Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Origin of Pink Mushrooms

After a tiring week at the office, I felt like going out to the lake and having a break. I packed some food and took my sample collector to collect new specimens for research. It was a cloudy weekend and the lake was filled with lush green grasses after the rain. As I was searching for something interesting and new, I walked across the lake only to find the same old plants and insects. I did not lose hope and kept looking around. Suddenly, I found few mushrooms that have risen from the new rain. To my surprise, it was pink in color, something that I've never seen all my life. I wondered who on earth created it in such a color and why that color even exists (no doubt Mother Nature is a woman). In spite of my aversion to pink, it still looked pretty attractive. I sat down on the ground and took a closer look at it. Colored mushrooms are usually dangerous and might be poisonous. Hence I took my glove to collect a sample of it. As I was about to curb one of them, I heard a voice screaming "Hey hold on, do not try to steal my mushrooms!!”. 

I looked above and wasn't surprised to see a girl. As I walked towards her she looked me into my eyes and I was mesmerized over it. She stood there with a cute dimple on her cheeks and a well combed curly hair; as if she was posing for a photograph. I explained her that I had never seen a pink colored mushroom and I was only collecting a small sample for research. She smiled at me and said that she had invented them in her lab through genetic engineering. I felt amazed and told her that I was a researcher as well. I saw an element of surprise on her face and her sharp eyes that would throb any man’s heart. She introduced herself as Neha and told me that she was also happy to meet a fellow researcher and invited me to her lab. I accepted her invitation and walked down the street for a few minutes before reaching an old garage. The inside of the garage was simple. She then opened a door on the floor that led us downstairs. Everything after that was just fascinating. She had a new technology in place to scan her identity. The system scanned her skin for chemicals and microbes to identify her. It was so huge with many researchers working there. I told her how amazing it was and I would love to have a lab like this. She told me that there was a competition going on and I could come work in the lab if I wished to. I asked her for more details.

She was interested in genetic engineering and protein expression. Pink was her favorite color and she had created these pink mushrooms in her college lab by accident. However it was not possible to recreate the mushrooms for some reason. She took this up with several researchers but they were of no use and only made her more depressed. Her father who was worried looking at his daughter like this decided to hold up a competition. He had given advertisements stating that whosoever shall create pink mushrooms will be awarded with 1 million rupees. That is why he built this huge lab where researchers could come and work. A lot of researchers tried and failed. She asked me if I was up for the challenge. I agreed for it and had to sign an agreement for non-disclosure. I told her that I would come there during the weekends and work on this. The first weekend arrived; I entered the lab and was shocked to see that there were 50 other fellow researchers (competitors) along with me. All of them were ahead of me by weeks, some by months and a few by years. Everyone had a separate locker to keep their protocols and samples safely. We hardly spoke with each other as everyone saw the other as their competitor. For me, it was the girl more than the money. A few months passed by and I came to know that one of the guys gave up. After a few months two more left the lab while a few more joined the competition. Months passed by and I was nowhere near the pink mushrooms. But I managed to get near to her heart. She too liked me and helped me with research at times. A lot of jealousy spread across the lab among others because of this.

One fine day while at office, I received a forward message in WhatsApp group. It was the picture of a guy who was missing. It’s not so unusual that I receive such forward messages but I felt that I had seen him somewhere. I realized he was one of my fellow researchers working in the lab. I called the other guys and asked if they knew any details about him. We tried calling his number but to no avail. We never heard back from him and neither did his parents. A few months later, there was news on the TV that a guy was found dead in the lake where I use to go for the weekend. Shockingly he happened to be another guy working in the lab who just left recently. I grew suspicious that something might be happening to those who leave the lab. I knew a guy who was about to give up on his challenge. I managed to steal his spectacles and placed a micro GPS tracker in it. With this I was able to track his whereabouts. A few days later, the device tracked him to a region under the lake. I tried calling him but his number was not reachable. My suspicions grew bigger and I analyzed his tracking data. As I followed his footsteps and walked a few meters, I stood ahead of a huge building. From there, I tracked him to the middle of the lake. I also found that the building belonged to the girl’s father. I asked Neha if the guy came to her house and she told no.

As my suspicions grew bigger, it was time to take things on my own hand. I didn’t want to tell her about all this. The next day, I told Neha that I was occupied with other things during the weekend, so I would not be able to continue with this challenge. She tried her best to convince me to stay back in the lab but I stood on my word. Her face grew pale and so did my heart. I knew she too was in love with me. With a broken heart she took me to her father and told him that I had to withdraw from the competition. Their house was huge and had many servants to take care of it. He was happy that people were working hard in the lab to create those mushrooms for her daughter. He looked very kind and polite too. She told me that her father was a great man and had recently donated a huge sum for the school in their neighborhood. As we were speaking, she received a call from one of her friend. She left me with her father and told that she will be back soon. After few hours of talking, he invited me for a dinner at their house next week. A week passed by and I went to their home for dinner. One of the servants invited me to the dining room but Neha was nowhere to be found. Her father saw me looking out for her and told me that she had gone out on an important work and asked us to continue without her. The dinner was a feast to my eyes and stomach. I ate so much that I felt dizzy, a few minutes after the dinner. It was like I fell asleep after that.

When I opened my eyes, I was back in the lab and could see everyone working. I started wondering what had happened. I went ahead to one of the researchers to ask them how I came here again. As I went near them, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  All of them were once working in the lab earlier and had already moved out of the lab. They told me that this was a trap. The girl’s father had built an identical lab underneath the lake. Anyone who decided to withdraw from the competition was brought here and made to work on the same for the rest of their lives. Anyone who tried to escape was killed by her father. Upon hearing this my suspicions proved to be true and everything came into picture. But it was too late since I got trapped in here and there was only one way out; the locked escalator. I went all around the lab to check if my phone was able to locate any network. There was no luck with that. I was exhausted after a while and started thinking about her. I felt bad that she didn’t know that her father was a devil inside. I heard someone opening the escalator door and badly wished that it was Neha but it wasn’t her; it was her father. As I ran towards him, he stopped me and said that he would do anything for his daughter’s dream to become true. As I was losing hope of escaping from here, Neha opened the escalator door and stood ahead of us. She had followed him and couldn’t believe her father was into this. After an hour of argument she told him how much she loved me and begged him to let me free along with others. He said that there were only two options for me to leave this place, either to recreate the pink mushrooms or escape dead. He was not ready to change his mind whatsoever. 

As Neha and I stood helpless, she looked at my eyes and said “Don’t you have any intentions to get married? Why don’t you recreate them for me so that we could get married?”. I loved her so much but I did not want to get trapped in this lab. She asked it over and over again. Her voice kept raising as she came closer. I felt that my life was doomed forever. I felt a sudden jerk and opened my eyes. "Don’t you have any intentions to get married? I asked you to check this girl's profile an hour ago and you are day dreaming with your laptop. What's wrong with you? She looks cute with those dimples just like yours. Isn't her dress so pretty, especially with those gorgeous pink colored mushrooms?" As my mom woke me up, I was happy to realize it was just a dream. “Mom, let me better search for a girl who is not fond of pink. I don’t want my life to be doomed forever”. My aversion towards pink had grown a lot bigger now.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

A father in disguise

Raj: Ma she looks so cute and lovely. I have got someone to play with at home.
Ma: Yes dear. She's our new princess. You have to take care of her.

I was so happy that I have got a sister to play with. I told everyone in my school about it and they were happy too. Everyday after I return from school, I spend all the time with her as it was not only happy but also a way to avoid my homework.

Raj: Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap
Ma: Raj !! How many times have I told you not to take that to her room. 
Raj: Ma it's boring and I don't have anything to do. This is the best game at the moment.
Ma: No. Look at her, she's screaming. You are scaring her.
Raj: Just a few minutes and I will be done.

A few days later..

Ma: Raj, I am cooking here. Can you go and see why she's crying.
Raj: Ok Ma. Will check her out.

I went there and  couldn't find anything. I stood there for while, she stopped crying and I came out of the room.

Raj: Ma, she is alright now.
Ma: Good. Look at your hands...
Raj: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.......
Ma: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah......

I ran outside to get rid of it out of my hands.

Raj: Are you scared of it as well?
Ma: Yes, from my childhood.

As months passed by, many guests came to meet our princess Hema. She was so adorable. Our house was filled with gifts and all of us were so happy for a few years until that one day. That is when I began to realize that the center of attention has turned away from me, towards her. Everything she asked for was made available for her. She had more clothes than me and even more toys than I did. I started feeling that she was more important than me. I started moving away from her and there started my hatred on her. We hardly speak and even if we do, I would manage to get a good fight with her. As years rolled by it only became worse and I have almost reached my college now. New place, new friends and like always new love stories.
Sham: Raj, one of my friend is in some trouble. Can you help me?
Raj: Sure. What's the matter?
Sham: We need to kick some ass.
Raj: What are you talking about?
Sham: There's this guy who is following behind my friend's girl for quite some time.
Raj: Who? And which girl are you talking about?
Sham: Will tell you later. My friend loves her but the girl doesn't know about it yet. Will you help me bash that guy who's following her lately? It will help him earn her love.
Raj: Yep, what are we gonna do?
Sham: So here's the plan. (whispering). We take him out tomorrow in the evening.

We took him out and bashed him as planned. We celebrated with a treat from his friend and I returned home.

Hema: Na, I have bought something for you. Close your eyes and give me your hand.
Raj: For me? It's ok. You can give it to me.
Hema: No. Close your eyes and give me your hand.

As I closed my eyes unwillingly and gave my hand to her, she tied something on my hand

Raj: What is this for?
Hema: Today is Raksha Bandan and this is Rakhi. Don't you know?
Raj: I do know this is Rakhi but why do you tie it now when not in all these years?
Hema: It is because I have realized how much you love me.
Raj: Me? No way. You know what, I hate you with all my heart. You took everything away from me. Ma and Pa spend more time with you than me. All my toys became yours. All people who come home wanted to play with you and not me. For a long time I was left in a state of solitude because of you. I wish you never existed.

With tears rolling down her face,

Hema: But I love you so much and you are my superhero.
Raj: What!!! Can you come again...
Hema: Yes, you are my superhero. You remember that day you came to my room with that mosquito bat. I was not able to sleep because of those mosquitoes. They kept biting me all day. I warned them that my brother is gonna come to eliminate them. They you were, holding that mosquito bat like chota beem. As you smashed them one by one, they fell like leaves falling down the tree. I screamed with joy and slept happily.
Raj: Yeah I remember that. They did the same to me as well. I saw your hands filled with red spots. Didn't want to wait for our parents. So took the task in my own hands to save you.

Hema: On the other day, Ma was cooking food and I was lying in the cradle. There was a small cockroach running around the room and trying to get into the cradle. I couldn't do anything about it other than to cry. You heard it and came into the room, and took them out with your BARE hands. The best part was that you let it get onto your hands gently so that I was not disturbed. How courageous of you!!! But I heard you and Ma scream a while later. What was that about?
Raj: Ah, Mom and I were playing hide and seek.

Raj: You tie this today for what I have done so many years back?
Hema: Not just that. Though we don't speak much, you still care about me and protect me. Today when you bashed that guy in the street, I was so happy. He had been following me for a few days now. I couldn't say to our parents nor you. But you found it and bashed him. That's when I realized how much you love me.
Raj: I have you in my eyes at all times!!

Having realized that Sham's friend was looking out for Hema, I was in an urge to bash him as well.

Raj: Chappppppp...
Hema: What happened?
Raj: There was a monstrous red ant trying to munch your skin. I nailed it !!!!

As she burst into laughter, I hugged her and gave a kiss. After which, I made a promise to myself that I would be her superhero forever.

Hema: But you told me that you hate with all your heart?
Raj: Just kidding. I love you with all my heart.
Hema: Where are you going?
Raj: Have some unfinished business with a friend of mine (wink).

P.S - Happy Raksha bandhan to all. Dedicated to my Thangachi and cute little angel Hema.

Friday, 12 August 2016

Kill'em or be killed !!!

I woke up fresh in the morning as my biological clock triggered a wake up alarm inside my head. I was welcomed with a coffee from Nino, my new robot from Japan. He also cooked my food and took care of everything that I needed to start for work. Artificial intelligence and automation were at their pinnacle as I was enjoying the fruits of my ancestors' work. Whenever I read the diaries of my great grandfathers, I realize how much the earth has changed. One thing that hasn't changed much over so many centuries is war. There is always an invasion from other people living in distant planets across the universe. People were ready to kill others for their own survival. We were recently attacked by Juptians (from Jupiter) who moved out of earth just a century ago. They tried to steal the abundant wealth of knowledge present in our Earth. Since we were prepared for it, we managed to get away with a few robots lay down their lives defending.

With all the help from Nino, I started off to my work. I entered a long queue filled with people starting their day to the office. All of us were waiting for the Teleporter, our major source of transportation. As the Teleporter arrived, each person had to choose the location they need to be teleported to. Specific private locations with restricted access had to be chosen with a 6 digit code, followed by retinal scanning for authentication. There were lot of rumors about secret agencies and underworld criminals having their own private locations that remained unknown to most people. The wait was over as the Teleporter had finally arrived. The queue started moving slowly but steadily until it came to a halt for a while. It was due to a young lady who stood there long without choosing her location. As people started rushing her, she gave place for others in the queue to proceed before her. Once again the queue came to a halt and it was no surprise that it was her. As earlier, she let others pass through and this time was standing just ahead of me. I asked her if everything was alright and she remained quiet. I asked her once again and her answer was "I am not able to decide my destiny; do you want to help me out?". I couldn't understand what she was talking about and decided to remain quiet. When her turn just arrived, she decided to type the location code. Once the retinal scanning was completed, she was ready to enter the Teleporter. She slipped while entering the teleporter and I tried to get hold of her. I was pulled along with her into the system and while I was wondering how it was possible, we reached her destination. Upon reaching, I yelled at her, "What have you done to me?". Smiling innocently, she said "It was you who tried to hold on to me". Her mesmerizing smile was enough to persuade me out of my feeling of having lost a day to work.   

As I was floating in the dream of her smile and moved ahead, I was awakened by a sign that read "Are you ready to kill?". I was a vegetarian from birth and didn't even wish to kill an ant for that sake. After taking a deep breath, I looked at her with a scare on my face. She smiled upon me but this time it wasn't enough to take the scare out of my face. I told her repeatedly that it was because of her that I landed in this strange place. Looking at my face turning red, she winked at me saying "That's destiny for you, my dear". I insisted that we should leave this place immediately. Hearing me say that, a man nearby laughed at us saying that we could only leave this place as dead. A few guards standing near the sign board looked at my behavior and asked us if we reached here by mistake. While I opened my mouth to say yes, she stamped on my feet and told the guard that we were completely aware of where we stood. I started wondering what I have done to myself in trying to help her. She held my hand and promised that I will be safe with her. Our eyes were soon tied as we were being taken to meet the head of the place. I could hear people screaming and running. My heart started beating abnormal like it never did and she could feel it. Every time I felt nervous, she held my hand firmly. What a wonderful moment it was to have her hold my hand and being scared at the same time. After a few minutes, we came to a halt and our eyes were untied. 

I was taken aback of what was happening around. People were looking happy, laughing at each other, screaming and running around. I couldn't understand anything that was going on. As my eyes were wandering around the place trying to find cues, an old man came and sat in front of us. He looked at us and asked in a huge voice "Are you fellas ready to kill?". I thought to myself, "Oh no, not again". He told us that there will be training from the next day and we can rest for now. I was happy that I would be alive for one more day. We were allotted two separate rooms filled with basic amenities and food. All the while she could feel the scare in me but never uttered a word. Even if I tried to question her, the only reply I always got was her smile. Though it looked mesmerizing, I felt it like the devil's smile on me. We had our food together and it was time to hit the bed. As I left her unwillingly, she held my hand for one last time and said "Don't worry, Ill take care of you". Those words were my only source of hope from a stranger with whom I've been hanging around for almost a day. I couldn't sleep the whole night thinking about what I would be trained upon, whom I should kill and what would happen if I got killed. Soon I got into the thought of her cute little face and mesmerizing smile. That helped me fall asleep for the night.

It was early morning and I was awaken before my biological clock did. I was told to get ready as our master was expected to arrive soon. Both of us got ready and our master arrived. He inquired about our stay in the place and if we were ready for training. I was forced to say yes, even though I never was. I knew this was my end and that I couldn't do anything about it. He told us that the training will last for two months and we will be ready to kill by then. What a sigh of relief it was after hearing him utter the word "two months". I was so happy that I have earned two more months of license to be alive. It was soon ruined when he said that after two months of training, we will be killed if we don't kill. Our training had thus started. We were given training for two months on all skills required to kill. On the final day of the training, our master gave a final chance to ask questions to him. She asked him, "do you think it is easy to kill our ego, lust, jealousy, anger, fear and greed any sooner?". He replied that love is the only answer to kill them all and if we did not manage to kill them, we would end up killing ourselves. I interrupted to ask "where in this place can I find love?". With a gentle smile on his face, he replied "she's right next to you". As I turned my head towards her, she winked at me saying "That's destiny for you, my dear".