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Short story: Red Umbrella

The bright smile seemed never fading. The message from last night is the reason. It had hints of her dreams coming true that was to happen by means of lock by a ring to finger. She checked her mobile for the quickest possible route and means of transportation to reach Trocadero gardens at Eiffel tower. She saw snowfall through the window which made her eyes and smile go wide. She adjusted her hair even though it seemed perfect for any normal person. She was normal until last night but not anymore. Her normalness was replaced by a crazy feeling for the guy who asked her to come to Eiffel tower with her favorite long boots, black coat, and with a red umbrella. It was what he remembered when he first laid eyes on her. She took her red umbrella as she walked out of her home. She imagined herself with him under the same red umbrella looking at the Eiffel tower from a distance. She arrived at the bus stop and checked the time. “Probably 50 minutes travel sparing 20 more minutes before 5” she said to herself.

Red umbrella
An evening in Paris

It’s his last job. He had his Glock 9mm semiautomatic next to the photo of the girl with red umbrella on which sun rays fell directly in his dark room. He leaned from darkness to light to look closer into the photo of the girl. His body leaned towards light, but his soul was still in dark struggling with conscience.  He had 73 kills in his career as professional killer. His last assignment was the girl in photo. First girl as target in his profession and final obstacle before getting into light. He was ready to quit his profession before accepting this job, but he couldn’t. Because the term to reach his light is to end light of his target. It is how his nature of job worked for people in that profession. His sharp look studied the smile of the girl and he asked for forgiveness in god. He determined to end the light for girl as he closed his eyes. A ray of light passed in front of him as he took his Glock and tucked in his belt as he stood to wear his jacket hanging from chair. He walked out of the empty room.

***

Only bottom half of the Eiffel tower was visible from Palais de Chaillot square on that snowy day. There were only few people who were witnessing this mesmerizing view of the Eiffel tower with snowfall. The girl with a red umbrella was one of them, standing next to the square which had the closest view of the Eiffel tower. she looked at her phone; “its 5!”, she said to herself. With a bright smile, filled with lots of curiosity and anxiety she looked all around the garden and saw only couples with umbrellas, or those taking pictures together. she was excited as she thought that she too will be soon under her red umbrella, with him.

In the corner of the square there was a café, and under the dimly lit light of the cafe, he stood holding his cup of cappuccino, in a hooded jacket. As he took a sip, it became cold as soon as it passed through his throat. His view of the girl’s face was blurred because of the snowfall, but her body movements clearly conveyed her anxiety as each second passed. He moved towards the steps on right side, towards Trocadero gardens. As he was observing her, a girl who was now looking at the Eiffel tower turned towards him. She saw his cold eyes and he saw her bright smile. people exclaimed “wow” looking at the magnificent Eiffel tower. Both turned to look at the tower.

On the snowy winter day as the sun set early in the evening, the glimmering lights from Eiffel started in the twilight background. Few people took out their cameras to take pictures while some were using their smartphones. Few people just observed it and these two were among them. Soon, glimmering lights stopped and turned into bright golden lights and there was a light beam from the top of the tower. He froze for a couple of moments as this moment ended. The guy took out his phone and sent a text. It said, “I see the light.” As he kept his phone in pocket he looked at her in anticipation for her to look back. Her phone buzzed, after which she came back to reality from the dreamy lights of the Eiffel tower. She read the message, and in shock, lifted her head. As she lifted her head, he took out his Glock and fired a bullet. Noise of the gun shot was suppressed amidst the hustle and bustle of the evening, and the Glock’s suppressor played along. There wasn’t much noise of the gunshot, but some people stared as the body started to collapse. Everyone nearby rushed to help, except her.  She turned away from the scene as instructed by her message. She was soon met with the kiss of her beloved, who had sent the message, “Hey! Look back!”. The light passed over killer’s eyes as he stared at the spectacular beam of light, radiating from the Eiffel tower.

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Valentine Gift

February 14th, the only day of the year, when the young generation’s world seems to be filled with lots of love, shared and exchanged with objects of heart shape and lots of posters and roses. Boys can be seen holding any one of these in front of their girls whose face may be blushing pink or bursting out red. But, it is also the day where singles feel for being lonely, or rather enjoy by themselves for not being part of the fantasy world filled with hi-fi, costly or stupid love!

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Raghu, a guy who loves being solo soul till he finds a right girl at the right time, spends his time partying and adventuring with friends. Swapna, an ambitious girl, is not ready for any commitments till she assures herself of a bright future with a good career in her life. Seema and Vicky are lovely and a strongly bonded couple. Raghu, Swapna, Seema and Vicky form the core of their group. Vicky, coming from a wealthy family lives in an apartment. Seema, a typical Muslim girl also lives in a flat next to Vicky’s apartment. People think Seema is in love with Vicky just because he is rich. But all she can think of is sharing and caring for Vicky who also has same feelings for her. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, Seema was so excited, as she came to know that Vicky was planning a surprise for her because of which, she could not stay on the ground. Sri was also a part of this group but only because he was in love with Swapna. He was being helped by Vicky, who was the only other person who knew about Sri’s love and his plan for a surprise event in which he would propose to Swapna on the day of Valentine with an ultimate gift.

Finally the clock’s all three hands joined to show 12’o clock to mark the Valentine’s Day. Thousands of messages and calls exchanged at that moment. Among this group, Seema’s is the only mobile to sound “Honey you got a message” which was the only source of light in her room. Seema who was so eagerly waiting for this moment picked her phone. With wide and bright eyes that reflected same amount of light produced by phone, she tapped on the screen to open a message “Happy Valentine’s Day” sent by Swapna, who almost stabbed her heart by sending the message before Vicky. Before her eyes grew red because of Swapna, they were covered by a hand. She tried to scream. But, even her mouth was closed by another hand. Her heart beat increased and eventually cooled down by a rose that poked in her cleavage. A warm breath next to her ear said “Happy valentine’s day, honey”. It was Vicky who entered Seema’s room through the balcony door using the key stolen from Seema’s bag the previous day and by jumping from her neighbour’s balcony to Seema’s. Since Seema was alone in her flat, Vicky managed to enter with the help of a newlywed neighbors who were aware of their love story.

“Stupid” was all Seema could say before she saw a red box placed in front of her as Vicky switched on the light. With lot of curiosity she took that box which had the words ‘To my life, a life’ on it. When she unwrapped and opened it, to her surprise a cockroach flew from the box with Vicky saying “Valentine’s day foool”. He vanished through the main door, leaving another box which was already open. There was a white rabbit with the name ‘SEEMA’ written on its red collar. Seema was still recovering from the previous shock and yet had another shock because of the surprise she was given. There were enough shocks for Seema who went to sleep to create her own fantasy world of love.

* * * * *

Vicky said, “Guys let’s have dinner at my flat today.”

“OK. But before dinner, let us go to a movie”, Swapna replied sitting on her moped.

“Hey, sorry everyone I have an important work to do so I can’t come to movie. I’ll definitely be there for dinner”, Sri said and left without waiting for other’s reply.

“Idiot. He’s gonna miss an awesome movie. Come on guys lets go” Raghu reacted.

* * * * *

“Hey, you should have seen Seema’s face when the hero died in the climax. Her eyes were filled with so much tears that one could swim on them. Hahaha!!!” said Vicky pointing towards Seema, all the while walking towards his flat in the apartment corridor with Raghu, Swapna and Seema who were close behind. They could barely walk. They were all very hungry as Vicky had made everyone starve since noon, as he had dinner ready for everyone at his flat.

“Oh God. Stop your story. I’m hungry. I can’t wait anymore. Let’s move fast”, Swapna told as she rushed past everyone to Vicky’s flat. Vicky rushed too, to open the door as Raghu and Seema were still behind. Raghu and Seema were talking very slowly that no one could hear them. There wasn’t energy in to speak out loud and there wasn’t energy in Vicky and Swapna to hear what they were speaking.

“Come on yaar, open the door soon”, Swapna urged Vicky. ”Here you go”, responded Vicky opening the door.

Swapna entered at a brisk pace and stopped in the same pace after a couple of steps, as she was stunned by the house lit by the candle lights everywhere, placed in a manner, making different signs and shapes at every corner, along with the red colored heart-shaped balloons levitating, pillows lying around a few candles and a table on which was a heart-shaped cake surrounded by light drinks. There were other drinks too, the aroma of which filled the entire room, and even the neighbor’s flat if, the door was open.

Sri, who was just a couple of feet from Swapna, was on his knees, on a heart-shaped carpet. He held out a ring and said “I Love You, Swapna.”

Those three words in that scenario along with the theme song of ‘Titanic’ movie in the background would have mesmerized any girl to fall in love with the boy on his knees, at least for that moment.

Seema who entered the house Following Swapna and Vicky screamed “Congratulations Guyz.” She hugged Swapna from behind and planted a kiss on her cheek and stared at Vicky, who was thinking “What is going to happen next?” Without a wink, Raghu stood at the door as if he was frozen suddenly due to heavy temperature drop. Everybody was waiting for Swapna’s reply.

Swapna, on whom the entire group was focusing, hid her face in her long hair, trying to avoid eye contact with Sri. Breathing heavily, she said, ”Ahh… Ahh… I’m sorry.

Suddenly the house became silent, although the song was still playing. Seema who was the only living being in that room till then froze and covered her mouth, thus covering the brightest thing in the room, and widened her eyes which were like almost filled dam.

Swapna continued, “Sorry Guyz, I should have told you long ago. Raghu and I are dating from past three months.” Taking a locket out that was hidden beneath her T-Shirt, she said, “He proposed to me a week ago.” Moving towards Raghu who, was idle from the start of the event, she continued, “I accepted and I Love him,” and thrust her hands and held Raghu’s arm tightly, which symbolically said ‘NO ONE CAN SEPARATE THEM.’

All the boys who were frozen till then became active as Raghu turned and went away holding Swapna’s hand and saying, “Will meet you all tomorrow.” Sri, who was on his knees, with an arm holding a ring pointing towards the door, collapsed as Swapna went. But he was rescued by Seema who, rushed to hold him, and both of them burst into tears.

The song that was playing in the background ended. Most of the candles were very bright as they were nearing their end. Vicky closed the door and was walking towards Seema and Sri who, were in the ground. Doorbell broke the silence of the evening. Vicky opened the door to a beautiful girl in black skirts, blushing and holding a red box. She hugged Vicky and kissing his cheek said, “thank you for the Gift. I was expecting this from long ago.”

Sri and Seema, who were together, were shocked. The tears on Seema’s cheeks evaporated in  fraction of a second, although Sri’s were still sliding, when that pretty girl left a confusion mark on Vicky’s face, who would see Hell .

BOBBY : THE STORY OF A STREET DOG

Years ago , when the new neighbours moved into the house next to ours, along came two dogs. Rossy, a German Shepherd breed and Bobby, a country dog in black with brown stripes all over. Out of curiosity I asked my mom

‘What breed is it?”

she replied ” Huli patte nayi (tiger stripe dog)”, for which my brother laughed. Then suddenly she continued by ending her previous line “isn’t it?”

It was actually ‘kanthri nayi’ as called in kannada language(‘nayi’ means dog whereas ‘kanthri’ means ????). Since I seen this dog only in India and not anywhere else, after little modification I called it ‘Country Dog’.dag

Months passed Rossy gave birth to 8-9 puppies among which we raised a puppy and named it ‘Tinkoo’ along with another puppy ‘Rocky’. As usual we went for walk in mornings and evenings. My brother with Tinkoo and myself with Rocky.

Once on a morning walk with rocky , my friend came with his dogs. There were three dogs , two of them were free and another was chained. Rocky sensed these dogs before I could see them. His hairs spiked and he was raging like a bull towards them  which had same reaction. As they came near their rage grew and Rocky’s too whose complete teeth was visible especially those canines. I tried to pull Rocky and my friend too. But I couldn’t as Rocky was furiously moving towards them who were coming close. Then came Bobby and stood next to Rocky. Joining Rocky’s side, he was furious at them. Next 30 – 45 seconds there was only” grrr, grrr” sound made by these dogs. Finally they ended only with their teeth exhibition. Thanks to Bobby, Rocky and others managed to go apart without any fight.

Another incident which makes me to write about Bobby was during the time when Rocky goes out unchained. At such times he never returns home for a couple of hours. But once when he was out with the chain still hanging in his belt, it turned out to be a miserable time. While making an adventurous run along the rocks of a small hill near our place his chain got stuck between rocks. Hours passed , but there was no sign of Rocky, which generally made everyone to worry. Finally my brother went out looking for him, but couldn’t find. He looked for Bobby who accompanies Rocky most of the times in his run. My brother observed Bobby walking here and there around the rocks. Thinking of Rocky’s presence, he went for a look. As he climbed the rocks, he saw frightened  Rocky stuck in the rocks by his chain making noise that actually sounded like crying for help. once again thanks to Bobby. If it wasn’t Bobby, we wouldn’t have seen him for days.

Few years later, our neighbours that is Bobby’s masters moved to another house, a couple of blocks away. I think this was Bobby’s difficult time as he was in dilemma to choose between  the two places. However for about a month he managed to stay at both places, but with a little difficult at new place. Since the new house was in an apartment, he wasn’t allowed inside. Therefore he stayed most of the time in the streets fighting other dogs and occasionally  in the parking area of apartment escaping security’s eye. Above all this, his master stayed only 2-3 days in their new house in a week. Because of this, he minimized his own allocated time at his masters place and started to stay longer in front of our house. Gradually he ended up staying here all the time which made us to care him who already considered us as his masters.

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Every day he took a morning walk with my father, evening walk with my mother or me who usually go for walk with Rocky. Moreover he always accompanied me to the shops or for a walk with friends and even for the long walks which I have occasionally.

At times when people asks, “Is this dog, yours?”

Without a second thought I always replied “yes”.

Not because he follows me or I feed him. It is because of that one thing every dog lover loves to see. Wagging his tail when I approach him and jumping in excitement is most amusing thing I adore in Bobby. Because of this affection I feed him with snacks whenever I feed Rocky and Tinkoo, not worrying about the quantity.

Although we feed him, we never provided shelter. Sometimes he took shelter in same place where he was, even though in presence of new neighbours who didn’t bother. But most of the time he spent the night in back of auto rickshaws that stands in our street after 9. And Whenever it rains he found his roof under the stairs of other houses, whose owners neglected his presence. Few others offered snacks brought for him only and as a gratitude he was faithful to all of them. Even their children talked to him.

“Hey Bobby, come here”.

“Hey give that biscuit to Bobby” are the few lines I heard often.

Thus he became pet to all of them and eventually pet to the whole street and so he got the name ‘Street Dog’. Not biting anyone till date and not allowing any other dogs to the street, he is the first to ask new faces coming to our street ‘Who are you?”