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 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

vijay_silhouette-2

Chapter 3

HAPPY AT LAST IN THE ORPHAN HOME 1980-1981

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

vijay_silhouette-2

Chapter 2

GROWING UP IN THE ORPHAN HOME 1978-1980

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

vdc_title_cover-2

Chapter 1

LIFE IN THE ORPHAN HOME: 1975-1978

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?”

“Always.”

*****

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.

vdc_title_cover-2

Prologue Chapter

AUTHOR’S POINT OF VIEW

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.

Sallu: Bucking the trend!

Buckle up for the news of the day!!!. Buckling under mounting pressure, the high court of Johdhpur, India, declared Salman free of buck massacre. It seems that he was only a “bali ka bukra”. He was making no pretense to pass the buck, however the buck passed away on its own, brooding over a cup of Starbucks. This decision has overjoyed Sallu’s supporters from White house to Buckingham palace, with even Buckrak Obama shouting out “Buck Up Sallu!!!”
But his critics have been left cringing, calling it a stinky buckvas decision, with many positive that Salman has given some bucksheesh, in fact bucket loads, to the court, to swing the decision in his favor. Some even saying that if Sallu were given a buck for every controversy that he has been involved in – bucks would definitely be extinct, and Sallu, a bucking millionaire.
Regardless, of this ‘buckbuck’ in the background, Sallu has been granted life membership in All-India Buckchod group as the chief buccaneer.

Never a dull, De!

Lots of guys criticized Ms Day. Here I am using her own work to give it back!!! After all every dog has its day!!

Our athletes are great! They work day and night without enough support, whereas De, when free from her socialite evenings thrusts her efforts only on starry nights and sultry days!
Her comments are exactly what they seem to be. DEragotarily DEbased SpeedPost musings coming from a deranged mind, needing some serious debunking. On second thoughts, I think she has a strange obsession at shooting from the hip, taking snapshots from her selective memory to make baseless statements. Small Betrayals like this undermine the effort of our athletes, surviving men and sisters that give their best on any given day, (eh and what has De given??!) I am sure India will overcome Shobha at sixty to become a Superstar India!! For this the sports ministry needs to support athletes like a Spouse, encouraging them to bring pride and glory to us. Then, it will be all shobha, and never a dull day!!

(This blog has titles of 15 De novels, hopefully you have fun finding them ;))

 

Blame it on Rio!!!

“Son son!!! Listen to this!!India have finally won a medal.”

Pappu, eyes glued to his phone screen: “Mom, this better be good, I am just abt to catch Pikachu! I don’t need any pokes at this time, mom”

“God darn it son – We have won a medal at Rio! I have a strategy at how we can leverage it to our party’s advantage, your advantage…”

“Now you got me, Mom.  What is it?”

The Mom begins in all earnestness “We can say that you were very supportive of the wrestler, and saw potential in her from the beginning….you saw this coming….”

“What wrestling??? We won a medal in wrestling?  Big deal!!! That’s the national sport of India…Indians love wrestling….we wrestle when others want to do something better, we wrestle to keep others behind us, and we wrestle everything.  Look at our party members they are always fighting each other….”

“Shut up Son! Wait look here Kejriwal has already beat us to it! Damn it!”

“Huh!!?? What is he saying now?”

The mom read, “Rio: Blame it on Namo says Kejriwal.  Ha that’s funny! We can say instead – Rahul says “Rio – Gimme More.”

Pappu, eyes widening with lust:  “Ooohh Demi Moore…Rio…Blame it on Rio!!”

“Shut up Son – this isn’t another of your sleazy striptease sessions….this is history and I want to be a part of it. I won’t be demied….er I mean denied!! I will work on the statement.” She thinks for a moment, and adds happily, “This also gives us a chance to slam the Cheeky Ms. De who in turn slammed our athletes.”

Son, in astonishment, “Who is this De?”

“Attaboy!!! That’s the spirit!! Indeed who is she? I like your sarcasm.”

“Huh???!!! No I am serious, who is she?”

“Son – shup up before I strangle you!”

“I will go back to capture my Pokémons”, surrenders the son in dejection.

Mother has a frown on her face….”Dang what was the name of the wrestler….”

At that moment Pappu jumps up and lets a war cry, “Mom, forget Pikachu….I have captured SAKSHI…a rare pokemon!!!!!”

————————————————————————–

Thank you Sakshi!!! Sincerely enjoying and appreciating your feat and medal, before politics, bureaucracy, media, jokes and articles like this take a chunk off of it…