Sunday, November 28, 2010

I, Barry

This animation film is based on the story The Pink Slip originally published on Storywheel. It has been adapted for film.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Image Credit: Tracey Holland, via Flickr
Stella picked up the ringing phone.

“This is the head nurse from the hospital. We have completed the procedures. Your husband is stable now. You can come in this afternoon to visit him.”

“Thank you.”

Stella hung up the phone. The nightmare has ended. She felt a great sense of relief.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Perfect Plan

Image Credit: Splatter by jain7th, on Flickr
t was just like any other November night in Pudhupettai. The tea stall was busy with about a half a dozen men standing with half-full glasses in an animated discussion about state politics. There wasn’t much of traffic on the road. The vehicles that did pass through carefully avoided the small puddle on the side of the road from the previous day’s rain. Kasinathan and Sridhar stopped at the stall.

“A pack of Wills cigarettes…” Sridhar asked the shopkeeper.

Kasinathan looked around, studying the place.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Accomplice

Image Credit: betsystreeter, via Flickr
here was a steel table in the center of that room without windows. A bright light hung right above the table. He sat there, waiting. Two men stood near the door, outside the room.

“There is no smoking inside. He is allergic to it.” Reddy held the door obstructing Sridhar’s way.

“Oh… ok!” Sridhar took three quick puffs, put down his cigarette and extinguished it. They entered the room, closing the door behind.

“You think we can make him do it?” asked Sridhar.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Ninth Prime

Image Credit: 23rdian by bitzi☂, on Flickr

he ambulance screeched to a halt in front of the emergency care entrance at the St. Jude Hospital. The paramedics and nurses wheeled in the patient hurriedly into the emergency room. The unconscious man must have been around thirty years of age, profusely bleeding from a head injury.

The ER doctors started attending to him within minutes. He was promptly put on drips and connected to the monitors. A nurse extracted samples of blood for testing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Image: Light Post Before The Storm by Darren Larson, on Flickr
adhumathi was in the kitchen. The TV news was on. The weatherman who gets his share of limelight whenever a cyclone forms over the Bay of Bengal was giving his opinion. The city was going to see a heavy downpour. Cyclone Dimple would make landfall this evening. The Meteorological Department did have a sense of humor—in naming cyclones, of course.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

D is for Diabolical

he restaurant wasn’t too crowded. Prabhu sat with her at a corner table sipping his coffee while she slurped the milkshake.

 “So, the policy will be issued for two crores?”

“Yes, I know that our underwriting department has cleared it last week and the policy was mailed out yesterday. You should have it on hand either today or tomorrow.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Existential Argument

aman was getting late for his work. His wife Janaki gave him a cold stare as he hurried up and finished his breakfast.

“I don’t know why I am doing this.”

Jaanu, not again…”

“Don’t you Jaanu me again!”

“Look, you know how it is at the institute. We are this close to making an important discovery!” He gestured as he knotted his tie.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Great Indian Blogologues: Yours Digitally, Madras - reviews

Starring: Manasa Vasudevan, Vidyu Raman, Hariher Balasubramanian and Gayatri Khandadai
Not in picture: Naren Weiss, Joel Nigli

  • A teaser video from IndiBlogger for the final Nov 13th 2010 show!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A review

Wow! I didn't expect this. Storywheel is listed as one of the "43 Must-Read Short Fiction Blogs" by

One of the most important tasks a new writer must take is to explore the works of various writers, both past and contemporary. In the electronic age, with the rise of the webpage and downfall of the magazine, writers have taken to posting their new works online. From novelettes to short tales numbering fifty words or fewer, blogging writers take the important art of the creative word to new limits. After viewing hundreds of excellent blogs, we have noted the top 43 links, with a brief summary and interesting facts about each. Read and be inspired.

From Guide to Art Schools
Thank you!

Friday, October 29, 2010


t was a cold December night. The rebels gathered at the dilapidated building in Kotturpuram which used to be one of the world’s largest libraries in an earlier era. The children were led to an enclosed hall for night school while the others discussed their survival strategy for the next few months.

“We need the armory to ramp up production. Our ammunition stock will be depleted in three weeks,” said Pandian.

Vegas, baby!

harlie Ferris had a splitting headache thinking about how he landed unconscious in the men’s room of that Chicago bar. The restroom was empty. He walked up to the mirror. His suit was crumpled and his shirt had patches of blood. He lifted it up to reassure himself that it wasn’t a stab wound. His jaw was sore. He wiped the streak of dried blood from the left corner of his mouth.

He splashed cold water on his face, looked at himself in the mirror and tried to recollect the events of the last few hours.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love Signs


I walked in to the coffee shop.

She was sitting at a corner table with a John Grisham novel in one hand and a cappuccino in another. That was the first time that I saw her. I didn’t know what to call it, but just looking at her made me feel like I was walking on air.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Collateral Damage

aghavan was in the meeting when his cell phone beeped once to signal the arrival of a text message. He looked up at his manager who was making a presentation and he figured there was at least another thirty minutes of his monologue left. He slid back in his chair ever so slightly to glance at his cell phone without attracting the attention of others in the room.

When are you coming back? Call me ASAP. Anju.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


he year was 2052. Manoharan was the Mayor of Chennai city. The Coovum river that was at one point considered beyond redemption due to the city’s drainage being diverted into it for a large part of the twentieth century had been successfully reclaimed 15 years ago. One could travel from Arumbakkam to the Marina beach in a speed boat in less than ten minutes.

Monday, October 18, 2010


ranz von Papen, the Military Attaché at the German Embassy in New York was at his desk that morning. He held the paper to the candle flame as orange flames engulfed the letter. He held it up for a few seconds before dropping it into the dustbin. It confirmed the arrangements for shipping the guns to San Diego.

John Devoy, the Sinn Féin’s powerful ally in North America, had put his assistant Joseph McGarrity on the job. McGarrity had ensured that the guns would be taken from New York via an Irish-American steamship to Galveston, Texas and from there to San Diego by rail.

Franz von Papen smiled to himself.

Friday, October 15, 2010


t was early morning. The milkman had stopped at the next door neighbor when Sivaramakrishnan was tying the laces of his running shoes. He walked out through the picket gate and closed it after him. The December dew dropped from the avenue trees that formed a canopy over that suburban street. He started jogging towards the park and reached it in three minutes.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


njali stepped into the elevator clutching her purse in one hand and a coffee cup in another. She smiled at the girl in the elevator who worked in the display advertising section.

“You look fabulous!” said the girl.

“Do I? I thought this outfit made me look too skinny…”

Anjali tried to hide her happiness beneath the matter-of-fact expression on her face.

“Busy day?” asked the girl.

“Looks like it. I am going up to attend the stand-up meeting with the editors.”

The elevator stopped at the next floor.

“See you later!”

Anjali stepped out and walked towards the conference room.

* * *
“I just got a call from the office of The Commissioner of Police. There is a press conference at 11.00 AM. It looks like they have made an arrest in the Kamini murder case.” Editor Sridharan, a man in his early fifties, paused and looked around the room.

Kamini was a leading actress. That was until she was murdered a week ago. Her body was found in the hotel room with multiple stab wounds.

“That’s an hour from now!” remarked Anjali.

“Yes. You will take the lead and cover the interview as you have been on this case for the past few days.”

“Ok. I am on my way out. I will call back as soon as I find out.”

The rest of the people in the room got to the other news items for the next day’s issue.

Anjali walked out of the room with her scooter keys jingling when her cell phone rang. It was from Prashant.

* * *
“We have solved Ms. Kamini’s murder case today. We have arrested Mr. Prashant, son of the general secretary of the ruling party.”

All the journalists clamoured to ask questions.

“I will take questions at the end. We have strong evidence to tie Mr. Prashant to the murder of Ms. Kamini.”

The Commissioner continued with the details of the investigation. Anjali wasn’t there at the press conference.

* * *
Prashant wasn’t just any ordinary man. He was the son of the general secretary of the party in power at the state.

Anjali was just getting out of the conference room when he called her cell phone.

“I am in deep trouble, Anjali!”

“Why? What happened?”

“I am being arrested as the prime suspect in the actress Kamini murder case! I am being framed!”


“Yes. You and I know that this is ridiculous. But I think there are people inside and outside the party who want to take me down with this murder allegation.”

Prashant was a rising star in the party. If everything went well, he was poised to take over the reins of the party from his father.

Anjali knew Prashant right from college. They were friends first and slowly it had morphed into an intense relationship. Over the years, their relationship had changed hues, especially after Prashant’s marriage. The marriage was a political convenience that Prashant’s family wanted. Prashant and Anjali continued with their secret affair. Anjali was fine with the nature of this arrangement and had no qualms or sentimentality attached to it. The only thing that she cared about was keeping this affair under wraps.

“They are saying that the knife that was found at the scene of the murder has my finger prints! Ok, I have to go. The police are here!”

The call ended.

* * *
Anjali knew that Prashant was innocent. She was his alibi. On the night of the murder, Prashant was with her. There was no way he could have committed the murder.

It was clear that she had to come out of the closet in order to save Prashant. She decided that was the right thing to do. She will meet his father and let him know. He is a senior party leader. Maybe he can do something to save his own son.

* * *
“You want me to believe that my son has been having a secret affair with you for many years!”

“Yes. That is the truth.”

“Did anyone from the opposition party put you up to this to tarnish the image of my son and family?”

“Sir, the only reason I came here is to make sure that your son doesn’t get framed for a murder that he didn’t commit.”

He clutched his heart and winced in pain. His chest heaved and he fell to the ground, dead from a massive heart attack.

* * *
The entire editorial team and correspondents were gathered around the table. Editor Sridharan cleared his throat.

“Do we have the photographs of all the people?”

“Yes! Everything is ready.”

“Can I see the article draft?”

Politician’s wife shoots reporter and kills herself.
OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT, Oct 5, 2010–Leading state politician Prashant’s wife killed newspaper reporter Anjali who was covering her husband’s murder case. It may be noted that Prashant was arrested yesterday for the murder of actress Kamini…

* * *
Anjali was shocked to see Prashant’s father suffer a massive heart attack right in front of her eyes. That’s when she noticed Prashant’s wife with a .22 Magnum revolver in her hand walking towards her.

“Here’s a newsflash, dear! Prashant was seeing that golddigger Kamini. When I found out, I decided to get rid of her and punish Prashant as well by framing him for her murder. I got his fingerprints on the murder weapon when he was fast asleep after a few rounds of whisky. I am sorry I have to do this, but I cannot tolerate this infidelity!”

She shot Anjali and then pointed the gun to her head.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


he year was 1983. It would have been a very ordinary summer afternoon at The Fritz Memorial Home for the Elderly except that one of its residents had passed away a few hours ago. The nurse dialed the chief doctor to let him know about Bernard Mickelson’s death. Bernie as everyone called him was a long-time resident at the home and must have been more than 90 years old.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Bicycles

“You promised me that you will get me a bicycle when my summer holiday starts. Are you going to get me one?” asked Kumar. Raghu glanced up from the newspaper to look at Kumar who was busy on the computer playing a Street Racer video game.

“Yes. We will get it today!” said Raghu with a matter-of-fact expression on his face.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thank you!

Today, Storywheel got its 100th fan on its Facebook Fan Page. I am very happy that the reader base has grown from 62 on May 1, 2010 to 100 in such a short time.

Thank you all for your support. Happy reading!


PS: If you haven't already, grab a free eBook containing the 21 stories published so far!
PPS: I better get back to writing as it has been almost a month's hiatus...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Announcing Free PDF eBook: Storywheel - Vol I - Issue 1

Dear readers,

Storywheel has been live for more than 4 months now. Here are some impressive statistics:

·         Went live Dec 11, 2009
·         21 Stories published till date
·         62 “Fans” on the Facebook page
·         A reader spends on average 3 minutes and 36 seconds on a page
·         Top 3 sites referring traffic are
o 16.4%
o 12.6%
o 11.0%
·         The maiden IndiRank on IndiBlogger is 65
·         23 shares on Facebook by readers
·         31 regular RSS feed subscribers
·         73% Male / 26% Female
·         81% of readers in the age group 25-44
·         Top countries
o   India
o   US
o   Switzerland
o   UK
·         Top cities
o   New Delhi
o   Mumbai
·         Most comments received
o   Ego
o   Literati

In celebration of all my friends and loyal readers, I am giving away a Free eBook of the first 21 stories that were published on Storywheel. You are free to do almost anything with it except releasing it in book form. Go on and print some copies, if you like or forward it to your friends. Click on the Storywheel Logo in this post or the link below it to get the Free PDF eBook!

Thanks for your support and Happy Reading!

Best regards,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Journey

he Egmore railway junction was teeming with people. Madhumathi was catching the night train to Tiruchirapalli. A departing train sounded the horn and the announcer on the public address system cautioned the passengers against thieves.

Madhu walked the platform looking for her coach while trying to manage the olfactory assault on her senses—a pot pourri of smells that was a combination of the stench of urine from the tracks, of fish from large baskets that lay on the side of the platform and body odor of hundreds of sweaty people who walked haphazardly. An eatery made brisk sales of idlies and dosas. A group of eager viewers were watching the news channel on the television that was showing the news about the swamiji and his carnal escapades for the last few hours.


he instructor stood near the driver of the bus and clapped his hands. There were about twenty people in the bus including Suchitra and Anand.

“Attention, people! Welcome to The Great Smoky Mountains here at Tennessee and thanks for choosing Bill’s whitewater rafting. Have any of you done whitewater rafting before?”

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Pink Slip

Update: This post has been updated with the actual story. Click here to jump to the story.
This is a placeholder for a story that I have finished and submitted to a writing contest. I will publish the story once the results are announced. Tick Tock Tick Tock... 
[My story, The Pink Slip has been selected for the Living Your Passion Writing Contest. If you are on Facebook, please join the Living Your Passion group and vote for my story. You can vote after reading the story and clicking on the "Like" link or leaving a comment. Your vote/comment matters. Thank you.] 
I will be posting the story here after the contest results are announced.

And then he took out his gun, aiming at her head…

Sunday, April 4, 2010


The police control room was busy. Agent Bhagavathy picked up the call that landed just a seconds ago.

“Thank you for calling emergency services. How can I help you?”

There was a woman at the other end. She complained of her husband who had gone missing. She started crying as she spoke.

Friday, April 2, 2010


veryone was stunned when Prakash announced his decision. There was utter disbelief in the room. His sister Priya was the first one to speak.

“Are you out of your mind? My marriage is in November. Are you even going to be back by that time? What if you don’t come back?”

“Priya, that is not appropriate. Prakash, do you think this is realistic?”, asked dad. There was genuine concern in his eyes.

“Appa, you know me. I have made up my mind about Annapurna. I will be away for the next six months. That is unavoidable.”

His mother walked up to him and said, “Prakash, you were born five weeks premature. Everyone said that you won’t make it. Your father used to feed you with a tube and syringe. Look at you now! You have made it this far. We trust you. We are not worried about you and Annapurna. Our wishes and prayers are always with you.”

“Thanks Ma!”

Priya shook her head in disapproval. Prakash pulled her and kissed her on the forehead, “Hey, don’t worry. I will be back in time for your marriage.”

* * *

Prakash got down from the bus with his backpack and a hand luggage. The area was teeming with people. He walked up to the tent that was set up for registration.

The girl at the registration desk was wearing a lavender jacket. She looked up and removed her ear muffs.

“I am Prakash and part of the blue team.”

“Okay, let me see here…”

She ran her finger down the list of names on her clip pad. When she found his name she looked up and said, “Welcome to base camp! Do you have your gear?”

“Yes, I do! Have the other members of my team checked in?”

“Yes, they have. You are the last one to arrive. They should be in the blue tent that you see over there…”

She pointed in a direction where there were a cluster of tents. Behind the tents stood the majestic Mt. Annapurna, one of the most dangerous mountains for climbers.

“Thanks to our sponsors, we are offering a free pair of climber shoes for everyone who made it to base camp. What is your shoe size?”

“Well dear, I won’t be needing them… I always have them specially made for me!”

Prakash pulled up his trousers to reveal his pair of prosthetic limbs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


he school year was coming to a close. Balu had just finished his Eleventh Standard and the summer holidays were going to start in two days. He was walking in the corridor adjoining the principal’s room when he saw a girl waiting with her parents. She looked very familiar.

Balu stopped to take a second look at her. He couldn’t recognize her, but his instinct said that he had seen her before.

Three months later when the school reopened, he found that she had joined in the Eleventh Standard. It hit him like a ton of bricks. It was Suji! How could he not remember her?

* * *
It was the last day of their Fifth Standard. Balu and Suji had been sharing the bench from class two onwards. Suji’s father got a transfer to Bangalore and they were moving after this school year. It was the last day that they both were going to see each other.

Suji got better grades than Balu consistently and he hated that! But he could not do nothing about it all these years. Other than this sense of competition, they both were good friends.

As they walked out of the school, Balu felt an unexplainable feeling in his gut. They reached a fork in the road and it was time to say good bye.

“All the best… and good bye!”

Balu and Suji parted ways.

* * *
‘Ha! It is Suji, after all… But wait! What is she doing in the Eleventh Standard? She must have lost a whole year. Or maybe they couldn’t get admitted in Twelfth and chose to lose a year… That doesn’t make any sense… She must’ve failed a year! Yes, that it. The Great Suji has got her comeuppance.’

Balu was smug with satisfaction. He even felt that he was flying in the air.

That last year that he spent in school, he never spoke a word to Suji. She was beneath his status... she had flunked a year! When they would cross paths in the school corridors, Balu would avoid eye contact with her. He was busy with his studies with the single aim of getting into Engineering and never spared a second to think about Suji.

* * *
Two years later the classmates had gathered to meet over a weekend. Balu was doing his Engineering as he always wanted. They all talked about the various escapades during their school days—getting caught for plucking mangoes from the only mango tree left in the school that was built in the location that was a grove at one time; dissecting a garden lizard near the badminton court; leaving a dead rat on the shelves; stirring a mutiny of sorts when the cricket team was announced (and later getting ‘the treatment’ from the very strict vice principal). It was all fun and frolic as they shared past experiences.

The evening was getting to be a very memorable one for all. That’s when one of them interjected, “Did you guys hear about Suji? You know, the girl who used to sit next to Balu until Fifth grade. She also rejoined a few years ago one year junior to us…”

“Yeah, what about her?” Balu asked nonchalantly.

“She died! Cancer, they say...”

“What?” Balu couldn’t believe what he just heard.

“She lost an entire school year in treatment. All of that in vain… May she rest in peace!”

That night, Balu cried. But, he never forgave himself.

The Flu

ayatri and Raghu were waiting for their appointment with the doctor. Their daughter Shruti had been complaining of cough, cold and body ache since last evening. There were two other young kids in the waiting area with masks on.

A newspaper lay on the coffee table in that waiting area with the headlines “Swine Flu: Many city schools closed as precaution”

The nurse called them in.

The doctor examined Shruti. “When did the symptoms start?”

“From last evening, doctor. She has been complaining of body pain, cough and cold.”

“The symptoms are indicative of H1N1. I will prescribe a test. There are only three places in the city that are authorized by the government to collect samples and perform the test as of now— The Government Hospital, Chennai, The Communicable Diseases Hospital at Tondiarpet, and King Institute at Guindy. Private hospitals will not admit H1N1 cases until the government issues a directive.”

Shruti looked up at her parents. Gayatri and Raghu were worried.

“There is a private lab that can also do a test. They have also been permitted by the government to collect samples just recently. You can also try that out.”

He handed over a prescription for the tests.

* * *
There were a steady stream of people coming into the Healthtech lab. A small temporary room was created outside the main lab to collect H1N1 samples.

The medical officer at the lab walked up to Gayatri and Raghu.

“Are you sure you need the H1N1 test to be done. We need to speak to your doctor and confirm this. Do you have his number? I am sorry we have to do this because there is a serious spike in requests for H1N1 test requests!”

Raghu gave him his number. The medical officer returned a minute later after speaking to the doctor.

“Please give a throat swab sample. There are two tests that we will do. The first one is only an Influenza A or B discrimination test. If it is Influenza B, it is not Swine Flu. That test costs 250 rupees. The H1N1 test is done with an experimental kit from Korea. That will cost 5000 rupees.”

“Would you need a separate sample for that?”

“No. We can do that with the same sample that we collect now.”

“Okay. In that case, please run the A/B discrimination test and we will decide on the H1N1 test.”

They paid the cashier. They were asked to come back at 5.00 PM to collect the report.

* * *
Raghu collected the report that evening and opened it to see what it stated. It came out positive for Influenza A. He met the medical officer and asked him to do a full H1N1 test, paid the cash and returned home. The report would take 24 hours.

The doctor had already called Gayatri before Raghu reached home. He had enquired about Shruti’s health and wanted to know how the testing went.

Raghu called him back to update that Shruti had tested positive for Influenza A and they had asked for the full H1N1 test to be done.

“In that case, I suggest you also give a sample at the GH, CDH or King Institute. Which location is convenient for you?”

“We will go the King Institute doctor.”

“Okay. King Institute is only the collection facility. You will have to go to GH or CDH for treatment.”

“Thanks Doctor!”

* * *
Their car entered the service road that led to the King Institute, Guindy. It was 7 PM. There were people streaming in even at that time. The institute’s sample collection center was open 24 x 7. There were signs that directed them to the screening location.

They were asked to fill a form. There were at least 20 other families waiting.

A panel of doctors examined every patient. After a few minutes of wait, it was Shruti’s turn. Raghu and Gayatri went in. They showed the Influenza A positive report from the private lab to the doctor. She wrote a remark in the form, directed them to the sample collection center and said, “Please ask the technician to prioritize this case.”

Gayatri and Raghu walked a hundred yards to the collection center. There was a door with a biohazard sign that read “H1N1 samples collected here”

The lab technician in a clinical mask collected a throat swab from Shruti. Raghu showed him the report and the doctor’s remark on the form and requested him to prioritize the case. The technician made a red X mark on the form and added it to the top of a pile of forms with red X marks on the top right corner.

“It will be 24 hours. You can collect the report tomorrow at 8.30 PM.”

“Are you sure about that?”

“Sir, we used to get less than a 100 samples each day two weeks ago. Today, we are getting 3,000 samples a day. King Institute is where samples from all over the state are being sent for analysis. We are stretched, but you will get the report. Please come back at 8.30 PM tomorrow!”

* * *
The family walked back to the car. On their way they saw the office of the Head of virology. Gayatri said she would like to meet and speak to him.

She walked into that building.

The Head of virology was in the middle of his staff meeting. The institute was doing three shifts and the load was going to increase in the coming days. He stopped when he saw Gayatri at the door.

“Yes. How can I help you?”

“Our daughter is unwell and we came here to give a sample. She tested positive for Influenza A. We are really worried. Will we get the report in 24 hours? I hear that we need to start treatment within the first 48 hours of onset of symptoms, if it is H1N1. I am really worried.”

“Ma’am! Please don’t panic. The report will be ready tomorrow. You should come here at 8.30 PM and collect it. The reports will be dispatched from here.”

* * *
The next 24 hours were a great ordeal for Gayatri and Raghu. Shruti was quarantined in the bedroom and all family members wore masks.

Raghu worked from home and sent a note to his office colleagues asking them to seal and sanitize his cabin as a matter of abundant precaution.

That evening Raghu and Gayatri left to the institute to gather the report. The grandparents were watching Shruti.

The dark night lent eeriness to the institute. The roads were illuminated by street lamps. The screening center was closed. Anyone who was coming in to submit samples were asked to directly go to the sample collection center.

The office of the Head of virology was open and the lights on. But there was no one in the office. A motorcycle was parked outside. Raghu and Gayatri waited there for a few minutes. Each passing minute increased their anxiety.

Just then, a staff member arrived in a bike. He had gone out to buy dinner. He parked his vehicle and walked towards the couple.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes. The Head of virology said that we need to come here to collect the report.”

“When did you submit the sample?”

“Yesterday… We were told to come and collect the report today.”

“Let me check. He is probably at the back of the office having his dinner.”

He went to the back and returned back a minute later.
“He is here. He will be with you in ten minutes. Can you please wait?”

The couple waited. Finally, the doctor emerged.

“What is your child’s name?”

“Shruti, 9 yrs old.”

“And you sir?”

“You would have received a call if there was anything to worry. Did you get a call?”

Gayatri and Raghu looked at each other. “No doctor. We did not get any call.”

“Ok, good. Let me check the computer. Give me a minute…”

He came back a minute later with a paper in his hand accompanied by the staff member.

“Here is the report. It is just common flu. Don’t worry. She will be alright in a few days. Follow your doctor’s advice.”

Raghu and Gayatri heaved a sigh of relief. They thanked the doctor profusely and headed out of the institute. The street lights appeared to shine brighter.

DISCLAIMER: Although this is a story based on actual events, this is a work of fiction. All characters depicted in the story are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Trip

aghavan had one message from the Med Center waiting for him in his inbox. He knew for sure that it was bad news and dreaded opening it. He left it unopened for a while and went about his morning chores. Half an hour later he sat down for his breakfast. He had finished half a toast when he stopped eating, pushed his plate away and walked towards his computer.

He opened the message. It was bad news as he had predicted. He was going to die in 5 days. The Med Center had fixed an appointment for him in an hour to discuss.

* * *
The chief doctor at the Med Center had explained the situation to Raghavan.

The uneasy silence between them was broken by the doctor’s secretary who peeped in and said “Trasportation Services is on line 2!”

The doctor picked up the handset. He must have heard some very good news because he almost jumped from his seat. He profusely thanked the person on the other end, looked at Raghavan and rubbed his hands together unable to contain his excitement.

“Son, get ready to travel. You are going to meet someone very special.”

* * *
Raghavan was onboard the TTX2. He wore his favorite dark blue suit, a new white shirt, a silk tie and silver cuff links. He had a dossier marked CONFIDENTIAL that was given to him when he boarded the vehicle. The dossier contained information he was not aware until this moment—There was a version of himself alive in a parallel universe and he was going to meet him!

The Time Travel Express departed on schedule.

* * *
Raghavan did not know what to say. He felt very awkward sitting before someone who looked exactly like him. On second thoughts, he was probably overdressed for this occasion meeting his other version who was dressed in a round neck tee and shorts. He wore dark glasses and seemed to stare at the horizon, except that he was blind. He had a small scar an inch above his left eyebrow.

“Do you know that Transportation Services has never allowed someone to travel on these grounds before? Although you and I are genetically identical multiple versions that spawned from a single spacetime event, we are different because of the environment in which we grew in… and I am going to die if I don’t get a bone marrow transplant. You are a natural match and Transportation Services made an exception on humanitarian grounds.”

“I am sorry to hear about your condition. In my universe, I have had a lonely life. When my parents—our parents—took the decision to make that trip that eventually led to your creation, I was orphaned in this universe. I grew up missing a lot of things that you probably would have taken for granted. ”

“You do understand that I did not know anything and had no part to play in that decision, right?”

“I know!”

He was silent for a few seconds and then said, “I will do it. But, I need a favor from you!”

* * *
They were waiting for their train when a well-dressed young man in a dark suit, white shirt, silk tie and silver cufflinks approached them. He was in a hurry and was not wanting to be noticed.

“I am Raghavan, your son from the future that you are going to create.”

The couple was shocked. Raghavan’s mother started crying unable to bear the revelation and the insanity of the situation. His father was trying to pacify her.

A few seconds later, the train arrived.

“Why did you take this decision?” asked Raghavan.

“We were supposed to go back in time before you were born and take care of the defect that caused him to go blind through genetic engineering at the right time. The scientists told us we had to leave him here since we were going back in time when he was non-existent!”

Raghavan thought about what he was going to say.

He said, “You need to abort this plan. Get back home and take care of little Raghavan. He needs you more than I need you or the two of you need me!”

His parents left the station, thanking him in their minds for saving them from a big blunder they were about to commit.

Raghavan sank into a bench on the station and loosened his tie. That’s when two agents from Transportation Services came to him and said, “Mr. Raghavan, you are in contravention of time travel rules. We are taking you into custody for deportation proceedings!”

He looked at his watch which showed that he still had three days to live. 

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