, "Does he like me or not? I wish it had been somewhere outside where I could do all possible to get him attracted to me"

Kishore smiled, left to his room and came back again. He didn't want to miss the chance.

"Hey Rhea, I suppose you want to take a break. Why don't you go to your house and come back at half past six?"

Rhea felt glad and left the office thanking Kishore.

"Half of my plan worked. She wanted to impress me. I am sure she would want to be attractive. I next entered your room. You made out the rest of the plan for me. You wanted her to work for you instead. All I had to do is to just call her at 6.15 and inform her to go to your home. Little did she know of your intentions. Little did you know that the dress was for me. Idiot Ashok, don't you know to look before you leap? I knew that I had set up the crime scene. With your dirty mind and her luring costume, I am sure the crime would happen."

"It indeed happened Kishore. Look at you, being taken away by the police. You always called me an idiot, didn’t you? Who is an idiot now?"

Feb 18, 2010

The judge gave the final verdict, "Since Mr.Ashok confessed his crime, it has made the case easier for me. He, being a higher rank officer, shouldn't have done the crime and it has brought shame to the Crime Branch. He deserves a big punishment. However,considering his huge service to the department and also because of no damage, as per the records, I hereby declare that Mr.Ashok shall be suspended for three months. Also, I order the Crime branch to depromote him. This would make him learn the mistake. The court is dismissed. Thank you"

A few weeks later

"What you did is a crime Kishore! How can you do it? Are you a human?"

He looked at her, her eyes dull demanding an answer.
"No Sarah, it wasn't my intention. It all just happened"

"It is a crime Kishore!", Sarah shouted, "It is a crime!". Sarah was crying out loud and she started running away.

Kishore shouted, "No!!!"

He woke up from his bed. He was lying in his room. It was a bright early morning. The sun had risen completely. It was so bright that it lit up the room with closed curtains. He thought about the usual bad dream.

Kishore thought to himself, "No Sarah, I never did it on purpose. We get the solution only when we set up a puzzle completely. Only then we have a clear picture of what is going on. If you don't set it up, it is worthless. I set up the puzzle and it came to life. It is not a crime Sarah!"

He looked down sideways. He found Rhea still sleeping deeply in the bed. He smiled at her and thought, "It is not a crime!"