"Whatever has happened once, will not happen again..but what has happened twice is bound to happen for the third time..." - Paulo Coelho from "The Alchemist"

Once Upon a Time

The logs crackled to life as the fire mustered enough strength to break the barrier of the ignition point of the wood. The black darkness of the night bowed down as the flames started to exert their supremacy and gave them a little space from its inky domain as a peace offering.

A smile of content came to Kumar’s face for his efforts as he wiped his brow with a handkerchief. Even in these times of anarchy and destruction he made a point to hang on to the last threads of civilization. Cooked food, Hygiene, No eating by hand were some of the few rules he had been enforcing to be followed.

‘Bye Bye Cold.’ clapped little Jimmy and threw in some twigs and pieces of plastic in the blaze. The bonfire instantly started to produce foul smelling black smoke, as the plastic started to curl from the heat.

‘That is enough Jim.’ Rita scolded him and forcefully made him sit in her lap.

Jimmy tried to wriggle free but a 5 year old was no match for the strength of the 13 year old girl.

‘Listen to her Jimmy.’ Kumar chuckled, ‘or you know both of us would get into trouble.’

A deep hue of red started to spread across Rita’s face. Sure, she had scolded Uncle Kumar from time to time, but it was for his own good, she always concluded. Sometimes he got a bit carried away in his enthusiasm, like the time he had jumped in the over flowing river because Jimmy wanted to fish for dinner.

‘Uncle Kumar, story.’ Jimmy chirped as he settled smugly into Rita’s lap.

‘Okay.’ Kumar said. ‘Now I know I have really spoilt you.’ he teased them.

Suddenly, the lights dancing in the sky caught Kumar’s eye. Just as they had appeared, they vanished but with them they swept off the moment of peace from Kumar’s mind.

‘Thank God the kids didn’t see them.’ the thought flashed in his mind.

‘Uncle Kumar. STORY.’ Jimmy shrieked.

‘All right, All right.’ Kumar tried to calm his quavering voice.

‘Once upon a time in a land not too far away, there lived a King. He was a great king. Compassionate, Brave, Just and Loved by all. But he had a vice. A very large problem. His anger.’

‘He had a raring temper and used to get angry at the most trivial of matters. Once he burnt all the apple orchards in his kingdom because one of the apples he ate hurt his gums. His name was Aramis.’ Jimmy gasped, apples were his favorite.

Kumar continued as if in a trance. ‘Aramis had a huge kingdom. It sprawled from the edge of the frozen Blue Mountains in the north to the bank of the Black Sea to the south, from the golden wheat farms in the east to the red desert in the west. His stories of might and strength were the first defensive walls against any outside invaders. Kings from all around were so scared of him that they had all married their daughters to him in order to maintain good relations. People from all around were in awe of him and respected him, except for at one place.’

‘On the other side of the black sea there was another kingdom. A beautiful land, of rivers and trees, of exotic animals and birds, of people who in spite being a little violent in nature had a little goodness in them. They didn’t have good boats which would allow them to cross the black sea, so had no idea that there was also someone across the sea.’

‘The crown prince of the Kingdom was Jadey. He was a little reckless and adventurous in nature, always climbing the Blue Mountains in the North or taming the Wild Rats of the red desert. One day he decided that he would go and see what is on the other side of the Black Sea. As was expected, Aramis forbid him to sail, but being as stubborn as his father, Jadey didn’t listen.’

‘That night Jadey set sail all alone. He traveled for 4 nights and still didn’t see signs of the land. On the fifth night there was a bad storm in the sea. Jadey tried and tried but just couldn’t control his boat. It kept on going in whatever direction the sea wanted it to go. Jadey just kept holding onto the main sail of the boat for his life. Finally the storm subsided and his boat touched land. He got down and marveled at the flora and fauna of the land. He kept on roaming on the land and saw strange creatures. He was just tasting some yellow colored fruit and looking at a cow in amazement when suddenly the natives saw him. The natives looked amazed at the appearance of Jadey. They hadn’t ever seen a person like them. They took him down and took him to their King.’

‘Meanwhile, Aramis on finding out that Jadey was missing got very worried. He knew that he must’ve gone to the Black sea. He ordered his whole navy to go out and look for him.’

‘Months went past and so did years but there was no clue of Jadey. Aramis kept on getting more and more worried. Finally one day, one of the scouts reported that they have found the remains of Jadey’s boat on some strange land across the sea.’

Kumar broke from his trance and saw that the kids had fallen asleep. He took a tattered quilt and covered them up with it. He slowly got up and moved towards the edge of the cliff. For miles and miles he could see the wreckage of his once majestic city. Fires which hadn’t stopped burning for the last 25 years still ravaged the whole world and mutated animals now roamed the streets once bustling with humanity. Kumar saw what remained of India Gate still standing, bathed by the light of the Spacecraft hovering above it.

‘If only the Americans knew the alien they had captured was the Prince of that Planet.’ Kumar thought sadly. ‘None of this would’ve had happened. We could’ve avoided all the death and destruction. There would’ve had been no need for them to invade us’. His eyes welled up as the images of the horrific past crashed down onto his soul. ‘If only that son-of-a-bitch would’ve stayed in his own forsaken world and not come to earth.’

He turned his back to the destroyed world and threw some twigs in the weakening fire.

The Knight in the Shining Armor

He lifted his head as an act of defiance. The face which loomed into his vision was nothing more then a blurred blot. He focused his red swollen eyes and struggled to engrave that face in his memory, just in case if the future gave him a chance for the payback of this predicament.

In the past hour, he had already swallowed half of his teeth and puked out most of his breakfast. By now, he also had a pretty good idea what Mohammed Ali’s punching bag must have felt like.

‘So,’ the garlic smelling voice filled the room. ‘Are you going to be a good boy and tell me what I wish to know or you still want to enjoy my hospitality a little longer??’

He could feel his heart thumping against his rib cage and the numbness of his shackled limbs. A cold chill ran through his spine as all of his common sense told him to quit and spill the beans but instead he forced his bloodied and bruised lips to form a smile and said as coherently as his swollen tongue and crushed gums allowed him to, ‘FUURRCCK YAAAHHHH.’

He could never figure out what hurt more, the punch that broke his nose or the kick that ruptured his spleen. In fact, he couldn’t even remember what followed what. But at that instant he was sure that he wasn’t going to get out of this room alive.

He wasn’t scared or sad. Death was part of the job description. He waited for the clichéd show reel of his life to start playing in front of his eyes but instead only the images of his parents flashed before his eyes, with the feelings of regret in tow.

He regretted not thanking them enough for bringing him up so well, specially his father for installing so much belief, confidence, courage and all the other values that molded him into the man he is today. He hoped his father wouldn’t be much distraught with his death. Being an ex-army man himself he would understand why his son had to die. Wasn't ‘Duty onto Death’ had been the motto of his force.

The backhand slap across his face brought him back from his musings. He re-tasted his own blood and coughed violently as he tried to breathe in some of the stale air.

Suddenly, someone kicked open the door. The blare of the sunlight caught them both, the torturer and the tortured, unprepared. For the next 3 minutes both of them were blinded by the light but they did notice a figure entering the room.

He clenched his eyes in pain but heard the two shots fired at close range. With the ray of hope in his heart he opened them again and saw his torturer lay dead near his feet with two neat holes in his chest.

He saw the figure of his savior move towards him and tried to mumble his thanks for saving his life.

The figure kneeled down. There was something very familiar about him, the smell, the way he moved, but his numb mind refused to make the obvious connection.

Just before he fell unconscious he heard his father’s soft voice in his ears.
‘No need son. After all, what else are fathers there for?’


This one is for my Dad. Had written it for his b'day on the 21st but couldn't edit it properly till today. A bit late but well he would understand I hope. After all that's what fathers do best. Love Ya Paa

Yours Truly.

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Like a true gemini i've got a multifaceted personality. can't write about each of them so one will have to discover through the layers