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Short Story 3: Power Cut.

Wind was roaring like a ferocious lion attempting to enter the apartment via the small opening b/w two sliding transparent doors; that stood b/w the warm cozy 75 F interior and the cold darn 0 F exterior. Vijay was seen comforting on his soft spongy bed, had no idea what the day had to offer him. Sudden flash of light entered his relatively dark room and woke him up. As usual flipped opened his laptop to take a look at the time, realized that it was out of battery searched for the power cord but it was inserted to the laptop. It felt a bit strange seeing his laptop’s battery dead as he never ever removed his power cord and his laptop always ran 24/7.

He then reached for his mobile, the only other source of date and time in the house it showed 10:10 am with its battery indicating low. Plugged the phone to charger and it wouldn’t charge. Still in the state of sub-conscious gazed through the window to see his car submerged upto the wheels in the heavy snow, it felt like dream land everything covered in snow. He needed cricinfo to charge him up, did everything to power his laptop up, switched chargers, switched ports nothing seemed to work, and finally realized that their building had a power outage.

Vijay felt like an INDIAN batsman entering an unknown territory of pace and bounce in Australia, he had entered the unknown territory of blackout. Even though he had been through the power-cuts in his native country; he felt lost and didn’t know what to do, as he had never experienced this situation in this country before. Back in his country they had candles, emergency lamps, flash lights as backups; he had nothing close to any of those at his apartment.

Suddenly he felt hungry and the whole idea of skipping dinner as part of weight loss didn’t feel good. He took out the milk gallon from the refrigerator poured it into his mug and placed it in the microwave as he did every single day. He pressed the magic button (the add 30 sec button) and wouldn’t respond as it needed Benjamin Franklin’s electricity. For the first time in this country he was proud of his kitchen as it had gas based burner, other apartments had electric ones; he turned the knob of the burner to auto-ignite, heard the click but nothing happened; it took him five attempts to realize that auto-ignite ran on power. How ironical, power is needed for something that is an alternative for power. He felt like driving on the wrong side of the one-way street.

He needed some form of fire to ignite the burner; for the first time being a non-smoker pinched him very badly, atleast he would have had a lighter and with the absence of mini-temple eliminated the oil-lamps and hence matchstick. Suddenly the picture of his good looking neighbor smoking in the balcony struck his mind; he always hated smokers, especially women smokers. “Wow she smokes, thank GOD she smokes, long live smokers” were his words, how ironical `long live smokers!!!`.He had lent her sugar one day now it was her turn to lend him fire or something that produces it. Stepped out of the apt and entered the hallway, it was pitch black dark, walked to her apartment and knocked her door.

In this country since guests call before they come in, the host generally knows who is coming to their apt, so when someone knocks the door, the first reaction is ‘who the hell is it?’ that was exactly what he heard from inside. ‘Your neighbor next door’ he replied, ‘coming’ was the reply. No sooner she opened the door ‘can I borrow a matchbox’ he asked in a very low tone. He had a problem talking to women especially the good looking ones; prettier the women lower was his voice, a problem similar to Raj Kootrapalli of Big Bang Theory sitcom fame. Without uttering a single word he picked up the matchbox nodded his headed back to his apartment.

When he stroked the matchstick against the matchbox to create fire and ignite the burner he had goose-bumps; he felt as delighted as Tom Hanks in CAST AWAY, though the later had used stone to ignite a spark. Milk began to boil and the aroma of BRU coffee filled his eyes with tears as it reminded him of the coffee house at his native. Poured steaming coffee into a cup and started sipping it, gazing through the balcony. He now had enough caffeine and sugar in his body to survive the entire day.

Short story 2: Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan

Last minute into the World Hockey Championship PAK leading IND 1 to 0. Kabir Khan was marching his team forward gets hit by the opponent player and topples over. Referee whistles & IND get penalty stroke. He held the hopes of entire country, his hockey stick & scooped the ball aiming over the goalie, but the misses he goalpost by a foot and IND lose the game 0 to 1. Kabir can’t believe that he missed such an easy shot, the shot which he had mastered over the years. As a fact of sportsmanship Kabir shakes hand with a PAK players and was captured by camera & is printed on the main page of the next day’s news paper. The issue blows out of proportion and Kabir is treated as a Traitor.

Vijay the last batsman walks with 3 runs needed of 3 balls for his team to qualify for the finals. His eyes lit up seeing the full delivery outside off stump; muscles it over the covers ball lands just behind the fielders & scampers for 2. Scores were level, out came the cry from the dugout, run for everything, non-striker take a start; he walked upto the non-striker and punched his fist against his and took a fresh guard. Instead of focusing on the bowler the memories of AUS-SAF WC 99 semi-final lingered in his mind. He swung blindly and missed the ball completely so did the keeper, the scene where Kabir Khan kneeling with head down and hockey stick in this hand was witnessed when Vijay rather than scampering for a single was found on his knees with head bowed down. He neither heard the cry from the non-striker nor abuses and swears from the angered dug-out as he was in a state of mental block ; He actually recreated AUS-SAF WC 99 semi-final.

7 years later Kabir Khan took the challenge of coaching the Women’s Hockey Team for the World Championship in-order to restore his lost pride. Scene shifts to the penalty shoot-out where INDIA lead AUS by 5-4. Australian striker attempts to lob the ball over the goalie but Vidya Sharma (Goalie) stood still between the ball & the post. There is sudden silence in the stadium, entire Aussie team was in tears but the victorious INDIA girls were jumping in joy. Emotional Kabir Khan is seen in tears, it was more than match to him; the scene where he watches the INDIAN flag shining high & “Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan” playing in the background told the whole story. The tag of traitor was off his back.

Vijay is seen practicing his trademark straight-drive in the dug-out and was sunk in the memories of scoring a straight boundary over the bowler in the last over of the finals that he played a month ago in a different city & for a different team. Tension prevails in the dug-out; yelling and swearing continues, entire team was aware of Vijay’s heroics of scoring boundary in the last over and they were hoping for a Déjà vu. Last man Vijay walks in with the intention to take the monkey off his back; which was tagged onto him for a year now. The term “he did a Vijay” had become infamous. Two things were in his favor; bowler was bowling full and there was no long-off fielder. He just stood outside his crease and didn’t take guard this time and shut his mind off and focused on the bowler.

Bowler speared in a full length delivery and as a natural instinct his foot went to the pitch of the delivery and with high elbow swung through the line of the delivery. The meaty part of the bat struck the ball and he watched the ball pass the boundary with a couple of bounces. Out came the entire team in joy with captain literally lifting Vijay off the ground. He was their hero of the day.

Vijay was happy that the monkey of finals was off his back and felt exactly like what Kabir had felt when Vidya saved the goal for INDIA, he had tears in his eyes. And the background music “Maula Mere Lele Meri Jaan” kept playing in his mind.

Note: The character Vijay is purely fictional, and has no relevance to living or dead.

Short Story 1: Spring Break

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