OMG,…Im in love…
OMG,…Im in love…
(via Wooster Collective)
There are just so many ways to express one’s disdain for the Krebs Cycle.
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity of meeting a person, who is (to me) nothing short of a genius. He is full of humor, energy, and an extremely interesting person to listen to (he also happens to be a very successful doctor). The very first sentence that he spoke was this, ‘If you want to get recognized, dye your hair a funny color. People would look at you wherever you go.’
Those words left a deep impression on me. I started pondering on what can I do differently, that will be worthwhile for all mankind. Until I came across a person who literally dyed her hair a striking colour, that I would never have thought of (unless I was a Barbie doll / Lady Gaga) and thousands of people follow her blogspot. (Mind you, it wasn’t the hair colour which found her fame, rather it was the straightforward, honest and refreshing thoughts posted on her blog).
But, no. That is not an indication for me to dye my hair pink or purple. Or any other colour for that matter. Cos (1) I would look hideous in it (2) Because I work in a hospital, and the hair colour would actually speed up the process of patients dying out of shock (3) My dad wouldn’t allow it anyway.
So, what I could conclude was this. Do what you do best. You may not be able to attract a large crowd. But as long as you do it with passion, you will be recognized. For all those who think you don’t have any talents at all, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a talent. As long as it interests you, learn it, do it, love it !!
Just a visual to go along with the post, though she fits in perfectly !!
A short story
The narrow road seemed to stretch forever. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel to the beat of the music blaring from my car’s stereo, ‘ … en kitte iruppathellam than maanam onnuthaan’ (the only thing I have left is my pride) sang Banumathi’s heavenly voice. Old songs were certainly rejuvenating, like a breath of fresh air. Particularly songs penned by the great Tamil lyricist, also known as the ‘King of Poet’ Kannadasan.
It was almost 6 in the evening. Darkness was soon to fall. The fuel indicator was indecently approaching ‘E’, but I was no closer to my destination. My heart started hammering a well - known rhythm of worry, as an inkling of doubt formed in my head. What if the GPS is malfunctioning and I have been blindly trusting it?
According to the GPS navigation system, an added feature of my new Mahindra, a petrol bunk should be within 200m, but as far as I could see, there were only trees and bushes lining either side of the road. Cold sweat broke out from the nape of my neck, as I chided myself on my obstinate decision to travel alone to the medical camp in the interiors of Madurai.
The rhythm of worry topped a notch, not unlike a Metallica band performing within my rib cage. Taking a few deep breaths to compose myself, I reached out within my handbag for my iPhone. Perhaps I should call my peers who were supposed to be at the camp as well. They would be able to guide me. My heart sank at the ‘No signal - Emergency calls only’ displayed on phone’s home screen. Damn, cursing myself even more, I decided to continue trusting the GPS, as it was the only hope I had at the moment. A couple of minutes passed. I switched off the air – conditioner and wound down the window in a desperate attempt to save some fuel.
A couple more minutes passed. And I saw it. A dingy, run – down, petrol bunk, if that’s what we’re calling it, for it resembled more of a shabby tea- stall. Even the lights were flickering. Nevertheless, thanking all the angels and saints up above, I turned the wheels into the bunk.
Switching off the ignition, I bent over to the glove compartment to redeem my wallet, and that’s when I felt it. A chill penetrating its sharp claws into the very bones of my spine, completely unnerving me. It was as if I was being watched. I knew I was being watched. By someone. Or something. And it was in near proximity. Each and every sense of mine perked up. A warmth was spreading through my wound down window. A warmth that gave me goose bumps.
As I slowly turned, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a man staring at me, standing just beside the driver side door. A tight knot formed in the pit of my stomach, as helplessness spread through my entire body at the pace of lightning.
‘How much?’ He asked in a low, hoarse growl.
As the question slowly registered in my brain, I turned to face the man. He had wisps of grey hair on pretty much bald head , few strands of beard growing from his sharp chin, and one marble eye, giving me the impression of an one eyed pirate. I tried to answer him, but my tongue seemed to have stuck to the roof of my mouth.
He continued staring with his remaining good eye, waiting for my reply.
‘Full tank, please,’ my voice finally sought its way through.
The man left without saying a word. My breathing gradually became easier with each subsequent inhalation. I watched him at work via the side mirror of my car. He had the built of man succumbed to years of hard labour. His sunken cheeks, faded shirt with a few missing buttons, and the strong stench of cheap liquor emanating from his breath, indicated his bitter, perhaps somewhat lonely life. The more I watched, the more it unnerved me.
Reaching out for my wallet, I got down from my car and walked towards the cashier’s counter. Upon reaching the counter, I peered inside through the dirty window and realised that there was not a soul around, besides the creepy bunk attendant and myself. The attendant entered the small dingy building and reached for the cash register. Grateful for the barrier between us, I handed him the money.
‘No change,’ he grunted, continuing to stare at me through the dirty glass pane.
I fished in my pockets for some change and handed it to him. His stare was starting to annoy me.
He took the cash from my hand and counted it.
‘Alright, thanks,’ I said, and started towards my car.
I was halfway through the distance, when I heard heavy footsteps rapidly approaching me from behind. Without thinking, I took off at the speed of lightning toward my car, got in and locked myself inside. Fumbling my pockets for the keys, I turned on the ignition and reversed the car. The attendant reached the car, just as I started reversing at full speed. Not wasting any second, I sped off. I could see him frantically waving and shouting from my rear view mirror.
Shaking from head to toe, I was fluently cursing out aloud for my complete idiocy of wanting to drive alone. Praying for strength, I slowly started releasing my leg off the gas pedal and returned to normal speed.
Darkness had already fallen like a drape. It was pitch black. Turning on my head lights, I switched on the stereo again. KJ Yesudass was weaving his magic, but somehow I couldn’t shake off the eerie experience from my mind. It was as though the attendant’s eyes was still watching my every move.
‘Now that’s ridiculous Aru, even for you,” I voiced out, to emphasize the absurdity to my overactive brain.
‘This place has got to be the most isolated on the entire face of earth, there isn’t any sign of civilisation around,’ I thought to myself. As if in reciprocation, a roadside signboard, withered and its letters peeling off, it read , ‘Maharaja Motel - 500m’.
I pulled into a quite well kempt driveway of an old double storey mansion. The building seemed ancient, bearing the architecture of Britain days. However, it seemed to be quite well preserved.
I alighted from my car, walked up the porch stairs and rang the doorbell. It had started to drizzle. I waited for a full minute before ringing the bell again. This time the door opened almost instantly, and there stood a woman, in a red cotton saree. A surprised look fleeted across her beautiful face, but disappeared in a fraction of a second.
‘Welcome, maam, how may I help you?’ she asked, with a rather pained smile on her face.
‘Hi, do you happen to have any vacant room at the moment, I would like to stay the night and this is the only motel in miles,’ I said, even though deep down I knew, I had to be the only customer in recent times, judging by the lady’s initial expression.
Her expression softened, ‘Of course, but I need to look at some credentials before allotting a room, it’s…uhm… formality,’ she replied.
‘Yeah sure,’ I said, handing her my hospital ID card and my driver’s license from my handbag. It seemed to have reassured the lady as she immediately escorted me inside.
“Muthu…,’ she called out loud, as she ran across, what seemed to be a vast waiting area, towards the a small antique desk, which I presumed to be the receptionist desk. ‘Muthu..,’ she called again.
I advanced towards the desk.
“I am sorry maam, but business is a bit dull lately and I don’t know where this servant had gone,’ she answered in Tamil, looking a little forlorn and excited at the same time, if that was possible.
‘It’s ok. I can wait. Do you serve dinner?’ I asked, realizing the rumbling noise of my stomach.
‘Im sorry maam, the part time cook has gone home for the day , but I can prepare some light snacks for you,’she answered. I realised that her accent was quite different from what the locals of Madurai spoke.
A good ten minutes passed, as I chose a room with a master bath and handled the monetary transactions, explaining to her why I was caught in this middle of nowhere at this hour of the night.
‘Muthu….,’ she called out again, getting more exasperated. ‘Sorry maam, do you have a big luggage to be carried upstairs, because I don’t know where this servant has vanished, I could give you a hand though.’
‘That’s ok. I can handle it,’I said.
The doorbell rang, exactly at that moment, making us both jump. And I saw the look of surprise and apprehension on her face again, though it was only for a moment.
‘Funny, I never had any customers in months, and suddenly I have two in a day,’ she said, with an unconvincing amused tone.
‘ I’ll go with you, I need to get my luggage too,’ I said, sensing that it must not be easy to live alone with a runaway servant, in this lonely place. I made a mental note to have some small talk with the woman later, after refreshing myself.
A tall man in his thirties with unkempt hair, wearing a grey coat twice his size, trousers pulled up to his midsection and held in place with a battered belt, was standing at the doorstep.
‘Good evening maam, I need a room for the night,’ he said, in Tamil. I scrutinized the expressionless pale brown eyes of the man, who must have been better looking in his younger days.
The woman, however, did not reply immediately.
When she did, she asked him for his credentials, just like she did with me.
The man reached out for his wallet from his grey and green striped, knitted shoulder bag, which looked just as battered as him, he took out what looked like a driver’s license and handed it to her.
She scanned through the card, Ramakrishnan Murthy was the name. She seemed to be convinced and led him inside. I retrieved my luggage from the car and went up to my room. It had been such a long day.
The mansion had to be at least a hundred years old. There were two staircases leading down from the second floor where my room was situated. I decided to take the stairs further away from me as I would have a chance to look around. The mansion amazed me. The architecture was simply breath – taking and very well preserved considering the fact that there were only the caretaker woman, the vanishing servant and a part time cook. This mansion could be the answer to anyone who needed some getaway from the hectic life style of the big city albeit with a little more upgrading and public relations. Good food, hospitality and some activities would be a great make over for this place.
On my way to the staircase, I passed by what seemed to be a large study. A mahogany desk was perched in the corner with matching chairs, a few cosy arm chairs were placed in the centre of the study in a semi – circle and hundreds of books lined the cabinets behind it. The cabinet stretched the entire length and width of the room. I itched to get my hands on the books. Reading happened to be a timeless addiction of mine. I had a feeling that the books had not been perturbed in quite some time. The staircase was just a little beyond the study, right opposite another room.
As I walked pass the study and the room, I could have sworn that I heard the door knob twist from the inside. I stopped and glanced over at the door, but it did not budge. My head started reeling. There were not supposed to be any other occupants in the mansion besides myself and the man called Ramamurthy. And I recalled him asking for a small room in the ground floor itself due to his bad knee.
I let out a small sigh. Maybe my mind was still over active given the nasty experience that I had just been through. As I descended the stairs, I started wondering why did the petrol bunk attendant run at me without warning, and what was he shouting frantically at me for? Did I somehow mistakenly pay him less? If that was the case, he could have told nicely, why did he run at me for? Something just didn’t click and I was intrigued. Maybe I should ask the caretaker lady about the petrol bunk and its attendant. She might know something.
The caretaker had prepared ‘thosa’ , ‘tomato chutney’ and some egg sandwiches for dinner. I was hungry enough to eat anything she put down on the dining table. I asked the caretaker to join me, which she happily did. We were having some small talk about ourselves while eating. I learned that her name was Sharada and she was from Southern Tamil Nadu. She has been the caretaker of the building for more than 5 years now. Apparently, about 2 years ago, the owner of the property had died and it was handed down to his children who were settled in States. Since then, they had not taken any active interest in developing the property and business has somewhat reduced drastically due to the lack of budget.
Just at that moment, Ramamurthy entered the dining hall. Sharada politely invited him to join us, but he declined, took a seat at the far corner of the long dining table and stared at us. Perplexed at his behaviour, I decided to finish up my dinner and excuse myself. Without warning, I felt the same eerie feeling that I felt in the car. Silence hung in the room, so thick that you could even taste it.
To make the situation lighter, Sharada started conversing with the man.
‘How did you come here? I didn’t see any car outside,” she asked.
‘My car broke down, I hitched a ride,’ he answered, curtly.
‘But there are hardly any travellers coming by using this road. It’s quite deep in the outskirts of the city,’ she pried further, confused with his answer which didn’t make any sense. I for one, agreed with Sharada, as for miles, I did not encounter any other cars on the road.
‘I know…,’ he said. Sharada and I started getting more and more uncomfortable. Wishing that she never started the conversation, I decided to say good night , when he looked straight at me and said, ‘I hitched a ride in her car, she was the only one to pass by in hours.’
Too shocked for words, I stared blankly at him and Sharada, glancing from one to another.
‘Is this sumkinda joke, cos it aint funny man,’ I said, raising my voice.
‘I didn’t hurt you. I needed a ride desperately. If I asked you wouldn’t let so I crept into your car quietly at the petrol bunk. The crazy attendant saw me and almost screwed up everything, but luckily you didn’t stop to ask what it was.’
My heart started hammering the familiar metallica music. I wasn’t sure at how I should react. This man was not normal. Not normal is an understatement. God knows how dangerous he is. I gave him a cold stare, excused myself to Sharada and went up to my room.
My mind was so boggled, and I desperately needed some sleep. I took a Valium to calm my nerves, locked the bedroom door and went to bed, promising myself never to judge people by their appearance anymore. Intending to get out at the first break of sunlight, I closed my eyes.
After about forty winks, I was stirred awake by loud voices. It sounded a little heated to me. I decided, against the small little voice inside my head, to check out what was it about. As I reached the bannister, I could sense that trouble was boiling down below. I could hear Sharada’s shrill voice pierce the still air of the night, like sharp ice, reverberating off the walls of the old mansion. Recalling the uncanny gawp that Rama gave her, I sprinted down the stairs, anxiety slinking through my entire being.
It took me a moment to register the scene unfolding before me. Sharada was kneeling on top of Rama, who was out cold on the floor. She was holding an exquisite bronze vase at arm’s length, that I remembered admiring on the antique desk earlier that night.
‘You’re a bad, bad man,’ she screamed, before bringing the vase down, heavy. She would have broken his skull, had it not been for my quick intervention. I convinced her to take few deep breaths and calm herself. Somehow, I managed to get her off the man and led her towards the antique desk.
‘He tried to attack me,’ she sobbed. ‘I shouldn’t have let him in.’
‘It’s ok…shhh…it’s ok now. I guess it is only wise to call the police. Let them take it from here. I’m here, calm down Sharada…,’ I reassured her, in soft, soothing voice, trying hard to suppress the inner drumroll that was fighting to surface. I reached out to the phone at the corner of the desk. I hardly took the receiver in my hand, when Sharada grasped my arm, startling me.
‘What if he comes around before the police gets here?’
I froze at her question. Of course, the police wouldn’t reach in time. This place is really in the interiors. Gawking stupidly at Sharada, I saw an amazing transformation in her. The scared look in her eyes was replaced by something else, an unreadable expression that made me more unsettled.
‘Ok. You call the police, I’ll go and find something to tie him with,’ I suggested quietly.
At that, she gave me a small smile. She took the receiver from my hands and proceeded to dial. I went into the kitchen and found some utility ropes in the back of kitchen cabinet. Dashing to the hall, I glanced at Sharada still talking quietly on the phone, facing her back towards me. I rushed pass her into the corner of the waiting area, where Rama lay.
I knew something was terribly, terribly wrong even before I approached the corner. It was as if I had walked into a nightmare, live and real. Rama’s unconscious form has vanished, as though into thin air. I felt my heartbeat quicken, cold sweat broke out from all over my body. Unable to stand still, I broke into a groggy run as I reached the antique desk. Sharada was just putting back the receiver.
‘He’s gone Sharada, his body is not there,’ I gasped.
Sharada’s eyes rounded in bewilderment as she looked at me.
‘We have to hide,’ she muttered under her breath, not taking her eyes off mine.
I nodded in agreement. She was familiar with every inch of the house. It was only pertinent to follow her advice. We started toward the stairs, creeping quietly, never daring to even breathe out aloud. Just as we reached the foot of the stairs, the lights went out, throwing us cruelly into pure darkness. As if in instinct, I clamped my hands over Sharada’s mouth to prevent her from screaming.
‘Quiet…,’ I hissed into her ears.
We ascended the stairs quietly, with me in the lead. I figured I should try to get my iPhone working and text or email my colleagues. Slowly, I crept towards my room. As I unlocked the door, as soundlessly as possible, I turned around to motion Sharada to enter, when I realised with a jolt that she wasn’t there. She was not behind me anymore. My heart thumping loudly, I shut myself inside the room, and grabbed my iPhone only to realise that the signal was still down. Fighting back the urge to break down in tears, I desperately tried to come up with a plan. I can’t just sit here and wait for the lunatic to find me. I can’t hide in my room, that would be the first place he would look to find me. And then it hit me. The study. It was the nearest and I could hide underneath the mahogany desk.
I grabbed my iPhone just in case I needed it, praying with all the fibers of my brain and heart, I listened hard at the door for any noise at all. Convinced, I turned the door knob and let myself out. I crept along the darkness, in the direction of the study. I entered the room and found my way through the pitch black surroundings toward the mahogany desk. I was about to sneak underneath the table, when I saw an outline of a phone on the table.
‘I should try calling my friends,’ I thought to myself. And maybe even call the police again and alert them on the grave situation.
I picked up the phone receiver and heard a recorded operator voice rattle, ‘Your telephone line is temporarily out of service due to the weather. We are sorry for the inconvenience.’
Damnit. I cursed under my breath as I placed the receiver back. It is inconvenient alright. I snuck under the table and hid, keeping my ears perked up for any sound at all. The night was eerily quiet inside the mansion, though it was raining cats and dogs outside. That’s when an appalling realization washed over me.
‘How did Sharada manage to call the police and talk to them if the line is out of service?’
I recalled the look on her face when I was about to call the police. She stopped me. I volunteered to check on Rama and that she make the phone call. That’s when her expression changed. Coming to think of it, the look resembled, sort of a relief. That’s why it didn’t make sense to me at that point. What was going on in this mansion? Why did she fake a phone call to the police? Isn’t she scared out of her wits? And where did she disappear to when we reached upstairs ? My head started to pound, my heart was thumping on par with it.
The sooner I left this place, the better. The thought of the grumpy, creepy bunk attendant seemed more welcoming at this moment. I have to get my car keys, my wallet and just get the hell out of this mansion.
I was in my room. I quickly stashed whatever I needed into my handbag. Made sure that my car key was in my pocket. I glanced over to all corners of the room. I don’t know why, but I did. I could tell that something was not right. Hell, nothing had been right the entire night. Inhaling deeply, I turned around toward the door, and rammed into something solid. Which was also warm. And breathing. Before I could scream, a massive hand clamped over my mouth and pushed me onto the bed. Something cold, like a metal was pressed against my temple. I realised it was a revolver.
He was kneeling on top of me. Rama. I could make out the outline of his body in the shades of the darkness.
‘Shhh…. Listen to me. Don’t say a word. Don’t try to fight me. If you do, I will shoot you..’ he breathed down my ears. For one moment, I could see the end of my life looming nearer and nearer.
‘Are you a doctor?’ he asked.
I nodded in answer.
‘Good. You don’t know the caretaker lady before this?’
Again I nodded, but sideways.
‘She is suspected to be a crazy, psychotic serial killer. I’m a police officer in charge of her case. Every customer who have stayed in this hotel, have disappeared inexplicably. We believe they never made it out of the door alive.’
My head was reeling from all the information spat out at me. Still unsure of whom to believe, I blankly stared up at the man who was supposed to be Rama, but is now a policeman. Slowly, he released his hand that was clamping my mouth and stood up. He helped me up.
‘I will help you get into your car. Drive away, never look back. My team will arrive here shortly. And we will take it from here. Do you understand me?’
‘Yes.’ I answered.
After what seemed like eternity, we were at the front door. Rama was trying to pick the lock in the light provided by my iPhone. I stood guard behind him, sick with worry that the light would give away our position. Just then, the lock clicked and Rama stood up, with a grim smile. He pushed me toward the door and said , ‘Hurry up. Drive away as …aaaarrrggghhhh….’
I screamed as I saw him slump to the floor. There she was, holding a kitchen knife bathed in blood, wearing a white saree, her eyes glinting maniacally with evil. She looked up at me and smiled. One wicked, toothy smile. And I couldn’t stop screaming.
I awoke with a start. Drenched in sweat. My heart was pounding rapidly. I felt dizzy. It was a dream. The most terrible nightmare that I have ever had in my life. It took me a moment to register my surroundings. I was in my room that I rented earlier that night, in the mansion. I must have fallen asleep and had the terrible dream. My iPhone flashed 5 missed calls. Heaving a sigh, I grabbed it. I texted my friend mentioning where I had put up and that I would be in the camp by tomorrow. Still unable to get rid of the uneasy feelings, I tossed and turned on my bed, when my message alert rang.
‘What?! Maharaja Motel?? Nooooo. U beta get outta thr fast. Now.’
I read and reread the message from my friend. Again and again. I was feeling queasy. That’s when I heard it. The heated sound of arguing voices from downstairs. I could distinctly make out Sharada’s shrill voice. My heart started its drum roll again. Oh God, was it a nightmare or a premonition???
* THE END *
This would be the first of what i hope to be an electronic trail of my thoughts. So readers, I welcome any constructive comments, be it good or bad. I would like to impress that everything stated in this page, would be my opinion on a variety of subjects, hence it may not necessarily be right or wrong. As long as im convinced of its worthiness, I ll post. Any inquiries, please don’t hesitate to shoot me back at ‘Any?.’
Happy reading !! And always, do take care.