Fire in a hand…

Fire in a hand, embers in the other,
Looking for the spark, time has smother.

Trust in the left, deceit in the right,
Longing for love, nowhere in sight.

Dreams in an eye, reality in the other,
Quest for life, really does bother.

Hope in the heart, fear in the soul,
Aiming for all, but the goal.

Fame and riches beckon, Purpose questions,
What you desire begets, albeit it shuns.

What good is it, the world at your feet,
Whence it’s eyes, you cannot meet.

Fire in one hand, embers in the other,
World is all yours, to burn and smother.


The Believer

I stood at the door of the cemetery, a little scared, a lot nervous and apprehensive. Will I find the truth today? Everyone had been telling me stories…but I have always found them hard to believe. Maybe today, I would get to know about my origins….if only I see her here. That’s what they had said.- if you see her here, it will all come back to you. She had been seen at the grave most every single day. I shook my head and dismissed all weird thoughts from my mind.

Pushing the old rickety door, I moved on, and weaved my path across the maze of graves to the very end, searching for the one that mattered. And I gasped….there she was! Just as they had told me. Sitting beside the grave, her stare fixed on the tombstone. A chill passed over my spine, freezing me to the spot.

Suddenly and swiftly, like an eagle pouncing on a prey, she turned and fixed her eyes on me. For a second or two our eyes locked, before she looked away, staring back at the grave, as if I wasn’t there at all. The eyes, haunting, piercing, and protective at the same time, That was when it all came back to me! The story of my origins, my being. How we had met…how we had fallen in love…how we had vowed to stay together for the rest of our lives….how I had broken it by driving my car over the cliff in a state of drunkenness, and how she still was keeping hers.

I turned around, and left as rapidly as I had come. “There isn’t anything I can do now, except to believe…and I am a believer.”

“I come here every day…I sit in the same corner beside the grave, and put my hands on the same spot on the marker. If you look closely, you may even see the tiny impressions that my hands have made on the stone… over three years of chafing have started to leave a mark…my mark on the grave.
People think that I am mad, stark mad. Yes, I am mad…mad in love with him….his passing away has not changed it, even a bit. I believe he is still around somewhere, and will come back. Oh how much will I give to see a bit of him…to talk to him….to hold his hands, to look into his eyes, to relive the life we had, even for a moment, I will do anything for it. If he reaches out to me, somehow and calls out to me, I will do anything for him, to be with him. I am even ready to believe in the afterlife, if only he-…”

“Wait, what was that?!! I feel something…I can sense it….his body odor. Strong as ever, lingering in my senses. It can’t be! I don’t see him anywhere! Wait! I feel as if I am looking into his eyes…. what’s happening, my vision is blocked. What is that light??? Its moving away from me…Is that him? I have to stop him, I have to! Three years ago, I didn’t, even though I had the chance to….on that fateful day…this time I will…”

I sprang to my feet, and raced after the fading light….

“Doesn’t matter what anyone says, I am a believer now…”

the eye of the beholder

He was tasked with cleaning the hate graffiti on the walls; little did anyone know that it was splashed all over the linings of his heart.

“You don’t have a right to practice religion”, they said, yanking her hijab off, religiously unfollowing the religion of humanity.

“Stop sending girls to school; they are only meant to be groped and grabbed”. Ironically, these grow up to grope and grab most of the so called ‘manly’ issues of the world; and, of course not get accredited for it.

“Plunge the world into hatred based on color once again”, shouted his supporters. A little confused boy innocently wondered: Before dispersing through the prism, isn’t the multicolored light, monochromatic? Are we not all born from the same race?

“It’s a symbol of good luck and prosperity”, exclaimed one. “No, it is evil and hatred”, rasped the other. They were both looking at the swastika.

Fire in a hand…

Fire in one hand, embers in the other,
Looking for the spark, time has smother.

Trust in the left, deceit in the right,
Longing for love, nowhere in sight.

Dreams in an eye, reality in the other,
Quest for life, really does bother.

Hope in the heart, fear in the soul,
Aiming for all, but the goal.

Fame and riches beckon, Purpose questions,
What you desire begets, albeit it shuns.

What good is it, the world at your feet,
Whence it’s eyes, you cannot meet.

Fire in one hand, embers in the other,
World is all yours, to burn and smother.

The Usual Suspects

img_2474The usual suspect 1:
“April, 13th 2015 will be the greatest day of your life!”
Yes what a fucking great day! I swear I could just kill the clairvoyant with my bare hands, just the idea of having succumbed to his prophecy….God Damn it! Screw it…screw him! Freaking bum – all is lost.
Tears started flowing down my eyes, sliding off my face, they slipped over my collar, streaming towards my heart.
My heart Kia, the only woman whom I loved and for whom I started this venture – “Ki & Kia” – for her to be happy ever after. To woo her again, to get her back to me…to bridge the chasm between us, a small gap that had slowly widened into a canyon. I, or rather we had put everything on this deal, a gamble that was sure to pay off, it had been predicted. Of course, by the one and only Oracle – the clairvoyant. Oh why! You damn Oracle! Why had you to be wrong this time! I should have known better than not to have the deal closure meeting on this day! The fucking greatest day of my life. ‘Ki will be reborn on this day!’ Heck No! Dead I am! All is lost…what will I say to Kia – my Kia – she is sure to leave me now…our partnership broken – Ki and Kia separated – the company dissolved…Shit!!
Taking a deep breath I rang the bell to the apartment. The door flung open instantly, and there stood Kia – my Kia, just like I had seen her all those years ago – full of life and energy. She failed to notice my demeanor, and shouted, “I knew it! The contract had to get signed today. I am glad we picked April the 13th, after all Oracle did mention that it will be the greatest day of your life.”
I wanted to scream, “No Kia – there is no fucking contract – Trump backstabbed us – we are screwed.”
But I flashed a grin, and continued walking towards the bar. In her enthusiasm, she overtook me, picked a champagne bottle from the ice bucket, popped it open and filled up two flutes, each with a ‘K’ engraved on it. The blue K for me, and the pink one hers.
A souvenir from Nice….ah Nice….it seemed like ages ago… our last happy vacation…
As if remembering something, she got up and walked to the kitchen. “I forgot all about the hors d’oeuvres, I will be back in two shakes, honey!”
Aghast, I picked up a glass and drained it off and proceeded to refill. What should I tell her, how should I fucking tell her that all is lost?
“Honey – should we raise a toast?” She asked, looking closely at the flute glass on the bar table she picked it up and clinked it against mine – “Cheers for a new life to us Ki and Kia.”
We both drained off the champagne.
I have to tell her now, regardless of what happens I have to tell her the truth…
Suddenly Kia fell gasping on the floor, foaming at the mouth, kicking lashing out…”Help help help me Help me Ki…Ki..Kieth help me Kieeeth….”
In my stupor, I thought I was hearing things, then in a frenzy the face of Keith Trump loomed before me, replaced by Kia’s indifference at my arrival, transforming into her closely inspecting the flute glass. I looked at the glass in my hand…its pink K was staring at me as if trying to reiterate:
“April, 13th 2015 will be the greatest day of your life!”

The Usual Suspect: 2
At the very first bell, ringing and indicating that my anxiety and apprehension had reached a zenith, I opened the door hurriedly. There he stood a little lost and perhaps a lot sad, rather pensive. Ki, the Ki whom I had loved many years ago…now a distant ghost of my past. A lost light in his eyes.

Wake up Kia, a voice shuddered from within me. “What is he doing here? He should not have made it back.”

Before I could recover, he was already on his way to the bar.

Hurriedly, I beat him to the bar, popped the champagne and poured it out on the glasses already laid out and ready. My confused mind still trying to get a handle on things, my mouth making small sycophant talks.

Excusing myself to bring appetizers, I tried to recompose myself, “Think, strategize what should you do, Kia! Maybe you should continue with the plan, the consequences would be similar. Keith failed in his, you should continue with yours.”

When I was back Ki already had a glass in his hand.
God no! I looked at the glass on the table, the pink champagne illuminating the pink K, heaving a sigh of relief, I raised a toast for our future, and gulped it down.

There was an explosion inside of me, as if a wrench was squeezing my heart and pulverizing my lungs , tightening the grip with every passing second. Air, I need air what’s happening…I need air…
Ki Ki Ki Keith help me…

That’s when I saw him, Kieth, he was standing in the far corner of the room, white and pale, like an image projected on the wall. In a bolt, the image raced towards me….
Hahaha so much for cajoling and planning this with me…only to poison me in the end? Sorry your husband beat you to it, choking me to death in my own office, can you believe it? And now somehow has turned the tables on you. Ironically, It somehow still turned out to be the greatest day of his life!

The Usual Suspect 3:

Damn I am late!! Fuck fuck fuck…I should already have been at Kia’s place…like fucking half an hour ago! Fuck everything would have gone according to the plan…hopefully she would have executed Kieth by now, who was supposed to have taken care of her husband…what an ingenious plan…a plan within a plan…absolutely brilliant!
And now we will be together…the two of us. With all that money in her name…ours in fact…and a bright future! We will retire to Belize, and spend the rest of our lives….
Fuck get out of my way you imbecile bastards! This fucking traffic jamn!
Screw this! I am dumping my car and walking the rest of the way…we will take Kia’s car and pick this one later.
Finally I am here, I won’t ring the bell, and will slip in using the spare one Kia gave me….

What the fuck!! What happened here…Kia no! Kia
Kia Kia …

And there is her husband staring coldly at me! What the fuck is he doing here! OMG fuck the whole plan has gone fucking haywire! What in the hell happened here…

I pulled out the Mauser and pointed it at him.

He laughed,” Go ahead…pull the trigger, end it. I don’t want to live anymore Kia is gone and there is no one else I want to live for. Come on don’t hesitate…prove that your prophecy is wrong, Oracle! Go on! I was a fool to keep on believing in your prophecies since I was a child…as is your prophecy is wrong…this has been the worst day of my life so far! Kia gone, and my hands stained with blood… I don’t think I can….”

Blind with rage I shoved the gun in his face. “Stop talking you cunt…fuck don’t you see it’s all over…Kia gone there is nothing to live for anymore…”

Before he could do anything…I turned the gun and pulled the trigger…

I feel at peace as I fall twitching at his feet…maybe I will be together with Kia again…

Maybe this will be the greatest day of my life, instead ??


The child within

Enjoy the child that you once were, a part which still lies in your heart, and maybe a bit of which will always stay with you, against all the sanity of the world…

Children are the empty vessels in which adults fill their poison. – Salman Rushdie
We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear. – Nelson Mandela
In spite of everything I still believe that there is goodness in the world. – Anne Frank in ‘The diary of Anne Frank’
Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate. – Anonymous
If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children. – Mohandas Gandhi
There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children. – Nelson Mandela
We (adults) are mere ghosts of our past, seeking illusions of the future, unfortunately forgetting the present. – Victor Truth
If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand up for much. – Marian Wright Edelman
Teach (then expect) a child to do the right thing, always, and he certainly will. – Victor Truth
It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it. – Frank Warren
No one has yet fully realized the wealth of sympathy, kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. – Emma Goldman
In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt, as injustice. – Charles Dickens

Vijay Dinanath Chouhan…Chapter 3


Chapter 3


Today, a new teacher, Ayush joined the hell. He seems very young, but I do not like him. He has a weird smile. Saala, looks like a bhadwa, a pimp. He tried to act very friendly, especially with the girls.

Vijay visited me tonight, patting me to sleep.


Yesterday we had a new year’s party for the first time in the orphan house. Ayush bhadwa, actually turned out to be a decent guy. Not as chutiya as I thought him to be. We put up lights and danced to Hindi cinema songs. It was good, we also got tasty food. Some of Ayush’s friends from outside also came. They danced with the girls, just like they do in movies. And then they also took some girls out later.

The girls did not return until late.


Some of the girls were very quiet today. I asked them what happened. They seemed scared and walked away. As I was writing Vijay appeared. I told him about the party and the silence of the girls.

He said,” Maybe they are sad that the party is over. They must have enjoyed it. But, you seem to be happy.”

I was.

We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear. – Nelson Mandela

Visarjun of Qurbani (Letting go of Sacrifice

And someone asked Him “Please speak to us of Qurbani (Sacrifice).”

Thus He spoke. ‘It is not their flesh nor their blood that reaches Him; it is your piety that reaches him.”

And then they asked Him “Please speak to us of Visarjan (Letting go).”

And He spoke, “It is not only- my trunk, my head, my torso and limbs (one by one) that you are abandoning; it is your senses and faith.”

“Instead you should Qurban the Visarjan and do Visarjan of Qurbani…”

“One should not live by rituals and religion, albeit these should make one live…”

Agitated….they moved on to find another Messiah…

Vijay Dinanath Chouhan…Chapter 2


Chapter 2


My back hurt a lot. Everyone was fast asleep in the big room. However, I was the only one sobbing, crying silently. I couldn’t sleep with the artwork of headmaster’s cruel cane splashed on the canvas of my back.  I can never forget it.

I had kept pleading with the devil, “Please sir. I am still hungry after the small serving. How will I grow?”

“Grow? You want to grow? And become what?”

A few more lashes fell on my back…

I begged, “Please sir I am sorry.  I don’t want anything, please stop.”

“That will teach you and all others a lesson. Be grateful I haven’t banished you to the dark room.”

Suddenly I felt a hand on my head, caressing my hair shushing me. My mentor had returned.

“It’s OK. Your words scared the master. Believe me. You will soon become a hero.”

He smiled at me. It made me forget some of my pain. Maybe this was what parents do…Somewhere in my mind, the notion of parents was replaced by Vijay’s image.


I do not ever remember my parents or for that matter, anyone else in my family. Since what seems like an eternity, I have been in this orphanage. Madarchod! I wonder how homes are like. They always show them nice and loving in cinema – family, toys, food and clothes. Sadly, I will never know.

At times, I really hate my life. Luck is fucked up. At least, mine is. How else could I have ended up being an orphan and landed in this hell?


Today, we went for the community Ganapati visarjan…the immersion of the Ganesha idol. Although I don’t believe in God, I like the dancing and had lots of fun. Vijay, the street artiste, was dancing all the way chewing his paan.


Some boys in the orphanage are weird. Today I saw Vazir and Ranga take a girl and go in the bathroom. Don’t know what they were doing. I didn’t want to know and left.

Children are the empty vessels in which adults fill their poison. – Salman Rushdie

Vijay Dinanath Chouhan…memoirs of an angry young man. Chapter 1


Chapter 1


Life sucks.

I hate this place. I hate everybody here – the teachers, the peons, the workers…all of them! Especially the headmaster. Only person I like is Hari sir.

We are always reading-learning-working. And then there are the beatings. They do not need a reason here to torture kids.

I wish my parents were alive. Then I would have stayed with them instead of this hell of an orphanage. They would not have hit me like the master and other people in this wretched place.

Every night, tears wet my pillow, lulling me to sleep.


It was announced today that we will only get one serving for lunch and dinner. Everybody was pissed off. But what could we do?


Pakya and Yousuf are my best friends. We try to stick together and be as happy as one can be here. They sometimes give my candy and other stuff. Do not know where they get it from. I asked…they just laughed at me.


Today was great! Pakya, Yousuf and I sneaked out at night and watched “Deewar” at the theatre. Yousuf’s uncle works as an usher there, we just sneaked in.  Maa Kasam! I swear what a movie! Nothing like I have seen before. What anger…what a storm. This new hero full too rocks! I wish I could be like him! Pakya told me that another movie of his –‘Zanjeer’ – was also great. But that was released two years ago; I may not get to see it.


The entire last week – each and every night, we snuck out to watch Deewar. I adore it!  Watching him makes me think I can overcome every obstacle and abuse thrown at me, forget my sorrow, my tears, the orphanage, myself…everything.


I am ten years old today.  Hari sir wished me. He is the only teacher who sympathizes with me and cares for me a bit. Pakya and Yousuf gave me two vada pavs and a kalakhatta sherbet. I love them! We then went to watch ‘Don’.


Yesterday was very special. Hari sir gave me a slice of cake that I shared with Pakya and Yousuf. In the night, as I walked in the big sleeping room and laid my straw mat, he was there. In a blue docker’s shirt, rope on his shoulder, a stub of beard on his face and fire in his eyes.

“Vijay,” I shouted in excitement. “What are you doing here?”

“I came to wish you on your birthday. And to tell you that in this world you have to fight for your right. You have to ask for it.”

“Will I get it?” I asked timidly.

He shrugged his shoulders. “You may or may not. But at least you will not sit and watch like a coward. You have a right to ask for your rights. Stand up for yourself.”

I stammered, “But, will you be my side?”



I was very nervous the whole day. I couldn’t muster courage to ask during lunch. At dinner when we were all lined up to get to the food station, I saw him again. Calm and still, behind the servers. As I approached the server he got up and stood behind the server. The server dropped a ladle of daal in my bowl and two rotis in my plate.

His burning eyes scorched through me, “Aur maang Vijay! Ask for more.”

Automatically, my mouth opened and the words I had been dreading to utter the entire day, sprouted out.

“Can I have some more, please?”

Please sir, can I have some more? –Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist


Vijay Dinanath Chouhan…dark memoirs of an angry young man.


Prologue Chapter


I was in Mumbai, researching for my current novel, when this torn-old-with-age-dirty cloth backpack came in my possession, with its unique resident – an old journal. Immediately, I flipped through it, browsing the contents, trying to understand what it was.  Intrigued by the crude-in-your-face-writing, I sat down to read it from the beginning; and, as a matter of fact, did not put it down until it was finished. However, the premature ending left me craving for more; an intense urge to figure out the fate of the protagonist burned within me. That’s when I decided to track down and get to the bottom of the matter. Which I did it!  Though dark and disturbing, I felt a compelling desire to tell the story.

My first instinct was to novelize the story. However, I felt that presenting the journal as a memoir would do it more justice; keep the voice of Vijay alive. Additionally, there were quite a few gaps in the diary, at times for weeks, months even years. At such times, I have taken the liberty of filling the voids with my imagination, calling out such sections as authors excerpt. Furthermore, wherever I felt the translation would not have the same impact, I have left the original text (Hindi) intact.  I had to tone down some of the crude and abusive language, also reformat and chapter the diary (adding years covered in the chapter title and quotes from other authors). I may not have not been able to do full justice to the memoirs, but believe me I couldn’t have presented it in its original condition.

An author is always supposedly in charge of his book, the literary universe he creates. However this time, it was the protagonist Vijay all the way…he guided, probed, questioned, and finally enlightened me.

It is hard to imagine that a person like Vijay would write down a diary of sorts.  Yet he did. Perhaps, he drew inspiration from one his mentor’s role (in Anand). Regardless, his story was captured and begged an audience – an unbiased one.  Here are the memoirs of Vijay…who went on to assume the name of Vijay Dinanath Chouhan. Please read it with an open unbiased view and judge for yourselves whether he was right or wrong; though bear in mind: sometimes there is no clear right or wrong, things aren’t always either black or white.