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A Forgotten Tale

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Many years ago, there was a small kingdom in the hills. It was like any other kingdom, but for one difference – the drinking water for all the people was taken from a single reservoir.

One fine day, the king had an argument with the resident magician, and ended up insulting him in public. In his fit of anger, the magician swore revenge. That very night, he went to the water reservoir, and emptied a vial of magic potion in it. The next day, when the people drank water from the reservoir, they all became slightly crazy. As the days passed by, their craziness increased gradually, until it reached a point when no one remained sane – not even the king.

However, three businessmen in this kingdom had their own wells in their backyards. As they had not drunk the reservoir’s water, they remained in control of their senses. But this posed a new problem, for the common people now considered these poor fellows as insane. After all, they were starkly in contrast with the rest of the population, weren’t they?

Soon, these three found it increasingly difficult to fit in. Suffocated, they realized that they had do something about the situation, and that too, very fast. They searched high and low for the magician, planning to beg of him to restore the kingdom to sanity. But the magician was long gone. Defeated, they sat down outside his deserted cave. In the distance, they could make out the approaching mob. Time was running out.

Finally, one businessmen announced “I can’t stand it any further. Let’s go and drink from the reservoir. Come with me.”

But the second businessman was unmoved. “Do you mean that you will compromise your integrity, your values just so that you can blend in with a bunch of fools? I am sorry, but I cannot make myself do that. Here, take the deeds to my estate, and give me the jewels in your pocket in return. I will go elsewhere.”

The bargain concluded, the second businessman stood up and gave a long look at what had been his home for so many years. Then, he turned around and started to walk towards the neighboring kingdom. Separation was painful, but he had already gained all that he could here. It was time to move on.

After he could no longer be seen, the first businessman spoke to the third. “Come, let’s go drink from the reservoir. Or are you planning to leave the kingdom too?”

The third businessman was silent. After a length of time, he spoke. “Like the second fellow, even I am not willing to compromise my integrity, my values. But my deals here are not concluded yet. So I will stay. You go ahead and drink from the reservoir, I will only pretend that I have done so. Once my deals are through, I will leave the city too.”

Saying this, he stood up, and started walking back towards the city.

Hiatus… or is it?

May 20, 2010 1 comment

After almost a year and a half, my personal life is in shambles once again. I won’t go into the details, but suffice to say that I have been having a constant headache for the past two days. Oh yes, and my blood pressure stays elevated too.

Will everything be OK again? Only time will tell. There’s about 20 days to go.

In case things don’t work out well, will I stay sane? I hope so. I am not sure whether I will be able to post anything during this time. In case you have been following this blog, please bear with me for the next three weeks.

For now, I have Sabbath cranked up, I will immerse myself in their music. As far as easing emotional pain is concerned, there is no better remedy.

A Fresh Resolution

May 13, 2010 3 comments

I have always been a day dreamer. I like to conjure up scenes, making heroes & heroines act to my whims. I also dabbled my hands with writing, and came up with a couple of short stories. However, last year I got a fresh idea – of writing a novel. Not a short story, not a novella, but the whole works. A tome.

I gobbled up all the material I could find about writing. I read about character sketches, plots, plot hooks, even about the words and language constructs to avoid. A fan of Monte Cristo, I knew what I would write about. Within three months, I had a plot in hand, and had also written three chapters in the story. No, the chapters were written in less than two months – the remainder of the time was spent in polishing the output.

And then it happened… Writer’s block!

I don’t know whether writer’s block is the right word, but for all practical purposes, I slammed into a wall, a dead end. Three chapters of the story behind me, I realized that my hero was not fit to be the hero. Instead, one of his accomplices would now have to become his mentor. And the hero would most probably become a pawn in the mentor’s hands (not in the negative sense, but I hope you get the idea).

That was about seven months ago, and I still hadn’t got the motivation to continue writing.

Yesterday, I was chatting with a friend when the subject of writing came up again. And in the course of those two hours, I decided that I will not let my story die. Yesterday, I dug up all my work in progress, all of my reference material.

Today, I have read through it, and I am back in that world I had conjured. Today, I am ready to start writing again.

It does not matter who the hero is, my story deserves to be told. And it deserves to be told by me.

The Donkey and the Carrot

Once upon a time, a traveling businessman was setting up camp for the night, when an old friend passed by. The businessman invited his friend to share dinner, and they got talking. After the first few pleasantries came the silence, when the friend looked around him. A few feet away from the campfire was a wagon – an oddly shaped wagon, for it had a carrot dangling at the far end. A donkey was standing near the bushes, apparently munching on the foliage.

“How come you use a donkey to pull your cart? And what’s the meaning of the carrot,” the friend asked.

The businessman’s eyes gleamed, and a wide smile broke upon his face. “So you noticed that, eh?”

“Well,” he said, “horses are very expensive in the first place – and cost a lot to manage too! This donkey – he doesn’t need expensive food and is very hardy. Poor fellow, he keeps pulling the cart in anticipation of reaching the carrot! Little does he realize the truth!”

The friend turned to look at the poor little donkey, who was still munching leaves.

But the donkey was not munching leaves at all – he was talking to a fox (an old friend), who was hiding behind the bushes (humans always confuse animal talk with munching, you see).

“Can’t you see how he’s fooling you,” asked the fox. “You will never get that carrot – all you will do is be that man’s beast of burden. Horses at least get treated better. He’s forgotten to tie you up; come on, take this chance and get your freedom.”

But the donkey smiled in return. “Do you think I don’t realize that the carrot is just a pipe dream? Oh, I know it too. You see that mountain in the distance? Beyond that is my village, where my family waits for me.

“If I try to go there myself, the tigers in the jungle will eat me. But with this man, I am safe. So until we reach my village, I will be his beast of burden. And I must pretend to fall for the carrot, lest he replace me with a trusty horse.

“You see my friend, he thinks that he is using me as a puppet, for his ends. But don’t forget – the puppet strings are tied to the master’s hands too.”

The fox, having understood the donkey, wished him a good night and went back to his home.