Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cursed

Run, hurry up. Run for your life.

What's going on, asked a young man accompanied by a blonde girl?

There’s no time to explain, just run if you want to live, an old lady screamed at the couple.

Couple waited for a couple of seconds and looked around. There was chaos everywhere, people were screaming and running.

What's the matter asked the young guy once again?

There's a tiger on loose, replied the old lady.

The young couple ran without wasting any time and took a shelter.
How can a tiger be on loose in a city like this?

Aa aa aa, someone please save me, please help me, help me, help and the crying voice of a young lady faded in distance.

The old lady wiped her eyes and stood up and walked out of the shelter.

Get back, the tiger can still be out there.

No, he’s gone. He got what he came for.

What do you mean he got what he came for?

You seem to be new here. Are you visiting or settling down here?

We are tourist. We heard about this secluded beautiful city so we planned a weekend trip along with one other couple friend of ours.

Beautiful city, the old lady commented sarcastically and laughed.

Why are you laughing, asked the young lady?

This used to be a beautiful place to live a long ago. But now it is just a city of old people and horrifying stories.

What horrifying stories?

This city is cursed. Every 5 months a young woman from this city gives a birth to a dead child and dies and within few minutes this tiger attacks and takes away the baby. Once he takes the baby far away from everyone, he returns back for his next victim and takes another young women from the city with him and the next day woman is found somewhere in the jungle.
Within couple of months, the woman gets pregnant and gives birth to a child and everything repeats again.

This is ridiculous. Humans don’t give birth in 5 months and what is the relation of birth with a tiger hunt? 

You don’t get it do you, asked the old lady. The tiger takes the young woman from the city as his mate and returns at the time of the birth of his cubs.

What rubbish, said the young man. This is all made up and you people are mad. You should contact Forest Preservation Authorities to take care of this wild tiger.

What do you think, didn’t we think about it and tried? We did everything possible. Forest officers were appointed. Several came in the last 5 years, some died mysteriously, some ran away, some didn’t show up and the last that came was found in uncountable pieces spread across the city roads.
Some say that it is a tortured and disturbed soul taking revenge and others say that the city is doomed. No one knows the reality. But people who have witnessed this incident say that they saw a half tiger half man creature holding newborn cub in his teeth and running towards the jungle and then coming back to the city and taking young females dragging them with their legs in his jaw. Some even chased the tiger to help those women but no one ever saw either the tiger or the woman until next morning. They say, he doesn’t kill them but rapes them and leave them for the birth. Some women even tried to kill themselves but no one succeeded. Couple of them died but magically came back to life. Some even ran out of the city but somehow the next morning they found themselves back in the city. It is said that once a woman gets attacked by the creature, she is destined to deliver a baby in next 5 months and die.

The young couple listened with concern and then the girl asked, what happens to the newborns?

The old lady turned towards the girl and replied, some believe that the creature takes those babies with him and kill them and others believe that the creature is hiding them somewhere and growing his monstrous family. No one ever found any baby.

Why don’t you people leave this place then, asked the man?

We all have tried but it seems that we all are cursed along with the city and no matter what we do and how far we run, we end up here again.

Tringggggggggg Tringggggggg….and I woke up to turn off my alarm. Yes, it was my last night’s dream. When I woke up, I thought to myself, what an awful dream but looked like a theatrical trailer of some horror suspense thriller fantasy dark movie. I can’t recall if I ever saw or read anything similar to this lately which could have left an impression in my subconscious mind. Whatever, it was a weird dream but an interesting one. I thought to add some side lines to this story but then I decided to write it the way I dreamed and remembered when I woke up. This is the reason why the story is not connected everywhere and is kind of brief up. The dream probably would have lasted for 10 minutes or so but in that subconscious state, it looked like a long day incident. I wonder what what is my mind thinking these days and what else it has in its repository to show.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Little Workshop

Every person has some or the other way of busting their stress and refreshing their senses. Some workout, some eat and some cook, some go for a drive, some write, some watch movies and some sleep, some even spend hours over phone with friends gossiping every and anything and then there are some who like to wander the streets of market and shop. I sketch and paint. I am not good at it but I wouldn't disagree with the feedback I have got from others that I do fairly fine with my hands. My parents keep telling that I should collect them and put them for an exhibition but I know for that level, I need to walk a long path and am quite in the beginning stage. But one day, I hope I can put up a small display for the appropriate audience.

Lately, I've been busy on a short project of my own painting characters of Avatar - The Last Airbender animation series for my nephews room. I am totally enjoying every bit of this project. On an average it takes me about 4 hours to complete one Canvas that includes priming the canvas and waiting for it to dry, drawing the sketch and then painting the colors. Here is a glimpse of the original image and the one on Canvas painted by me.

  





Two more to join the collection, Sokka and Toph. Hopefully, I should be able to complete them in next 15 days.

At first, I thought to work with Oil paints but then realized that it would be too much involvement in that and the canvas that I complete in 4 hours would probably take 2-3 days. Instead, I picked Acrylics. They are smooth, fast to dry and long lasting, unlike Oil paints that tend to get dull and yellowish with age because of the oil.

People have been asking me for quite some time now, if I've been drawing and painting for long or just started. Did I take any classes or course? So I thought to answer here and give them a glimpse of my mini workshop.

Yes, I have been sketching and drawing since I was a kid. I have been blessed to have got autograph from "Mr. R.K.Laxman", India's greatest cartoonist, on a greeting card that I painted for his welcome event in my school back in early 90s. I never took proper arts classes and it's one thing I sometimes regret about that I should have taken classes and pursued my interest in professional way but I am glad that the interest hasn't died with my growing age.

Events in past few months have kind of worked as elixir to me in the process of revival of my hobby that had become dormant for a long time. Trip to Paducah, KY on 2011 year end worked like a spark. Every nook and corner in Paducah has astounding art work done by some amazing local artists and the site at river side is just jaw dropping. You can see paintings all over the walls from the time of Civil war to Nuclear industry establishment, World War to Rail network development in US. It's like walking by the History lanes and taking a glance of how things changed in US in last 100 years.

After I came back, the first thing I did was buying good colors, canvases, easel and a set of basic brushes and in past few months, I have made several rounds to Hobby Lobby and Michaels, two best stores for getting art supplies in US. Spent hours on internet to understand different kinds of paints, pros and cons of using acrylics and oils, wandered in the aisles of city Library few times and grabbed books on basic art techniques using acrylic, oils, brush strokes, architectural designs, etc. I know it sounds like I studied so much but honestly speaking, I didn't become master or expert going through all this but I did learn some nice things and basics about arts and painting. I even once read a book on Philosophy and Psychology of Paintings across the World. It was a nice find in the Library. It tells about how in different parts of the world, people used drawings and paintings to depict things and express their thoughts and how over the period of thousands of years, art changed and matured.

So here I am today, glued to my re-discovered passion and trying my hands on and making use of time in hand. A wise man once said, it's never too late to realize your dreams and start working on them.
 
 

Friday, April 20, 2012

2012 - An year of Travel & Exploration


What an awesome year it has been so far with travels and seeing new places, meeting new people, knowing more cultures, learning more things and becoming more mature every day with things in life. Yet my close and dear ones still think that I should move on. For crying out loud, I don't understand this stupid saying of people "you should move on". What in the name of God it means? Anyways, that's a complete different and pretty sensitive topic and definitely not part of this post. I know I am moving on and am content with my decisions.

So coming back to the topic, way back in Oct 2011, when I made my India trip after 3 years, I decided that I have to make year 2012 special and have to see as much of the world as I can. Well, World is quite big and surely would require many years of exploration but there has to be a start to the project so I started with the country I am residing currently, USA. Since returning from India, my home has become a Hotel for me and roads and air has become my partner in crime. Flying to family on Christmas, taking a Train trip with friends to Southern Illinois and flying to California for work, has all been in the agenda to end 2011. Thanks to my company that they gave me an opportunity to fly to one of my clients on West coast and see California. I spent almost an entire month of January in Southern California, met some really wonderful people and experienced lovely places, made new friends not only from US but from UK too.

Last weekend, I made a road trip to Kansas to see a very extended family of mine which amused some of my colleagues at office quite a bit because they couldn't digest the concept of taking so much of pain of driving 500 miles one way spending 8 hours on the road to meet someone who is like in-laws to my cousin sister. Whatever, I didn't mind about that coz' I know these things are usually found in cultures like India where every second person on the street is an aunt or an uncle :). Well the drive was smooth, took 7 and half hours for me to cover the distance and for the first time in 5 years, my car probably thanked me for giving her the opportunity of flying on the road. There isn’t much scenic to add to the drive but still I managed to capture couple of pictures of sunset and the roads while driving.


There wasn't much in Kansas City to see but the fact that I met a known one after so long was amazing in itself. I must say, the couple I met is one of the best couples I have met in many years with their Hospitality, affection and friendliness. I'm glad that they are moving close to me in June, would be really a nice company to be with. I didn't have much time to explore Kansas City and surrounding areas, so it would be unfair to say that there isn't much to see but I guess my Host took me around everywhere in Kansas City which covered both Kansas state side and Missouri state side. For gambling people, there are more than couple of places to gamble, for food lovers, there is quite a few options to explore and for others city has couple of things to offer for a decent evening life.

For art lovers like me, there is Nelson-Atkins museum.
 (Outside Nelson-Atkins museum)

The return drive was an adventure. After a night of tornadoes in Midwest that caused a loss of about $260 million dollars to one of the known cities of Kansas, Wichita, and God knows how many others, I knew it would be an interesting drive, especially when I was driving in the bull’s eye. First 350 miles of drive was nice in bright sun but extremely windy weather. The last 150 miles, only I know how I drove. Stormy rain and no vision forced me to slow down my car from 80 mph to 50 mph. At one point of time I even thought of stopping but on the second thought, who wanted to get stranded on road in mid of corn fields with no clue as to when this rain would stop, so kept moving on the road like a snail. I hated those monster trucks when I had to overtake them. I was driving in 5% vision and overtaking these trucks was like passing through Death valley with no vision at all, water splashing all over your car and the truck's force against you pushing you hard and slowing you down. I spent almost 15 minutes to overtake first 3 trucks but then I realized that if I have to overtake them, I need to zip speed my car so that I spend least time driving parallel to them and be tortured. Trust me it's scary when you are driving at 80 mph crossing a mammoth truck and have no vision. Fortunately, I made it to home in one piece.

July is planned for a week vacation with family in Wisconsin and hopefully something would be planned for the May long weekend as well with friends. I wonder which Destination would be calling me next. My bags are pack and I am ready to explore.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nightmares


… It’s about midnight and the train is pacing on the track making a loud cranking sound of steal and wood every time the track joint was pushed down by the hard metal wheels. A young boy of about 4-5 years of age sleeping on the top berth of the cabin wakes up in haste and looks down at his sleeping family. Should I wake up mom or dad, or should I get down and go to washroom by myself and not disturb anyone, the young boy thinks for a minute and then decides not to wake up anyone and help himself. He slowly turns on the seat and position himself to step down the small stair attached to the top and middle berth. As he steps down, he notices that not a single light is lit in the entire bogie and every single person was in deep sleep. The boy steps down and touches the floor and rubs his eyes to acclimate himself with the darkness of the corridor. He starts walking towards the restroom at far end of the bogie touching and holding each lower berth of every cabin he passes to avoid tipping over. The weather outside is cold and foggy and as the train paces faster, the wind starts making scary sounds. The boy recollects himself and reaches the end of the corridor and as he steps his foot next to the main door, the floor beneath him opens up and he falls down …


5 years ago I thought, I finally got rid of my recurring yearly nightmare that drove me crazy every night it came and scared me to the death. It wouldn’t be any exaggeration if I say that I used to see myself walking in the clutches of Death and waking up drenched in sweat and fear in mid of the night.

For a very long period of 10-12 years, every year in the month of September or October, I used to have this dream, a dream in which I saw myself walking to the hilt of dying but never saw how the end looked like because every time at the same point in my dream, I used to wake up in pain and fear. Yes, it’s hard to believe but I had one such dream just once every year and only in the month of September and October. Every single thing about the dream was same every time I witnessed it.

For all those years, I wondered, if there was any truth and reality in that dream or my mind was projecting a mixture of different thoughts collected by my brain. Was there any correlation of that dream to my life, could it be related to my past life, I don’t know. All I knew was that I was afraid of it. I thought to share this with my family but was afraid that they would ignore by saying that it’s just a dream and nothing else. I even thought about sharing this with my friends but they probably would have laughed and made fun of me. So I never shared this with anyone.

I guess, it was just my mind and its funny way of showing things from its repository of life and instances. I was glad that it was over and I was not tortured by it anymore until last night when I had another dream but this time it wasn’t me and it wasn’t the same dream. Though, the dream plot was still in a train and I was a part of it but not the victim. What I dreamt this time was even more scary than what I used to because this time it wasn’t me who was falling off the train but someone very close to my heart and the worst part is that this time I didn’t wake up abruptly missing the climax but I saw him crying in agony and pain and covered in blood screaming for his family.

I hope this dream doesn’t turn out to be another recurring nightmare of my Life.