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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Action of the Day # 4

Switch off lights and electrical appliances when not being used!!!


A Figment of my imagination

It was a night that was creepier than usual. Timmy, Sandy and Mikey were on their way to their aunt’s place. The drive was supposed to take only four hours. They had left home early in the afternoon. But traffic and bad weather ensured that they were still at least an hour away from their destination. And now this had to happen?

All four tyres of their 1982 Dodge were flat. Their father had given them the dark brown vehicle last fall. It was dark and was raining quite heavily. They had gotten off the freeway into a quaint little town for fuel and snacks. They had tanked up the vehicle and their tummies. Soon they were off again when it began to pour heavily. Visibility was low. They had just driven for 15 minutes when Mikey lost control and swerved off the road into the mud nearby.

“Just our darned luck!!” thought Mikey. Four flats and only one spare. Sandy and Timmy got out too. They were clearly 20 miles away from the town and roughly 10 miles from the freeway. What were they to do?

They decided to call for help. “Well now, somebody please tell me how this happened!” said Timmy to Mikey, “My mobile has no signal.” Mikey and Sandy looked at their mobiles and chorused “Ours too!” Now they were in a fix. Sandy checked the map. They were miles away from anywhere on the map. They decided to walk to the freeway and hopefully hitch a ride…

Fifteen minutes in the rain….

“Hey, look over there. There is a light across the field.” “Looks like a little house over there”. “Maybe they have a phone” and saying so the threesome trudged towards the house. The fields were barren as it looked like the harvesting had been completed awhile back. They reached the house and sprang up the steps. The steps made no sound. Sandy found this surprising. She jumped on the last step again. No Sound. “Well that was creepy, lets see who’s home” said Mikey. They knocked on the door. No answer. They knocked again. Still no answer. The wind howled through the rickety old building.

“Well, let’s go out to the back and see if anyone’s there!” As they turned, the door swung open with a slow creek. Inside sat an old man on an old chair facing the door. “Come in, my young friends.” Surprised, they walked in through the door. “I see you youngsters had a flat and you need to use my phone”. They were taken aback. How could he know? Before anyone could speak, the door banged behind them. They turned around and turned back to face the old man. All they saw was an empty chair.

“Well! Are you just gonna gape at the chair or what?” said the old man from the foot of the staircase. They turned towards him and a wave of relief washed over their faces. He had walked onto to the staircase. “The phone is up on the first floor. Follow me up the staircase. Watch your step” He smiled and began to climb. They climbed the staircase slowly following the old man. Soon they stepped into a long hallway. “The phone is at the end of the hallway. The portraits you see around you are painted from real instances”

They looked up at the portraits one by one. They were now scared for what they saw totally wiped their senses clean off their minds. The first portrait was of a man biting the neck of a crow. The second one was even scarier. The same man was plucking the ears of a rabbit with his hands. More gruesome photos followed as they realized that the person in the portraits looked like a younger version of the old guy.

As they turned to ask the old man, their eyes fell on the last portrait. They were shocked. The old man turned back at them and said “Here is my greatest masterpiece” A shrill scream pierced the silent night. There standing in the portrait was the same middle aged guy holding Timmy’s head, severed off the body, blood dripping all over him. A sickle was in his other hand. Mikey and Sandy turned to look and found Timmy missing. A shiver went up their spines as they slowly turned towards the old guy, only to see themselves facing a blank piece of wall. A phone was on the table nearby.

Mikey and Sandy began to sweat profusely. They had heard of terrifying experiences in lonely houses in horror movies and stories but now it looked like they were bang in the middle of one, themselves.

Sandy reached towards the phone and as she touched it, the phone rang. She jumped backwards crashing into someone. She turned around, saw Mikey and screamed. “What happened?” asked Mikey. “Nothing, I guess I am lil fidgety”, she said sheepishly.

They turned again and looked at the phone. It had stopped ringing. Mikey went towards it and lifted the receiver. It wasn’t dead. Surprised he quickly dialed 911 and the phone at the other end began to ring. Four rings later, somebody picked up the call and he heard a male voice telling him “Thank you for calling 911. You are not leaving this place alive. You are the last one. So die!!!!”

Shocked Mikey dropped the phone and turned around. Sandy was gone. He turned back towards the phone and staggered back. Looking at him was sandy’s face minus the eyes and ears. Her tongue was slit into two and her head was held by the man in the portrait.

He composed himself. This was another painting. He had to get out of here. He turned around and ran. As he ran, blood began flowing from all the portraits onto the floor. He slipped on the blood and fell face first. His face became red from the blood. He slipped and slided all the way towards the other end of the hallway. Then he stopped.

A brick wall stared scornfully at him. He looked around frantically. He was trapped in the hallway. He heard footsteps on the stairway but couldn’t find any way to the stairway. He looked around. He felt trapped like a caged animal. He suddenly saw an umbrella nearby and picked it up. The footsteps were getting closer. He looked around turning and caught the wall panel sliding open in the corner of his eye. He swung around to face his fate. In walked the middle aged man of the portrait. As Mikey stared at him, he thought again that this guy and the old guy were one and the same.

It was an old fashioned standoff: Mikey with the umbrella and the man with the sickle. The man rushed towards him, sickle raised in his hand. Mikey stepped forward and in one stabbing motion put the umbrella into the attacker’s eyeball. A hoarse scream filled the air. Mikey ran, slid forward and through the attacker’s legs straight into the entrance of the stairway. He got up just in time and looked back to see the assailant. All he saw was the old man looking at him with one eye. The other eye was bleeding profusely. The umbrella lay at his feet. He turned around, ran down the staircase and straight into the front door. The door opened automatically as he approached it and he found himself sprawled on the porch steps.

The footsteps began behind him. He got up and ran. A sharp pain rose in his right arm and a thin stream of blood began to flow from his eyebrow. He ran across the fields and towards the road where the Dodge was.

Ten minutes later…

He found the Dodge and stopped in his tracks. Timmy and Sandy were standing by it. A mechanic was near them and he had just fixed all four tyres. “Where were you?” asked Sandy, “You said that you were gonna get help and there has been no sign of you for the last two hours. What happened?” Mikey didn’t respond. He looked at himself; there were no signs of blood on him. “Nothing!” he replied.

They got back into the Dodge with Timmy at the wheel and Mikey alone in the back. The rain had stopped and they were back on the road. As they drove a bit, Mikey saw an old house in the distance. A little nearer to the road, he saw the old man with one eye smiling at him. A sharp pain rose in his right arm. His face became pale as he grabbed Timmy’s shirt. Timmy stopped and asked what happened? Mikey pointed in the direction of the old man and then Timmy said “I don’t see anything. Must be a figment of your imagination” and drove on.

“A figment of my imagination?” thought Mikey as he looked at the old man. The old man had a sickle in his hand!!!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Action of the Day # 3

Don't be Lazy!!! Get up and get going!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Second Chance

There he was, a smart young fellow of 27, earning a decent five figure salary in a FMCG company. He was a happy guy, wife, two kids (twins). A typical normal middle class family with hopes and dreams of making it big. A small happy family.

Then it all came down as the hard raindrops in a thundershower. The glass of reality shattered their existence. It was but over. But what happened?

He lost his job. He was fired on the spot. Why?
One reason: He had been to prison. He pleaded with all his managers. He had realized the sins that he had committed and he had been punished for the same. He said that he had turned over a new leaf since then. No one believed him. Why??? He was lost. He didn’t know what to do.

He left the company and slowly walked home. What was happening to him? He was very depressed and distressed. Hadn’t he been punished enough for his sins? Hadn’t five years been enough? Five years for what?

2000… His Story
I had fallen into bad company. Well actually to me it wasn’t all that bad a company though everyone around me told so. We were having fun and enjoying life. Gradually we began to realize that the fun part was getting really expensive. We were running out of money…and fast. We couldn't ask our parents too much more. I was still twenty with a billion dreams and aspirations in my head. J insisted that to get to our dreams we shouldn’t give up on our lifestyles. So what do we do? M suggested that we rob the newly opened bank and diamond store ZZZ.

Well. To be frank, we found it to be really funny. A big Joke but, as we thought more about it, we realized that this was the only way. Hard work took ages to provide fruits of success.
So we decided to rob the store. We chuckled to ourselves the concept of having a diamond store and a bank at the same location. More loot for us at one shot, we thought.

The plan was laid out for a day where there would be visibly less crowd, sometime mid month. We were 8 guys. The plan was laid out like this:
2 to rob the diamonds' section, 3 to rob the bank, one of whom was to hold the manager hostage, one lookout if anything went wrong and two guys in separate vehicles for the getaway.

And there we went….

It was a lazy Thursday afternoon. We arrived on schedule. Before you knew it, we had the whole situation in our hands. Everyone co-operated beautifully. Everything was going on great. We got the loot of diamonds and cash. Millions worth. Whoa! we were rich.

We were so happy that we made one crucial mistake. We forgot our hostage. Fifteen minutes was all we got of enjoying ourselves like one of the TV shows when suddenly the screen went blank.
Our tyres burst at a spike strip and before we could gain control, twenty police vehicles surrounded us. We were hauled up and taken away. In an instant, everything was gone. From Dawn to dusk, as they say, it was all over.

I spent five years behind bars. My original sentence of seven was reduced to five due to good behavior and I was released on Independence Day. The prison sentence had done its work. I didn’t want to go back. I decided to reform myself. Enough was enough. In the next few months, I got myself a decent job, got married as well. Atleast I hoped that a family would ensure that I didn’t stray again, no matter what.

The following year we were blessed with twins. Everything seemed to go so well. And then this happened.


Well isn’t the prison system designed to reform… Well then why don’t people accept it? If someone has been to prison, does that mean he is a criminal for life? Our hero continued his walk home. He didn’t know what else to do. Why didn’t anyone believe that he had reformed? He had a family for god’s sake!!! And the worse part is that there was nothing wrong in his job. He had done everything efficiently enough, even better than most people. A promotion was replaced by a dismissal. For what?

Thoughts of suicide entered his mind. But no!!! What would happen to his family? He decided that he would not give up. It wont be easy but he decided to keep trying. He got home and told the news to his wife. She was very supportive and encouraged him to go on trying. And so he kept on trying….

-------------------------------------Author’s Footnote-----------------------------------

The prison system everywhere is designed for reform. Then why is society so intent on not accepting a reformed ex-convict. Justice must be done. These people must be given a chance. Would you… yes you…not give your kids or loved ones another chance when they did something wrong? Then why not these people. A chance is what most of them ask for and a chance is what I think they need, nay, deserve in order to excel. Let us give them that much atleast.

Question of the day? # 5

Would you like to live in a real world or in a virtual world? Are the two worlds different?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Question of the day # 4

Are there good people and bad people or are there only good actions and bad actions?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Action of the day # 2

Save Paper!!!

Movie Review: 12 Angry Men(1957)

The Movie "12 angry men" is a 1957 classic starring an all male cast including henry fonda, e g marshall, joseph sweeney etc.

WARNING: Spoilers below!!!

The movie, which goes by the tagline "Life Is In Their Hands -- Death Is On Their Minds!",
is about 12 jurors who have to decide if a young boy of 18 is guilty of murder or not. The boy is charged with murdering his father and a guilty verdict would send him to the electric chair.

The movie begins with the 12 men on the jury leaving the court room and moving to the jury room to decide on the verdict. It starts with 11 people in favour of guilty and one (juror # 8 played by henry fonda) in favour of not guilty. The case seems simple. But the plot unravels more.

The discussions begin. Each character is portrayed quite brilliantly and the actors have done a marvelous job. Indeed, it is very difficult to find acting of this calibre in today's cinema.

The discussions proceed to and fro as the jurors fluctuate from their decisions. Some of the scenarios put up are worth any discussion in the way cases are handled.

One dialogue which stood out for me was, when during the break of discussions, juror #6 tells #8 in the restroom
"Imagine you manage to convince all of us that the boy is not guilty, and it really turned out that the kid knifed his dad. What would happen?"

Personal aspirations, prejudices, talks about baseball games, patience, anger are a few things one would encounter in the movie.

For more... watch the movie...

All in all, this 96 minute movie makes you want more. A brilliant juryroom drama which probes into people psychologies as well...