Red Moon.


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Like the moon, most of us are alone and scarred by our own imperfections. But unlike the moon, most of us do not shine in the darkness. Why don’t we?

The moon is one my personal favourite objects to capture. The detail on its surface, the contrasts in its topography and the various hues it acquires; a total delight. This was taken during the recent lunar eclipse where it acquired a slightly reddish hue (the ‪#‎bloodmoon‬ as they call it).

— — —
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Echoes. – Short Story No. 9


echoes

***

“But Gramma, I want to go to the lake today, you promised!” I wailed disconsolately, tears pouring from my 6 year old eyes like a terribly rusty old pipe. Gramma was not perturbed. After a full 10 minutes of my brawling had passed by, she looked up from her Mahabharata , “Anil, you have a fever. I cannot let you play today. Stop crying please, come here now.” My crying stopped almost immediately. Gramma commanded respect, even as her voice had started quivering just a little over the past few months. I pulled myself up and sat next to her, looking away. She wrapped an arm around me, pulling me closer. A strong aroma of jasmine and coconut oil enveloped me as she wiped away my tears. “Let’s have a deal. Next week, I’ll make you some fresh mango ice-cream and let you play in the pool. Just don’t tell your father. Okay?” I nodded yes amidst gasps for breath. She gave me a wet kiss on my cheek.

She used to play with me whenever I visited and take me to the lakeside at least once a month where we fed the fishes. At night, she sang lullabies for me even though she mixes up the words very often. Gramma always knew what I loved.

Another day, about 4 years later, I was peering into an old album filled with faded black-and-white photographs from Gramma’s youth. She noticed me from afar. “Have I told you about your grandfather?” she asked as she swiftly hung the clothes to dry. I had not really known Grampa much. He had passed away before I was born. Gramma sat next to me on the ledge near the mossy back-wall of the bungalow and opened the mid-page of the album. “Your Grampa first met me when I was returning from school, long long ago. I was just six or seven years elder to you at that time. You should have seen the things he did to try and woo me. A flower every day, offers to give me a ride to school, dresses… But I was very stubborn, you know. And then, all of a sudden, he went straight to my father to ask his permission to marry me. The guts of the man!” I looked intently at my Gramma who was lost in her own world. “We got married a year later. He was a wonderful man, very kind, never raised his voice. Unlike me.” she said with a wide smile. “We used to spend a lot of time at the lake feeding the fishes, it’s a very beautiful spot isn’t it Anil?” I nodded hastily. “He was an army doctor, your Grampa. I think when your mother was about 20 he got a call from the General to report to the war site up north. Usually these stints were short so…” She was interrupted by Lakshmi auntie’s call from the other side of the wall. Gramma got up on the ledge in a flash and they started talking animatedly about someone running away from home. I got up with the album and went into the house.

I went back home the next day and I would return to my Gramma’s every weekend for the next 8 years.

My Gramma, just like most others I’ve read or heard of, was amazing in the kitchen. I’ve always believed that she made the best chicken ever, and she used to make it best for her eldest grandchild, me. I was at her place on my 14th birthday and was readying myself for a sumptuous birthday feast. My younger sisters were rooted in front the TV, engrossed in some new age cartoon. Cartoons were much poorer than what it used to be 5 years ago, but they just don’t understand that.

“Come on kids, lunch is ready.” a shrill voice boomed from inside, “I’m preparing your plate Anil, 5 minutes!” She came in holding a large clay pot, her limp more pronounced than usual; all of us were gathered around the table, salivating over the smell of hot biryani. What happened next happened rather too fast. As she approached us, her legs buckled, her eyes closed; the biryani pot with Gramma crashed onto the stone floor. Panic.

A few days passed. They said it was just a result of low blood sugar, which was natural at 76 years of age. Gramma lived with us from then on. But I noticed that she was becoming more complacent after coming back. For one thing, she drastically reduced the amount of time spent in the kitchen, which meant less scrumptious food. It annoyed me mightily. She was sleeping more than before, and began losing her temper in short bursts for trivial reasons. “Anil, why is this newspaper not at the centre of the table? How many times should I tell you child?” she shouted one hot afternoon, as she went about straightening and cleaning the house. Every day when I come back from college, the newspaper would be set perfectly on the coffee table, an act that had become an everyday ritual.  Arguments between Gramma and me increased a lot in the next 3 years, along with the number of times she had lost consciousness.

“Anil…” she used to call me, her voice almost a whisper, “Anil, can you tell your grandfather to trim the hedges please? Look at him, always sleeping on the sofa there!”. There was no hedge nor any grandfather. The doctors called it dementia and she soon started losing control over her body. I was tasked with taking care of her after college hours and frankly it was very exasperating beyond a point. It did not help that she kept criticizing each thing I did for her, from the pressure with which I applied the bath towels to blaming her gas release on the bed she lied down to my inability to make ‘Grampa’ trim the hedges. But she was still my Gramma.

One day when I came back after a long day, I noticed the newspaper was not on the table. The air felt heavy. My mom came in and held my hand.

Gramma passed away.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I tossed about for hours on end. I shut my eyes and I could see my kid self wandering around in Gramma’s home aimlessly looking for something I couldn’t find. Gradually my image was replaced by Gramma’s. A postman arrived and gave a letter to Gramma. It was news that Grampa was killed at war. The surroundings blurred around as Gramma walked into the house. She was crying, trying to suppress all the memories entombed in that house. His shirt which still emanated his musk, his postcard from the day before still unopened. She walked towards the bookshelf and picked up an old picture of theirs at the lake, hugging it tight.

****

Many many years had passed by. I was woken up by my granddaughter considerably early in the morning. “Aditi, where’s your grandmother dear?” I asked her, stretching those 60 year old tired joints. “Said she’s going to the market Granpa. Come let’s go to feed the park birds!” she shrilled, pulling me from the bed. She had gone off to chemo without waking me up, the kind soul. Aditi was our life and we adored her weekend visits. We made her wooden toys all by ourselves and she loved playing with them over the glitzy Barbies. She was a naughty young girl though and unfortunately for her, I was too stubborn to give in.

While on a call with Gopal who was filling me in with all the community news, I saw Aditi slinking towards an open muddy pothole. “Aditi! No, you will not play in the puddles. It’s dirty water. Stop crying please and come..”, I stopped short. Memories of Gramma’s warnings came flooding over me. I chuckled as I realised I was nothing but an echo of her soul. An undying echo living in me. I am her immortality.

A few months later my wife succumbed to her cancerous tortures. Aditi took her passing quite hard. ”Granpa, where did she go? Tell her to come please?” she said, her voice wheezy in between sobs. We sat down on the same ledge my Gramma and I used to sit all those years back and she looked straight into my eyes. “Aditi, when my Grampa went to heaven, Gramma did not eat for many days, she was extremely sad. Days later, while dusting, behind an old picture of my Gramma and Grampa, she found a note left for her by him. You want to know what it said?” She nodded slowly, a couple of tears falling from her cheeks.

Promise me, you’ll not dwell on sadness once life’s over,
For ours is a unique life; short yet endless, terrible yet joyous.
And no one comes out of it alive. So remember dearest,
In this very moment, we’re infinite and will remain so.
Promise.

— — —
Sreedeep Sreekanth

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Black and Blue. – Short Story No.8


“Hey AJ, AJ! Look at that couple who just entered!”, Sam whispered gesturing towards the door of Westland Café. I turned back and my gaze fixated, just for a second, on the girl.

“What are you staring at?!”, Sam asked and looked over my shoulder. She knew. “Umm. So you really don’t want me to answer that right?”, I asked, wearing the most innocent smile I could conjure up. Sam looked at that girl, looked down and then straight at me and said “AJ, mine are so small no? Guys don’t like them small, right?”

You see, these are the times when a guy really has no idea what to respond. The obvious reply will, obviously not be liked.

“You are perfect the way you are Sam..”, I said in the most softest of voices possible. “Look at the bright side, you can come out of very tight spots much easily than her!”. Sam grinned. And that’s why she was awesome.

A waiter came with her chocolate milkshake and my strawberry cheesecake. We were seated at the corner table, one of the few spots at Westland that faced the blue sea; our favourite one as well.
Westland Café was almost like our second home. To an outsider, it may seem like another one of those humdrum shacks on the beach. But for us locals, it was nothing short of a veritable goldmine of the yummiest delicacies we could find in the city. And undoubtedly, the best filter coffee.

“So, what happened with Rani at the Gym? Staring and cursing whole day!”, I asked, slicing the cake. “Hey such a pain she is, AJ! You know what she did? She….”
I really don’t know what she said, I had already been lost, her voice forming the perfect music for the song in my head.“….. and then she told….erm… Hey HII, here!!”

I turned around and saw Nikhil approaching. A wide grin lit up Sam’s face, decorated on the sides with glowing red. A loud wave came crashing down at the beach nearby.

There may be very few things more frustrating than being there.
Imagine you’re hurtling towards this heavenly being, like an asteroid through space, but you’ve got the landing all wrong. And instead of touching down in a blaze of fiery glory, you’ve been caught in its orbit, encircling the heavenly body, gazing from afar, hoping for that final touchdown.

Such has been my life since the first time I met Samiksha, 2 years ago at this very café when the ever perky, very effervescent Sam had forgotten her purse and I offered to pay for her. I became her closest friend; revolving around her, protecting her from the vagaries of life. Westland was our second home; the sea, our own special hideout. And then came Nikhil.

“Sam!”, he said with his hearty smile while receiving one of Sam’s bear hugs. I get a hi-5 soon after. He seated himself between Sam and me, taking a bite of the cheesecake from my plate.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I was jealous. Of course I was. Jealous of the way Sam looked at him, jealous of how she giggled at his jokes or stammered and acted like a complete nutjob when he complimented her. Oh, and the cherry on top of my cake of misery? It is hard to the hate the guy. The glitter in Sam’s eyes sparkles as she talked to Nik, perhaps similar to mine as I talked to her. She gave me a warm hug as I left for home.

Like a lone animal in Noah’s ark, I sometimes felt like a misfit, lost and alone. All I wanted to do was to take her in my arms and pour my heart out; I wanted to tell her that she is the most beautiful part of my world. She was enraptured by him; I by her.

This is the story of a day that will be etched in my memory for a long, long time.

Very early the next morning, my phone’s ringtone woke me up. ‘Sam xD’ – the screen read. Sam!“Do you know the time, Sam?”, I said groggily. “AJ..”, her voice, a half sob.I sat up. Venting session at this time?

“AJ.. I like Nik”, she said. “Hmm. Tell me something I don’t know. Why’re you crying?” “Why isn’t he proposing to me?”
For a fact, I knew he liked her a lot. He had told me himself. “Maybe he fears rejection.” I said, voicing my own thoughts.

“Why-why would I reject him?” “I don’t know, you can be intimidating sometimes.” I heard a faint chuckle. “Ass. We were standing near the shore for a long time after you left. It was… heavenly.” Sure it was.
“You love him a lot, yes?” “Yes.” “Isn’t the solution obvious then?”

There was silence for many seconds. Just her soft sweet breaths.

“I’m going to propose.”, she said. “I’m going to-propose! It will be heavenly. AJ! You are awesome!”

A thousand unsaid words volleyed by my mind. I could say them even now.
“Obviously! Go get him!”, I said instead. I shall never learn.

— — —
The shadows on my wall faded as the mobile screen dimmed out. What would I do without AJ? Pushing away the quilt, I got up and walked towards the mirror. A weary face stared back at me, straight hair streaking the sides of my pale, tear-stained cheeks with a background of light orange from the rising sun.

But what if he says no? Am I worth it? … Is he worth it? He likes me. Everyone likes him.

Go get him! AJ’s words echoed. Maybe I should… I will!

I had to make a plan. This had to be spectacular. It took me the better part of the morning to finalize what I needed to do.

I typed out a text message to Nik:

‘Heyy! Come to the Mariner’s Memorial at 4 tomo. Wear that red shirt I gave you. xoxo’

My thumb paused before touching the send icon. I looked up and saw bright daylight streaming through the curtains..

Go get him!
The message was delivered.

I reached Westland at around 3:30pm that afternoon. Inside, I saw AJ with his head low, staring at a mug of black coffee. I went up to him. “AJ! You look bad, what’s up?”

He looked up, dazed; as though I had rudely interrupted a dream. “Eh, just a hurting head. You think the music here is a bit too loud today?”

Apart from the fact that he abhors EDM, there wasn’t anything different about the music here. “No, music is just the same! What’s bothering you?” He got up. “Just a bad day I guess. A walk along the shore should cure it. I’ll be right back!” he said, paying for the coffee.

“AJ, I’ll come with you.”

He looked away and hesitated. “Umm no Sam, just me this time. And I’m guessing Nik will be here soon? Have fun, I’ll join y’all.” he said, turning away, through the door, and towards the shore. Wonder what happened to him!

Brushing away the thought, I took out a sticky note and scribbled on it. It’s a big day today!

— — — —
It’s not unusual to get a message from Sam at 6 in the morning. But a message like this is something that I wasn’t used to. Sure she can be spontaneous but this was out of the blue. And she didn’t even explain why either!

It was half past 3 and I started towards the Memorial, wearing the red shirt just as she had asked. The Memorial – a grand old tribute to the sailors who had given their lives for the Great Battle of 1809; it’s lawns were the envy of the country; it’s fountain shows the envy of the world.

It was a wonderful day; strong breeze with the salt high in the air. It was 4 and I looked around for Sam. She was late.

Teens playing soccer, elders playing tennis, our Mr. Guitar strumming away for his buck. 4:20 and I get a message, ‘I am not coming. Let’s play a game. Find me 😉

Sam! What did she expect me to do? I walked around, looking for a note or a sign. Nothing.
20 mins passed by, I kept pacing up and down the lawn. It took me a while to realise something was amiss.
Each time I passed by Mr. Guitar, he would change his tune and after I pass by him, he’d change back to the old. So I went close to him, and listened. He winked and sang his new tune. It went like this:

“Ooh! Won’t you come?
Come, look beside, the crashing brine?
And see the neptune clutching,
our towering treble of shale?
Ooh won’t you, come…find me?”

A riddle? This, I had not expected. She knew I relished a brain teaser.
Crashing brine… Ok the sea. The neptune holding a treble of shale? Treble of shale. So there are 3 rocks?
Neptune? Not the planet, obviously. What else? Roman god? No, Greece! Sea… Poseidon! 3 rocks. Poseidon’s trident.

She wants me to go to Trident Rocks!

I got up, satisfied, gave Mr. Guitar a hug and some cash and bolted towards the Trident.

I reached the Trident, magnificent cliffs watching from behind as waves crashed onto this natural rock formation. I looked around. It took me a while but behind a giant sandcastle, written using pebbles and seaweed was “WESTLAND BB ^_^”.

And off I scooted to the place where I first met Sam, the Bulletin Board at Westland.

— — —
Back at Westland, I ordered a sandwich to go. Sam had gone home, she wasn’t around here anywhere. Wonder what she did about the proposal issue. The call early that morning had shaken me up considerably.

I walked towards the Bulletin Board; I had heard rumours that Metallica was visiting the city and if they were, Westland would surely have posted it up. I scanned the board, in vain. But I did stumble upon a post-it note which seemed interesting.

‘Tired? It’s almost over!
I’m at the house of the sailors’ guardian. Find me ;)’

What seemed interesting was that, the handwriting was very, very familiar. I looked again. Sam!

The house of sailors’ guardian? The Lighthouse? She needs to work on her riddles, dear Sam! I made my way towards the Lighthouse.

A lone tomato-less club sandwich awaited in vain on a clean granite counter.

The Lighthouse was tall, red, iconic, and non-functional. Non-functional because after building it, the brilliant engineers realised that no ship could ever see its light.

It was deserted on the outside but the door was left ajar. Sturdy stone steps spiralled upwards, leading to the glass dome. I paced up and almost reached the huge stone doorway to the dome; I heard whispers. I crept up behind the door and strained to listen. A sudden, short shriek pierced the heavy air.

“It took me a year, I couldn’t wait. I-I, how was the game?”

“Sam! I never-Wow, you’re amazing!”

“Nik, this is not easy for me to say-I… Nik, would you…?”

“Oh gosh, a ring. Samiksha… Yes, damn get up you!”

I climbed down the stairs as they did what couples do after a proposal. All the way down.

— — —
A blustery breeze swept over the shore as I sat at the cliff-edge, gazing at the Trident being mauled by the savage waves of the sea. Mauled.

This can’t be happening. Not to me. She definitely would have seen how much I care for her.
Two seagulls, one with blue stripes, other black, stood at the edge, pecking and flapping wings at each other.

How could she not? I have been with her through thick and thin! How dare she do this to me?The Black manages to out-peck his adversary. Blue backs away as Black flies over and flaunts his scars to his mate. The Blue looks over at Black, squawking weakly.

I’d give anything … anything to be with her. Is there any point in all that time spent with her?Black nestles close to his mate, their heads resting on each other.

My thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of my phone. ‘Sam xD’. A couple of seconds passed by before I picked up that call.

“AJ, AJ! I have so much to tell you!”, an exuberant voice relayed from the other side.

A huge sigh escapes me. “Sam! Tell me all about it!”

I guess in the end, it was all meant to be.
I got up to leave. Blue shrugged and flew away.

< — – — – — >
Sreedeep Sreekanth (@sreesquared)
Shweta Srinivasan (@GleeBee_)

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Onwards


Relentless in its pace.
Ruthless in its execution.
Reckless in its being.
Oblivious; it moves on.
Onwards.

Boundless in its excesses.
Thoughtless in its retribution.
Ageless in its experiences.
Regal, it moves on.
Onwards.

Tireless in its patience.
Mindless in its hate.
Endless in its love.
Impartial, it moves on.
Onwards.

However merciless it may be,
We all must live through.
Many crumble; some live on,
Live on for name or shame.
Regardless, the wheels turn.
Match its flow, if you can,
For, unchained, life moves on.
Onwards.

~Sreedeep Sreekanth

— — —
A scribble while on a flight from Chennai to Dubai.

The Legend of Lionheart.


Version 2 of The Legend of Lionheart.
Perhaps a long read. Carry on if you’ve a feel for adventure and the mystic.
— — — 

‘Tis sad, very sad;
The young Warrior lay dead.
His head slashed and bleeding,
Pierced by the thorn-bed;
He remains lifeless and still.

I shall tell you what happened,
I’m sure you won’t snooze!
Wait, wait, be patient!
Let me have a draught of my Red Juice.
Yes, let me begin.

“The youth was Lionheart, Warrior Extraordinaire.
Summoned to complete 4 tasks
To save the land of Nior.
So he left, wearing a mask,
He goes to accomplish his first task.

Across the marshes and ravenous canyons,
Lionheart trekked to the Wicked West.
‘Tis the lair of evil, the realm of adventure,
Onwards he marched, towards his first adversary.
Onwards, into the depths of Nior’s Underground.

In the Scarlet Caves of Ire,
Lay the savage Dragon Bloodbath,
Sprawled over his gleaming treasure
Of mangled bones and sparkling gold
Spewing fierce flames of fury.
The Warrior approaches to make contact,
He braces himself for the first combat!
Hot fiery flames, Bloodbath spew,
His sword, Affronta, Lionheart drew.
A prayer, he charges with a roar,
Jumping high, striking Bloodbath’s spiked tail.
A metallic clamour, not a wound found.
A snort and a flick; the Dragon sent him flying.
Lionheart landed hard on high ground and fires now,
A volley of poison arrows at his long neck,
For it was naked; his only weakness.
Bloodbath hurt, hurtles towards and grabs him,
Squeezing every ounce of breath with his claws.
Warrior, ready-dead; peers into the open mouth.
Red flames cast an eerie glow over long fangs.
And just as the jaws snapped, in a sparkle,
The mighty Affronta tore open its throat!

Fell tumbling towards the ground;
Fire and blood spurting all around.
Lionheart wiped Affronta and took a Fang.
Thus the Warrior completes the First with a bang.

Onwards to the Desert Barch,
To complete the Lexon Maze.
As he leaves the Underground,
Bruised; winds making evil sounds,
He walks to the West, never losing Pace,
He reaches the grand City of Teramace.

The lights and colours, he saw.
His mind went back to his Nior;
Before it fell into ominous war.
Lionheart yearned for the merrymaking,
For the Warrior was a true Adonis;
Muscle-bound, eyes deeper than the summer sky.
Every girl’s dream, their father’s nightmare.
Never was one he couldn’t ensnare.

Agitated was his sleep that night,
Woken up by a fine young maiden;
Aerilyn, she said her name was.
Minutes, seemed to simply pause.
“Love this is”, he instinctively knew.
Rest assured, she thought so too.
‘Twas spring, trees and romance bloomed,
Mindlessly, all time was consumed.”

But this is no story of Love;
Although none exist sans amour.
Yes, back to the Quest.
Just one more sip of Juice.

“After 16 months of relaxation.
Continues the quest for Nior’s salvation,
Promising to return safe and soon,
Leaving behind Aerilyn and little EagleEye.
He goes. He knew he had to lie.

Through the plateaus he ran.
To complete the Lexon Maze.
The heat making an uneasy gaze.
He enters the infamous dungeon,
Where but a few have survived.
Left or Right; here or there?
Myriad dark tunnels forking out into darker ones,
A dark fluid drips from pointed stalactites.
Brown jagged rocks lined the ancient wall.
Dead martyrs carpeted the red floor.
Something creeps from behind.

The exit, he couldn’t find.
The wind blows, the sand renders him almost blind.
Where to go; how to go?
Numerous solutions, none easy to find.
Trodden paths crumbling within seconds,
No escape, darkness beckons.
Only the Fang guiding his cause,
Through the Old Magician’s lair.

Something is following, he does know.
He sees the exit…the Great Exit!
A colossal solid white marble door,
Engraved carefully by numerous inscriptions.
Tired and dreary, he runs for it.
But, try as he might, escape was impossible.
An enormous tarantula, black and hairy,
He did see. It followed him,
With jaws dripping orange acid,
Wielding Affronta, he looked around.
Saw he did, a Green Stone,
Engraved with the Magician’s Bone,
A circular hole in its centre.
He was to use it to escape.
Threw it, slashed it, smashed it…
Tried all he could but couldn’t trash it!
The spider was closing in…Still drooling.
He wondered how to use the Stone.
Lionheart, to the Lord was appealing,
He glanced at the door and saw a slot.
Ran and placed the Stone into the opening.
A fizzle. The Spider spat out his venom; Lionheart missed by inches.
A soft glow around the opening in the Stone.
Illuminating something Lionheart had missed.
The silhouette of a fang, a Dragon’s fang.
Emboldened, he shoved the Fang into the hole.
Bright Light and Fresh Air welcomed his tired visage!
Ran he did, away from the still drooling spider and the cave,
And so, Task 2 was completed by Lionheart the Brave.

On to Task 3,lionheart
The Warrior, on escaping the Maze,
Was praised by the Priests of Lexon.
So great was his feat, they concurred
To provide him the Boon of Aquadeed.
Thus preventing him from dying underwater;
Giving him command over the mermen.

With the Boon of Aquadeed,
To Cape Kappa, the lane did lead.
Plunging into the slimy, chilly sea,
He goes to the Temple of Anatosee. (Ancient sea-god)
Through dancing seaweed and by huge galleons,
Lionheart swam with brave lips.
Across wide trenches and past dark canyons,
He cuts through the currents, all determined and brave.
He goes to obtain the Neosand Pearls,
(Magical pearls that give immense power to user)
Through the labyrinth of Anatosee,
He reached, full of glee.

On a stone pillar, t’was written:
‘In order to obtain the Shiny White,
You must encounter the White Knight,
And conquer the Guardian Girls,
In the Chamber of Prayer,
Only then, art thou worthy, to get the Whites!!’

His need was the Pearls, he went straight.
Towards the Infinite Corridor,
The one with the flimsy floor.
Cautiously, not casually,
He took every step.
The lights were dim,
Alas!! A bit of floor fell beneath him!

Down he fell, on and on,
Till he reached the Room of Sacrifice.
There he saw the White Knight,
And his Great Army of Might.

Lionheart summoned his mermen.
And they engaged in battle.
A huge battle it was indeed,
Two huge oceans of Men clashed.
Blood diffused like perfume,
Lionheart with fury did fume.
Affronta slashed, bashed and gnashed.
He attacked with terror;
Both profusely did bleed.

And just when the Knight was about to strike,
Lionheart ducked and dodged it,
And then gave him The Paramount Jab,
With which, the Knight was exterminated;
And the battle had terminated.

Exhausted, he cleaned Affronta,
And went on, in search of the pearls.
Unexpectedly, he encountered the Guardian Girls.
Those 3 mystic spirits, transparent black,
With blood-shot eyes and skinny hands.
On which were worn red and black bands.

Undefeatable by sword stroke,
Soon, in chorus, they spoke:
“Brave youth, Affronta can’t kill us!
All you must do is answer our riddle:-

‘It’s the work of heaven, effective on land,
‘Tis cold; ’tis warm; ’tis the delight of the green.
Long and short; bland and grand;
‘Tis seen both as Good and Mean…’
Tell us, Warrior…What do we mean???”
Lionheart, he rattled his brain,
The warrior, he took some strain;
Thought some more and replied,
“Umm…Rain??”

“Ah! Correct! You may pass,
For your credit has been proven.
Go on to the Chamber of Wealth,
To the Treasure Heap.
There, you shall discover,
The Neosand Pearls, as a gift for your endeavor.”
After which, the Girls disappeared.

He goes and takes the Pearls.
Resurfaces and stays afloat.
Holds them, and felt the power surge.
He then, his body purged,
Of all impurities and a weed.
Even the choking effect of Aquadeed.”

Wait a bit, narrating a story is tough!
Let me have a small drink of the Juice.
Ah yes, now let me continue.

“And now, to the last Task,
He reaches House no: 666,
The House of Hantéeur.
On the lawn with black blades of grass.
He absorbs fully, the Pearl’s power, supernatural.
And then, the warrior, he entered the mansion.

True, this was the most dangerous one of all.
He had to now conquer Char.
The famed Phantom of Acratar [haunted city]
Lionheart should conquer him in combat.

He opens the corridor door, it wasn’t intact;
It broke off, and he kept walking.
The pictures on the wall were shocking,
Gore and vulgarity; t’was filled;
He kept walking, feeling chilled.
He paced along the long corridor.
Suddenly, he heard a screech from behind.
More and more pictures of Gore.
Abruptly; dead-end, the window opened up,
The curtains shivered, but no wind.

He saw, moving in the air, a silver cup;
Filled with a thick scarlet liquid.
Char revealed himself, petrifying and wicked.
Black and red and grey he was, sipping the liquid,
With long teeth and even longer claws.
He roared, “Warrior! Prepare for thine death!!”
“Nay, ’tis yours!”, Lionheart replied.

And so, the battle began;
The rats moved away, scared.
The Thunder-Gods cried out,
As their swords cut into each other.
Neither was too strong for each other,
Nor was any weak.
Blow after blow, blow after blow,
They hit their foe, high and low.
The unmatched ferocity of Char,
Pitted against the mammoth energy of the Pearl!
The resilience of the lad, commendable under the test,
Both soon, desired rest.

T’was the Phantom Char, who first spoke,
“I love to see thee sputter and choke;
You may be a big hero,
But to me, a bigger zero!”
Thus he said, and vanished,
Leaving Lionheart bewildered.
Hither, thither, the lad did run,
Sensing Char; circling around; attempting conquest.
With a puff of smog, and
A deafening scream;
The mystic Char struck,
With 69 times the force of a loaded truck.
Right where one’s knowledge lay,
On Lionheart’s majestic crown!

Having a few seconds left,
Dropped Affronta and thought emotionally of Nior.
He had failed, and tamely so.
Tears for beloved Aerilyn and young EagleEye.
Then collapsed and began his long-eminent trip to Heaven.
Char thrilled, shrieked, “Behold me! Char the Phantom!!”
Took his body and threw him,
On a large thorn bed, grim;
Viscous blood, oozed from his pores.”

And so; enjoying the gore, I filled my cup,
With his blood; rich, brave, Red blood.
He thought he could kill me, the dud!
As you see, friends,
Fortune for once has faltered,
And has failed to favour the brave!!
I hope you enjoyed the story.

By the way…feeling hungry?
I’m willing to have you for dinner!

~Sreedeep Sreekanth

— — —

All comments are welcome. Do share if you felt it’s worth it. 🙂

‘Nuff Said.
@sreesquared
https://www.facebook.com/DoWMblog

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The Maya of the Superstar


He’s been a slave. A crook. Both the Hunter and the Hunted. A Teacher and a Student.
Autodriver, Don, Scrientist, Robot….God.  /\

Today, 12.12.12, is the birthday of the Man who created God with his smile.
There are few in this world who has enamored as many hearts as one Mr.  Shivaji Rao Gaikwad. Wait, what? You haven’t heard of that name? Well, he goes by another  name too. Rajinikanth.

The City of Chennai, an unassuming, calm and hawt city to the south of India is celebrating the last festival of the year. (Sorry guys, Xmas has been overshadowed here!) Drumrolls, paal-abishekams, dances and revelry abounds the place.
For Rajini is a not just a mere phenomenon. He is THE phenomenon.

The Timeless hero. credits: forbesindia.com

Ask for a logical reason for his popularity and you won’t ever be satisfied. He is not an Adonis, no 6-pack also! He is 63 years old and has romanced with over 5 generations of heroines on-screen. He has lost more hair than his movies tend to show.
But, the moment you see ‘Superstar’ followed, letter-by-letter, by ‘Rajini’, glowing with lights and glitter; when you hear 200 people in the same room whistle and howl, chanting “Thalaivar! Thalaivar!”; when you see the phenomenon, boot first, walking towards his adversary, the camera snaking its way to see a finger pointed upwards and hands deftly manipulating his sunglasses; when you heard the introduction song by the mesmeric SPB; and finally when you see that walk and that smile, you will know why he is larger than life.

He is the perfect example of rags-to-riches. He is the epitome of simplicity and humility.
Perhaps the best way to describe it is the famous line from his hit movie, Padayyapa:
“Unna en ellarukkum pidichirukku theriyuma?…Vayasanalum, un azhagum style um innum unna vittu pogala”
[“Do you know why everyone loves you?…However much you have aged, you have not lost your charm and style”]

Critics say his movies are cheap commercial trash, nothing compared to his counterpart Kamal, who has admirably shown his love for the cinematic arts in every possible way. Critics say he has no talent. Well, critics can watch Moondru Mugam and go jump in a well. For it was his choice to do what he loves. And thankfully, what we love as well.

Me being rendered speechless is a rare occasion. This is one such.
From Billa to Basha, Arunachalam to Endhiran, Annamalai to Mappillai, Muthu to Sivaji;
Here’s to Rajinikanth. Happy Birthday, Sir.

PS: The West has Chuck Norris, we have Rajini. And he could easily give Norris a run for his money.
Hurt? Go buy a lollipop.

– — –
@sreesquared
https://www.facebook.com/DoWMblog

Yearning


Dearest,
What can you afford to let go,
To seek the apple of sin?
’tis forbidden; indeed divinely so.
The pain, eating me from within.

Come…
See the fires making me weak.
I yearn for you, you know not!
Cease being such a mystique,
Stop binding me in so tight a knot!

Take me
Because you know you deserve more;
Someone who knows you inside-out.
Only you can stop the inner war,
Stop the incessant self-doubt.

With you…
I’ll have peace and sunshine,
The apple would finally be mine!
The wind would whistle again,
We’d know no more, any pain.
Dress the wound, stem the bleed,
Let us not into the darkness, recede.
— — —
This feel is rare, accomplished by few,
Dearest, come.. Take me with you…

~Sreedeep Sreekanth
21/10/2012, 4:33am

— — — — — —
Yup, back after a long hiatus with a poem.
This was inspired by many people in such a situation around me.

Like? Then follow/subscribe 🙂
@sreesquared
https://www.facebook.com/DoWMblog