Archive for the ‘Shorts’ Category

8

Posted: July 3, 2012 in Arbit, Shorts

2052 AD

This was it. The final task, the final objective, the final labor. Labor eh? He mused to himself, at the thought of comparing himself to Hercules. May be he indeed was a modern day Hercules, striving to reach the pantheons of gods, in this case, the exalted group that mattered in the world. The Inner Group, that controlled & ran the world, all behind the scenes.

He sure had achieved a lot of things. Cracking into the vaults of Coke to steal their super-secret formula (at this point, he was tempted to think of an old time classic movie Kungfu Panda 2 & chuckled bitterly to himself), fostering peace between the warring factions of the middle east (Nothing that opening a chain of casinos & offshore banks, along with unlimited supply of liquor, could not solve),solving who really killed JFK (Alan Moore got it right, of all people), concluding the epic “A Song of Ice & Fire” (the 11th book “A Sliver of Summer” was finally released on the 30th anniversary of GRRM’s death & 10 years after the release of the 10th book “A Fall of the Wall”, following which the author chosen by GRRM to conclude the series committed suicide unable to bear the pressure), Solving Fermat’s Last Theorem, Defeating the Kobayashi Maru, Devising a fool proof DRS system & now the 8th task

Hercules was a singularly unimaginative, weak bugger who had to rely on the help of others to achieve his goal; he scoffed, mentally dismissing the comparison. On the other hand, what he had achieved was through his own efforts, his brain & technology that he had built.

Focus on the task at hand, he mentally chided himself. He walked down to the rendezvous point, an abandoned government building. Vaulting up the stairs, he reached the room where he expected the briefing for the last task to take place. Instead he found an envelope waiting for him & a terminal glowing away brightly in the corner. Strange, there had always been someone to brief him, he thought as he tore open the contents of the envelope & found a note inside. One side of the note had names with ages. A hit list. He was singularly disappointed. No subtlety, no challenge. Just some lives to be snuffed out.

He turned over the note & read with growing horror at the task set for him. It was terse & simple.

….

…..

“Book Tatkal tickets through the IRCTC website for the 6 people”.

And the clock struck 8

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A Meeting

Posted: November 23, 2011 in Shorts

It was supposed to be a match-making meeting but both looked liked they would rather be anywhere else. Their motives were not too different anyways though neither of them was aware of that. It was supposed to be a mere formality, this meeting. Just way to get parents off their back. One meeting & they could just say, it did not work out & go back to their respective lives.

A few minutes of polite talk was all that was required to find out that they both inhabited completely different worlds. His was the make believe world of books, movies, games & music, Her’s was the world of corporate meetings, partying, & spending a lot of time outdoors. His center of thinking was purely emotional; Her’s was rational, especially with the big decisions. They tried hard to find common areas to talk , to get to know each other. He bought out the books, the movies, & lastly (and with little hope) sports. He drew a complete blank. She went direct, talking about her career, what she wanted to do in her life, her work & started quizzing him on his plans, things that he only thought about (& even then creatively globed about) during job interviews.  The strain of this conversation was clearly having an effect with none having cracked a smile after the opening exchange. She looked frustrated while he looked bemused more than anything. Clearly at a loss of things to discuss, it was a good time to close this meeting and leave.

What a waste of time was the common theme running through them. As they began to bid farewell to one another (& secretly hoping never to see each other ever again) with meaningless empty platitudes, his phone started ringing

“Why this kolaveri kolaveri kolaveri di?”

And they both started smiling, looking at each other.

Assassin’s Creed

Posted: November 16, 2011 in Shorts

Stepping down the hot tarmac from the company jet, he was greeted by an entourage comprising of black limos & suited security personnel, as befitting his status as the company founder & CEO, ready to whisk him away from the hot sun into the cool plush confines of one of the several 5 star hotels dominating the skyline. Things certainly had changed in 15 years.

Stepping down the hot tarmac from the army transport into a seething cauldron of flying bullets, bombed out runways & the smoky after remains of artillery shelling, he hurried made his way, crouched low to avoid presenting a target, to the nearest manned ATV (all terrain vehicle). The driver had already gunned the vehicle & started moving before he could strap himself in. Burnt out, smoky buildings dominated the skyline obscuring even the sun. 15 years & it seemed nothing had changed

Comfortably lounging back in the well stocked limo, he brought out the most prized possession of the company. A suitcase containing detailed security operating guidelines, the Holy Grail for his security consulting firm. Providing high end security service to the oil rich sheikhs was quite a step up from his sniper days, crouching in the sun in hot dry dusty dirty conditions & doing the dirty work, he mused, a general feel of contentment spreading

Hunched in the front seat of the ATV, he clutched his one & only prized possession, his trusted, immaculately maintained M95, the deadliest sniper rifle in existence, across his chest. Once a sniper, always a sniper, he philosophized darkly

From anonymous unseen sniper to a celebrity sniper to a hot-shot security consultant & CEO, his success story was however dwarfed by the success of the city opening in front of him. Glossy billboards, a concrete jungle with a skyline dominated by towering structures, the malls, the best that the West had to offer, everything that anyone wanted was here. All this for the exchange of a few billion gallons of oil to the West. And all it needed was an accurately placed bullet from just over 800 meters, to the head of the dictator who had severely oppressed his country & his people

From anonymous unseen sniper to anonymous guilt racked security guard & back to an anonymous bitter alcoholic sniper, his collapse was however dwarfed by the collapse of the thin veneer of the civilization that led to a brutal civil war that finally had gotten the attention of the world, that had initially remained a mute spectator as long as the oil supplies were secure. Rotting, sometimes burnt, carcasses piled all over, kids totting guns, various factions, religious & otherwise, fighting for the desiccated husk of a city, even the conservative estimate of the toll of this civil war ran into a few million lives. And all it required was an accurately placed bullet from just over 800 meters, to the head of the dictator who had held all the numerous factions at peace through sheer terror & fear

As the morning mists cleared away & the light reached what snipers called the firing light, the sniper snapped out of his reverie, the 2 futures coalescing into one single moment that was the present, the single hand rolled high velocity bullet already chambered. As the dictator stepped out, unaccompanied by any of his security forces, to start the day off smoking his customary Havana, the sniper made the last adjustment on his telescopic sight. Dropping his left arm to caress the barrel of the gun, almost sensuously, the sniper gradually started to apply pressure on the trigger, exhaling gently. And he hesitated……..

Exile’s Return

Posted: May 2, 2011 in Shorts

They say that there is no wait more unbearable than the last few moments of an unbearable wait. And it certainly was true. Long had she waited, countless days, countless nights, praying to all gods, silently weeping and pleading to forces, seen and unseen, to keep her son safe. The time to end all of that was near and yet it wouldnt come fast enough.

It was more than she could bear. The enforced seperation, the loss of her husband, the pity and sympathy in the eyes of all those she came in contact with, the guilty look in her step son’s eyes though in reality he was in no way responsible for the situation. She bore no hate. She was wise enough to acknowledge that the fates were cruel and nothing happened without a reason. And that everything was preordained and written in the book of fate. And that the fates would have their victim, one way or the other, it was just the tool that varied.

She had to admit that despite the passing away of her husband, she was very well treated. No decision was taken unless she approved and she was treated as the de facto ruler . Still she wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice it all to spend one moment with her son.

As she spent her sleepless night tossing and turning, she could hear a commotion in the distance, which was growing louder every minute. Controlling the hope that had burst anew in her, she waited for the guard to bring news to her. Abandoning all protocol, her guard burst into her room and all it took was one look.

Kausalya smiled. Rama had returned.