The Rich Almighty

The Rich Almighty

Famous Lines of Sant Kabir “Moko Kahan dhoonde re bande, Main to tere paas mein. Na mandir mein, Na Masjid Mein.. Na kabe kailash mein. Main to tere paas mein bande. Main to hoon Vishwas mein “ State that “Where are you looking for me o human. I am inside you. I am neither in a temple nor in a mosque. I am inside you. i am in your faith “

Those who believe in God always state that he never differentiates. He is omnipresent and he is not biased towards his believer based on their wealth and the amount of donation the believer renders to his temple.

Even then we see V.I.P Lines in Siddhi Vinayak temple where celebrities get the darshan discreetly and are allowed to stay for as long as they wish to. Whereas commoners are ushered and pushed away as soon as they catch a glimpse of their deity .

The Focus today is on whether or not we should donate to temples. Does donating gold, valuables and cash to the temple work towards any cause. The Statues of gods are laden with Heavy jewelery. Does it make them more pious ?

According to a report from a mainstream media house named Dainik Bhaskar
The Appropriation of funds in some of the major temples all across India has come into questioning. The Trustees have not been maintaining their accounts and have not even done an audit for years.
Below mentioned are the basic figures of how much some of the major shrines are worth

1) Shirdi Sai Baba Temple – Gold and Jewellery worth 32 crores. Yearly income 350 crore in Donations .
2) Siddhi Vinayak temple mumbai- The dome over Lord Ganesha is 3.7 kg Gold and the temple gets 48 crore annually in donations
3) Vaishno Devi Mandir, Kashmir- A rough estimated income of 500 crore every year
4) Tirupati Balaji ,- The temple gets a whooping 650 crore in donations and the gold on the deity itself is 1000 kg
5) Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kerala- Gold Treasure worth 20 billion was found in this temple. There were sacks of diamonds and tonnes of gold jewellery mysteriously untouched for years
Public Figures like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Agnivesh and Baba Ramdev have come in support and stated that instead of donating money in temples. We should ideally take care of a poor child’s health and education. There are many below the poverty line who do not get basic necessities and helping them would please the Almighty even more.
God does not want our riches and materialistic mode of exchange

Have you ever read the small writing inscribed above the charity box in a temple.
In all likelihood it reads ‘All donations will go towards building the corpus of the temple fund”. They may even mention the names of the great benevolent souls that poured their heart out in charity. They may even mention the amounts that they had donated. But what they will never mention is what was that donation used for and how were those funds utilized. In india they say Charity should be done according to your willingness and Capability. But what they forget to tell you is that it should be done for a cause and not wasted in giving gold to a deity

From my perspective Shirdi Sai Baba would have been terribly hurt when a devotee donated him a golden throne. He was a true fakeer who had given up all materialistic things in his life. All his life he lived in a broken hut called Dwarka Mai which only had a pot of water in it as his belonging . He relied on the charitable food which his devotees prepared for him. He had left all worldly pleasures and hence we was known as a saint.
If he would have been alive. He would have utilized this golden throne donation for a true charitable cause and helped mankind.

Another aspect is Anonymous donations that add up to the temple corpus. Such donations are not considered as the temple’s income and hence the temple pays no tax on such donations. The Fake donor does so to avoid tax or convert the money earned by unethical means and the real donor that really wants to do something good does not realize that there is no accountability of his generosity

if you light up a diya in front of your deity. it is not necessary that it should be done with expensive ghee.On your religious or spiritual journey monetary gains or monetary show off should be of least importance .
If you donate a gold rath (vehicle) when your deity is carried out for rath yatra and the news makes is purely showing off of your wealth and indirect advertising to prospective business associates. It can never please your deity, if millions of his creations suffer for a daily two time meal. Your Riches and finances if you have in abundance , i request you to use your head and try for maximum optimum utilization of your resources for the growth and benefit of mankind .

Article 26 of The Constitution of India states that the temples governance will have no interference from the government.

In Spite of this the government has intervened in the process on their false pretext of streamlining it.The Appointment of officers, Archnayaks and head priests in some temples is in the hands of the government

On Tuesday March 8th 2011. High court issued a notice against the Andhra Pradesh Government for diverting Tirupati temple funds towards other activities .

I was born in a priest family and i have stolen coins from the temple many times for my personal entertainment in my childhood.

I was a small child then but the government is full of corrupt people that come into power only to utilize their tenure to their maximum personal benefit and entertainment

The last thought gave me a very wild imagination. The Money you donated to your shrine for purely pious reasons might just be getting used by a small minister for his Bangkok Pleasure trip

Wake up now.. Donate with our own hands and for the right cause to the right person that is actually in need. God is already the Almighty. He does not need your money or your riches, He lives in a non-materialistic world and he has nothing to do with your currency notes. What holds value for him is your humanity and devotion.

Read my articles on!magazine/c14r1


This article has featured in the Magazines Jan- Feb 2016 issue

Behroopia- The Imposter


I moonlighted as the radio jockey that speaks in an erotic nasal voice after 11 pm and solves love problems. i used to enjoy doing that under an alias name of “ Love Guru Raj”

My basic advice to all the callers was to lower their expectations in love. The lesser the expectations the better love gets.


During the day i was a struggling writer trying to publish my first novel and in the process writing episodes for a daily soap to earn my bread and butter.


That day while walking back from my night job i found a young teenager at a place he should have never been. Completely drunk and wasted on a street struggling to get on his feet and walk. He seemed heartbroken and terribly depressed. His eyes were red and it seemed he had not slept since ages. Saying that he was rolling drunk was an understatement .My heart melted and i took him home.


The first thing he did next morning was vomit. He kept struggling in and out of my washroom for four hours before he felt better. As he sat down on the sofa i started interrogating him


“What’s your Name ?” I asked

“ Kunal “ He replied

“How Old are You ?” I asked sternly

“17” he replied


“Do you think it’s legal to get drunk and roam around on streets of Mumbai at 17?” I demanded to know

He was reduced to tears. He cried like a small child. I understood what had happened

Countless romances and dejections later

Two decades after my teens were over.

I had become pretty experienced in this field.


Let me put it this way

I realized very early in my life that i had a very innocent face

And realized that i could take advantage of it to fool innocent girls

I spoke with flair and confidence and i also had the gift of the gab

But then i also realized very early in my life that what i was doing was nothing great or exceptional

I realized that winning the trust of an innocent girl is very easy and breaking it is even easier

But this conquest and victory is worthless when you see the innocent girl shed tears

It is that moment that makes you realize that you have broken something very valuable.


I asked him to tell me if i could help him with something. May be i was assuming it to be a girl, maybe it was something more dramatic.

But simple guys like Kunal have simple problems. Yes it was a girl. Her name was Anjali.


“She works at Crossword.” Kunal said tentatively

“ I am a bookworm and hence i frequent that place very often in search of new books”


“Her smile was enticing; her eyes had a unique unusual sparkle”

“ I started frequenting that place more often , but now it was just to see her, feel her presence, smell her fragrance and talk to her” “ We became good friends, exchanged numbers and started chatting on whatsapp and facebook” Kunal Continued


“But then one day she told me something unusual. She asked me if i would like to check out some adult books in the store room upstairs.

I accompanied her. She bolted the door and had a naughty smile on her face.”

“She had planned everything. The Storeroom had no adult books. The adult stuff was in her mind and what we did was extremely insane “ Kunal concluded


I was taken aback. I belong to an older generation and a girl making such moves was not something we had seen in our times .I was a little nervous to ask this question but i did anyway

“Did you guys go all the way?”

“No” He replied angrily “I mean we locked the door and then we Kissed” He replied

“Not once, not twice but Sixteen times “he said

“You counted “ I asked

“Yes “he replied

“I maintained a diary and i wrote down each and every detail, i wanted to show her after marriage” he sobbed

“Had you discussed marriage and kids?” I Inquired

He suddenly burst into tears.

As he regained his composure, he walked towards the window.

“She just suddenly threw me out of her life one day” “She said that it was just a casual fling and there were no emotions associated with it” He said


Well back in our days we had brats. Boys did this usually. The Biggest brat i had seen was “Ranjeet” in the movies. He did this in every other movie. He impregnated the girl and then wiped his lips and rubbed his chest and then ironically said” Once in a blue Moon Kabhi Kabhi”. His dialogues never made sense but his actions did.

But this had happened with an innocent guy this time.


I eventually said. I know how you can win her back. At that moment even i was not sure what i was going to do. It was like a bowler that wanted a wicket badly but did not know where to pitch the ball. But i did say something sensible


“Ignore her for a couple of days act as if nothing has happened. Do not communicate with her by any means at all. No phone calls, No whatsapp messages, nothing.”


“On the third day walk into her bookstore and completely ignore her.” “Walk past her and do not make eye contact”. I instructed him


I was also present in the bookstore to make sure Kunal was following my instructions. I had dressed him up in style. Gelled his hair, opened a few buttons of his shirt, and had replaced his heavy school bag with a stylish bag that contained just one book.


He did what i had instructed him to do. Kept browsing through books and when he needed help he waved out to another girl and she showed him the book the wanted.


He walked out of the bookstore. i could not make much from her reaction. It seemed anger. The Fact that he had chosen to ignore her had made her angry… He walked out with tremendous confidence. I could see the sprint in his stride and his lopsided smile looked terrific


We were watching a movie well past midnight and his phone beeped. It had an angry smiley.

The Angry smiley made him smile sheepishly. He leaped like a school boy who had passed in all subjects. I instructed him not to reply and just completely ignore her message


After a few days, she confronted him.

She was curious to know the reason for his behavior.

He was more polished than before and every word he spoke impressed her

But those words were mine. I was scripting this love story and Kunal was just playing the character written by me.

He was playing a flamboyant boy, charming, intelligent and witty.


The Only thing i was scared about was when he would be caught off guard.

He proposed her

She accepted to go on a date with him. But she was not sure yet.


I was not sure if i was doing the right thing. The only thing i had previously cared about was seeing Kunal happy but now i was also worried about Anjali. She was a also a naive little teenager and i somehow felt i was manipulating her into loving a character i had created and not a real Kunal


One date led to many more dates. I kept on pressurizing kunal to stop taking my guidance for everything and show her his real self now.. But he was extremely low on self confidence and relied completely on me. The Modus Operandi was I had to be present with him on the phone on every date. I heard their conversations and then sent him voice messages on whatsapp. He hid a small earplug behind his ear and spoke all that i told him to. Sometimes he never understood or remembered what he had spoken about.


My fears were rational. The Eventful day had arrived. She caught him unaware. She had smelt something fishy since a long time. His replies were sometime not in sync with the topic.

She heard all the voice notes on his phone. She realized how she was being manipulated

She just walked off without saying anything to him.

No amount of explanations could win her back..


One Year Passed By. I lost touch with Kunal. But one day i bumped into him again and he was still hopelessly in love with Anjali. He had been stalking her all along but he did not have the courage to speak to her.

It was time to try and rectify things and hence i decided to make a grand entry into Anjali’s life as another character.

This character was called Gopal. I was playing this character.

I wanted to become her friend and confidante and know what she thought about Kunal. I wanted to tap her feelings


She had now started working as an actress at a well known theatre group and i joined them as a scriptwriter. My Happy go lucky, full of life, cheekily cheery character became very close friends with Anjali in no time. She was a very positive and bold girl. i had realized that she was in many ways just like me, a boundless spirit that could not be restricted or confined.


I created a character called Heer and i pushed Anjali into playing that character on stage.

Every day we discussed Heer and her feelings and i wrote the script in such a way that Anjali explores her feelings for Kunal. The Male character i had written was extremely similar to Kunal.I also named it as Kunal. We were discussing an act, however under the pretext of discussing a fictitious kunal, i was also discussing a real kunal.


When we were casting we took a lot of auditions. While i searched for Kunal, i made the director reject them all. Then finally i pretended to have found kunal working in a bank as an intern.

I manipulated things in such a way that everyone was convinced that this character could only be played by Kunal.


It was a struggle to make him act. Even though the character was so close to his personality, Kunal struggled to say his lines


They finally came face to face again. It was an epic moment. She blushed and he tried to hide his nervousness. They said sorry to each other and became friends again


They got along really well and their laughter echoed in the theatre whenever they rehearsed


Until the time came when Kunal professed his feelings again

This revelation from him came just before the final performance.

I was extremely confident about the entire effort i had put in making them fall in love, but she rejected him again.


This time more patiently but she rejected him.


Finally on stage


He was in character when he read this poetry to her. All though written by me, the emotions he showcased were real. He had indeed missed her all along But what i admired the most was his confidence. He was performing brilliantly and his confidence was impeccable


“ The creator himself, proudly exults, at the form of her eyes,

Tongue-tied, lines of verse, in vain, to paint her form, it tries,

The bounteous lips, they lend, a rosy hue to Spring,

Led astray, those who seek, heavenly streams, they bring,

On her ravishing form, meanders, flowing robes, her attire,

Songs of wandering minstrels, her stately build, inspires,

Such beauty, need not on, ministrations it thrive,

Not possibly from mortal thoughts, it may soul derive,

Long ago, through these lanes, I had for a moment, passed,

Held in awe, her enticing frame, vainglorious, as I passed,

Down these memory lanes, enamored, enticed, I traverse,

Enwraps my being, the very wind, she breathed in wine and verse,

Hangs vaporous, the elegance, over the ground once she tread,

Softly plays in the air, her eloquence, a melody she impressed,”


Anjali played Heer to perfection. The Story of Unrequited Love touched the hearts of the people who saw it. I had created a modern tale based on popular folk tales of unrequited love

The play had a sad ending but the real ending of this story also became a sad one


After the show I entered the scene again and introduced my real self to Anjali. I told her the entire story from my perspective. i explained to her that Kunal was a genuine guy and his love was pure and no one could love Anjali with the same amount of Madness.


But she was adamant “.Love cannot be taught, forced or planned. It is a natural phenomenon and it takes its own course” “Why do i need to think seriously about a guy, only because i kissed him “ “It’s my choice and i have the right to cure my curiosity”” Who gives you the right to enforce his love into my life, or write your script around us” “ Please pay with your characters and their emotions, we are human beings , please leave us alone “ She said dramatically


The Woman of India had come of age; she could have a casual fling and move on. She was not bound by the so called piousness and virtue. She was strong to take her own decision and live her life to the fullest with the same amount of freedom a guy has


I understood that Love, respect, care and emotions cannot be forced on to someone. if it does not come naturally , there is no point in pursuing them.

I wish we stopped arranging marriages and engaging two people to meet that look seemingly made for each other to us.


© Jitendra Kotai


Safarnama- The Diary of a Journey

It was my first book launch and i had written the Autobiography of a very dear friend.

The Host of the event introduced

“This Book is based on the life and times of renowned novelist and philanthropist Mr Samarth Rao. The Author Karuna Mitra is an advocate and had been a very close friend and a huge admirer of his work. “ This book is the biography of and  a tribute to the great artist “

I had no options left in my life after he suddenly left from my life without any prior warning and all i could think of was him.Some people leave their imprints on your mind.Their overall existence is so impactful that all we can think about is them

i was like meera who was completely smitten by Lord Krishna. I had surrendered my entire being to him. I could never think about any other man in my entire life after he rejected my proposal. He was an insane artist and his fundas of life were insane too

He believed in unrequited love without any expectations. He said that the moment the lovers agree that they are in love, expectations arise and love dies

But his words were true .Today even i believe that the Best form of love is when it is Unrequited

It is the purest form of love when you don’t expect someone to love you back

It needs lots of courage and patience to not expect them to love you

I was slightly nervous but i did address the audience

His picture walking away  with his back turned to the world formed the cover of my book and the title read “Safarnama – The Dairy of a Journey ” .. I held the book up showing  it to the audience and spoke

“His famous lines were – “

“An Artist is like the wind.breezing through the freeway “.” Free flowing, Unstoppable and Wild”.

“If you stop him and ask him to flow in a certain way. Restrict him by censoring his thoughts. He will be unable to flow at all”

“The Creativity is a natural process. Let the Artist be. Let him flow like a river, blow like the wind”

“He was my best friend. A Philosopher, An Amazing Story teller. His Dreamy eyes would always be analyzing some aspects of life and building up a creative story”

“We had grown up together.Right since childhood i knew that he was special.I was not the only girl in awe of his thought process. He had a huge female fan following “

“Through School and College he kept growing in life as a person and as a writer.

Once he started publishing his work . I realized that i had recognized his value most accurately”

“He had the midas touch. All the stories he wrote were bestseller and sold at-least million copies.”.”He showed the world how to live it up. He donated 80 percent of his income in charity and the rest he spent on himself buying the best luxuries possible. He had a big heart and he was fearless. His charismatic smile never left his face. He was an eternally happy being that loved being alive. His glorious humanity shined through him and radiated on to the lives of each and every person that crossed paths with him.”

There was a huge round of applause and just because his name was associated with it, my book was also going to be a bestseller. But i had not written this with the profit motive. I really wanted the world to know his story. I wanted the world to learn a lesson and change their mindset about certain things. They had forgotten their ghastly deed but there is a very old proverb that the Axe forgets but the tree remembers

I remember very fondly as if it just yesterday. I saw his first book on the shelf at the local was a proud moment.It was titled “The Sedulous Girl” . My friend had become an author. Everyone i over heard were talking about his book, about his story and the twist at the end.

Sitting alone whenever i miss him his memories give me excellent company. They make me smile and laugh.. He would tell me all his stories much before they would be published.But he would narrate them to me like they were  real incidents and then see if i was convinced by his lies. He enjoyed pulling that prank on the soft-hearted and naive me who believed in everything he said. I would have believed even if it was daytime and he had called it a night.Such was his impact on me. He was my hero.

I visit the orphanage very often that he donated his earnings to. He ensured that those kids got everything they needed. He knew the name of each child, He encouraged them to visit their creative side, he encouraged them to paint, sing, dance and pick up at least one form of art

He was creating a better world. Rubbing on his zest for life on those kids. When he played with them and made them laugh. When he narrated them his stories there would be a pin drop silence. I saw those faces lost in the beauty of the story that was being narrated with such tremendous skill that they were all in a different world of fantasy.

He had some morals at the end. He taught them tolerance, humanity and spreading smiles.

He was creating helpful and charismatic humans like himself. He was spreading humanity .

15 Years and 11 Major books later. He had become a very prominent name globally. He had been very versatile and had tried every different genre at least once. His Overall personality was awe worthy. His impeccable sharp wit and rational thinking made him a star of talk shows

My thoughts then recollect that  he had a new muse that he was completely smitten by and he would even sketch her portrait and write songs for her

I had thought that he had finally fallen in love and i was expecting an epic love story in his real life. His insane fundas did not let that happen. The Wanderer that he was he could not give a commitment to her.

As soon as the muse started getting attached to the art and the artist. He set himself free.

The devastated girl had cursed him and cried her heart out. But he had been clear about his stand , he had never made any promises or commitments.

Separation with her did affect him and he wrote a few tragic love stories in her memory

As he was getting slightly older and whenever we discussed how life has been to us. we would realize that we were both in our forties and now it was time to change certain things.

He had made himself a fortune and now he wanted to write something he had never written.

He was such a Vagabond that one night a story idea stuck him and another morning he would be travelling to the place his story would be based.This time he had targeted Indian Mythology He travelled to each nook and corner of the country and collected all folk tales, mythologies and popular stories of India and compiled his own book around them

Everyday when he spoke to me from the place he visited i wrote my own version of his tales. i titled it Safarnama – The Diary of a Journey.. He told me a new story from the rich world of mythology and expressed his views on it. We discussed a lot on those lines. I still remember those enriching conversations.He had told me that he could actually feel those characters from mythology coming alive in those places.

In his book he connected the stories and showed how they affect the way we perceive things in today’s times. His central character  had time travelled to the mythological world and spoke to the epic mythological characters on rational terms. His character had tried to redefine the misshapen in Mythology.. He had removed the god element from the stories and had taken them from a layman’s point of view He left his perspective on that story open for interpretation and discussion. He left many things ambiguous and when i read the first draft i was overwhelmed by the creativity.

I told him this was going to be his masterpiece

After the launch, the book did sell like hot cakes.The Elite club of book readers and reviewers gave a fantastic review to the book. They were left in awe of the man’s style of narration and his ability to connect those stories to today’s times.

The praise was short lived.. Religious tolerance is something that no religion teaches i guess. The Moment an artist turns slightly blasphemous, the religions caretakers start taking offence


The Sight was tragic. Books were being burned and his posters wore a black face.His effigies were burnt outside his house. The talk shows had people discussing and fighting

The Religious groups waited outside his house to pelt stones at him the moment he walked out.

His life was in great threat. That night i saw him break down. I saw him disappointed. All his adulation was over. He no longer had any fan following. It was just one book that had changed the course of his literary career.This was followed by a court case for hurting religious sentiments. The Policeman that came to arrest him was a very stern believer and he made sure he humiliated him and hence he started off by slapping him and then made him walk handcuffed through the busy street till the police station.

Why is it that your faith has the power to move mountains but it cannot stand the criticism from a creative writer and he is termed as blasphemous and insulted ?

Raja Ravi Verma had been an renowned painter in the 16th century and he had faced the same ordeal . However the British courts had then decided that art will not be judged by morality and hence he was set free at that time.

I used all my expertise as a lawyer to argue and made sure he won back his respect and dignity.The Same act of law worked for my hero too. I saw that enigmatic smile on his face when we won the case. That night he slept in my lap and professed his love for me.

I was teary eyed and i wanted to go berserk and crazy. It was like a dream come true for me. But i resisted myself. His words came flowing into my mind that the moment two lovers realize that they love each other, expectations arise and love dies. He may have felt it in that moment but i did not want this artist to stop flowing for me. He was way ahead of his times and he still had a long way to go.I declined his love, i told him it was too late in the day. I told him all my feelings for him had died a natural death. It takes courage to finally get all that you want but decline it from the fear of losing it again.

On One Sunday afternoon we were returning back from a book fair and he saw a jeep stuck in a manhole. He asked his driver to stop his car and he walked towards the jeep with his charming smile and asked “ Do you need any Help ?”

He had forgotten all the rage and atrocities but they had not forgotten anything

It was the same religious group that had burned his books ,effigies and posters

But he was like a child, he never held any regrets. He recognized them but still his smile remained undeterred. His faith in humanity unshaken.. He tried to make an effort to help them push the car out from the manhole.

But they had also recognized him.

The leader of the group wasted no time. He too had a smile on his face but that smile was of triumph. He had caught him unguarded and he could satisfy his rage and hatred for him without being stopped. He wanted the world to remember this as a lesson

He shot my eternally happy hero in the head at point blank range and shouted some slogans.

The world suddenly became non existent for me. I saw him falling  flat on the floor

The Triumphant slogans continued. This was a victory for the religiously inclined but a big loss to humanity. He may have not been a very religious man but he was the best human being i had seen.I was in a state of shock keeping his blood smeared head in my lap. i keep staring at his smile.They even spit on his dead body while gathered people clicked pictures. He shrieked out loud that anyone that speaks against our gods and goddesses will face the same fate.

My Hero was an insane artist, he had just dared to think differently. Was it justified to kill a human being for just being blasphemous. i condemn such people that are so fanatic that they cannot tolerate a small point of view.He was a much better human being than most of the diabolical people who hide behind the mask of a good religious man.

I hope his story can inspire other rational thinkers. I hope his story can change the mindsets of a few fanatics. I wish they had seen that boyish charm of the childish man through his enigmatic smile. I am sure that even if god was present there at that moment he would have forgiven him for his small sin and embraced him for his other good deeds

© Jitendra Kotai

Rehguzar- The Path to Travel

Rehguzar – The Path to Travel


A Journey which leads to no specific destination.

The never ending path with innumerable twists and turns that keeps you on your toes

It Keeps you engrossed in trying to decipher what is going to happen next

The Unpredictability of this path is what makes us come alive.


We all have our own manifestations of the truth. We all live the journey based on what we have concluded either from hear-say or from our own experiences


This story is about three friends that took the road trip to a destination and how their perceptions about the biggest truth changed drastically

An Atheist is someone who has understood that there is no superhuman power that is magically governing the world from the sky. The Actions of every atheist may differ  But they view the world from a logical perspective


I, Gautam Sidhwani was the same. I never believed in anything superhuman. As a TV Reporter i had covered lots of live action. I had reached the scene of crime even before the Policeman got there.And every bleeding man and every crime story confirmed to me that this human race was not being controlled by any super power

But as the days passed i grew tired of reporting crime scenes and i decided to do something unique

My Best friend Inamul Haq was a cameran. He stood behind the camera while i stood in front of it and reported the news .He was a stern believer and a fabolous singer. We had reported many depressing bomb blasts and incidents of shootouts by some youths from across the border . His emotional vent out was singing and it gave me tremendous peace to hear his soothing voice. He Usually sang complaining to his god that what is happening to humanity and why are people killing in his name .


This time we were on a trip to a village in North India. The Saptarishis were going to be in prominence on a certain night and the Sadhus and the Religious heads of the hindu community had organized a Maha-Yagna  to held on the banks of the ganges. The Turnout was going to be gigantic . Over 30 Million devotees were going to take a dip in the ganges and be blessed by the Sadhus .

We had the Opportunity to cover this event live and get the experience of a lifetime


Our Media House must have certainly understood our boring lives and hence we were accompanied by a young Photographer named Shraddha. We boarded the same train and i could hardly keep my eyes off her. It is ridiculously rude to stare at a female colleague but somehow i felt she was enjoying the attention. I tried to strike a conversation but she responded very rudely


From what i have understood of women is that they never portray the right emotion. If they like someone they try their best to get him rid of his interest or attraction for them. The first attempt they make is by being rude to them. And if you are put off by the rudeness, they usually reply in a sweet tone as usually women are very soft-hearted

They break hearts but they want to be least offensive towards the one giving them attention. They usually get attracted to those men who give them no attention and look away from them. The Ones that are usually ill mannered, rude and Abnormal.


The Favorite pastime of Inamul Haq and me was to discuss God. We always argued about his existence.They say that when an Atheist has a conversation with a believer and it turns into a healthy argument where both sides keep their perspective.It Usually gives both lots of matter to ponder about.


As the heated discussion was on. Shraddha slowly got captivated by the quality of this debate and she was tempted to give her two cents.

But she stopped as i continued my perspective

“I Don’t like the manifestation of your god

I Don’t like the fact that my creator loves me only on this condition that i sing his praises

If i do not sing his praises he will make me burn in hell and if i sing his praises i will be rewarded”

Shraddha Quipped “ So what kind of god do you expect ?

I Replied “As an atheist for me my god is my mother

My Mother loves me unconditionally. She does not demand anything from me. Her love is pure and divine.Her love is not based on the mandate of me singing her praises and even if i criticize her ,she can never imagine to burn me in hell.

For me my god should be loving kind and forgiving.

Not someone who is so arrogant that he orders me to kill someone if they say anything against him”


Her facial expression suggested she was impressed with her lips pouting in disbelief that a pervert could be intelligent and could strike such an engaging conversation.

Inamul Haq could not stay behind , He interrupted “But if he does not set certain rules. How will we differentiate from Just and Unjust ?”

How will we decide what is Right and what is Wrong ?”


Shraddha Said “ Our Conscious , It tells us. When we are about to do something wrong, it stops us”

I Jumped from my seat to take an upper hand in the conversation

“ My Problem is not with Believers or god or its existence

.The Problem lies with Fanatics. I never thrust my atheist beliefs on others. My debates are always for Religious Tolerance

“Your faith is so strong that it can move mountains

Yet it cannot stand the criticism by an atheist and they get killed for being blasphemous”

Shraddha Nodded . Inamul Said “ Even i am against Fanaticism of any kind. But it is the wrong interpretation of certain things mentioned in the religious texts”

The debate went on and on and what had started as a repulsive behaviour from Shraddha had already turned into attraction. Her body language suggested that she had started liking me.

She complimented me for my confidence and was now sitting right next to me. She was very fidgety and clearly showed how impressed she was with me. Her eyes never made contact with me. Whenever i tried to look into her eyes she would look the other way and blush. This journey had given way for a potential love story to develop between us

The night journey was even more fabulous . While Inamul snored away to glory , we took some time out for romance. As we sat in the corner of the train discussing everything under the sun. I realized that the entire rude and bold avatar was just a pretence. She was the usual girl next door, extremely shy and very beautiful.The more she spoke about her endeavours , the more she impressed me.

I wasted no time in telling her how fascinated i was by her. Everything she did or said made me feel so awesome .Even the perfume she was wearing was mesmerizing . The fact that drew me to her was that she had no qualms about my atheism and she accepted me the way i was . She was the first female i had met who had not tried to preach me and restore my faith in the almighty.


As we reached the destination, we realized that this might just be an experience of a lifetime. As we got down at the station, everywhere we saw there was a Saffron Clad Sadhu. The Whole ambience of this place was filled with religion. It gave us the feeling that we were blessed by a certain entity just to reach here. Many had queued up and struggled for days but were not able to reach this point where they would get the instant salvation they so deserved.


I had booked two adjacent rooms in an Ashram since i wanted to get the feel of the place to write the words i would speak on National TV and then in my article which would appear on the International Platform Called the World Wide Web.

Shraddha and I had spent almost the entire night in the passage outside our adjacent rooms glaring into each other’s twinkling eyes and talking sweet nothings

I had hardly closed my eyes for a few minutes and something disrupted my sleep It was 4.00 am in the morning when a bhajan playing in the Ashram woke me up from my sleep

As i walked out of my room the voice grew louder. It was a beautiful young girl dressed in a saree singing in the Ashram’s temple and rotating the thali in her hand in a circular motion

Inamul grabbed his camera and Shraddha grabbed her Camera and they started recording the heavenly atmosphere of the place. Almost everyone was awake and they had showered and were dressed in traditional attire and were swinging their heads in similar motion to the song. The Music was melodious and the lady’s voice was enchanting. It did not look like a pretence.

When they do this in Mumbai, It somehow feels very annoying and gives no pleasure. But these people were doing it from the heart. For the first time i was amongst real believers.They had no agenda. No selfies were being taken. No one was dressed as God or Baba. It was just devotion in its purest form and it somehow impressed me


We had a breakfast at as early as 5.00 am. The same lady who had set off this auspicious day with the melodious song was Serving us Breakfast .Shraddha was slightly insecure at the way i was looking at this woman.It was not attraction here, just my curiosity. I wanted to ask her how she could be so engrossed in Godly deeds at such a tender age. Does she not get tempted when she sees young boys of her age? Does she not feel like going out with them, Watching movies, letting her hair down ?

But her face had a certain tranquility and peace. She looked completely satiated by her god and his devotion.


Time was moving at snail’s speed. When i opened the gate to take a stroll outside. I realized that it was still pitch-dark outside. We still decided to take a stroll. As we walked ahead we saw some massive monstrous statues of all kinds of gods you could imagine. The Clinging of bells came from all corners and the sound was magnificently glorious. As if the Entire set of humans who had laid feet on this immensely auspicious place were celebrating their godliness


The Three of us were walking on the highway where trucks were passing at breathtaking speeds.On either side was River Ganges..My Only fear was that if a truck could not see our hazy figures and hit us we would all achieve instant salvation by drowning in the freezing water of the Ganges and as per hindu scriptures reach Vaikunth Dham which is the most sacred place to go after death


Inamul Haq came up with an Idea. He Played a loud bhajan (A Song with God’s Praises) on his cellphone. According to him it was his survival strategy. The Passing truck would hear the bhajan and not hit us.


We cleared the Highway and reached the Location. The Preparations were on. Shraddha started capturing some divine moments on her camera. A Sadhu walked up to us and tied a silkish red thread on our hands and asked for some money. We shelled out some change and he blessed us.

Inamul Haq held his hands across his face enacting to have a camera and started choosing the angles he would shoot the scenario by. After a few minutes of Monkeying around with his hands he finally found the angle he wanted and adjusted his camera .He adjusted the lights and he started shooting me


With my back to the Sacred River i set off with my shot in style “ As i pointed out the River, Sadhus, The Ambiance . I felt proud of representing this fantastic scenario to my people who were watching this Live on their TV Sets. The Atheist in me had slightly began to believe in the magical power of a certain almighty.This place made me feel alive. Millions had gathered at the single place and this almighty whom we all had never seen had the power to gather a crowd of Millions who could sing his praises in unison.There was something magical about all this and i started admiring this awesome moment like an awestruck child. Shraddha was gaping at me with her mouth wide open getting impressed at my ability to speak and hold the show so well


As i was confidently phrasing my anecdotes. I  noticed a change in Shraddha’s emotions.Her eyes had grown wide and she was looking at something with astonishment in her eyes . I turned around to see what had transpired. It shook me to see a whole herd of petrified people running in one direction pushing each other fanatically.It sent shivers down the spine and the sudden change of events led to a whole negative vibe in the entire auspicious air. I Overheard an old man say that someone had kept a bomb in the premises of a sacred temple where the holy event was about to take place.

Shaken and stirred we tried to find a secure place as our first reaction but then we realized this was an important news.

We climbed on a temple roofs and tried to shoot the havoc. As i struggled to stand on the slope and deliver my lines, i realized how inhuman we had become. Inamul had tears in his eyes and Shraddha was constantly looking at the tragic incident unfolding itself


The Stampede grew in magnitude as maximum people were trying to run away from the place to escape death.We closed our shutterbugs and decided to help people in needed. Some people had suffered fatal deaths and some were injured very badly .Shraddha ran from pillar to post to get first Aid and other things required.

I and Inamul tried to drag injured people to safe corners and many others joined us in the process The Moment had left us all wounded. Our hearts that were admiring the beauty of the creator suddenly felt cheated and disheartened. I felt that if he had the power to bring such a big magnitude of people to a place.He should also have the power to protect them from the Mishaps.


This continued throughout the day. I hoped that the believers would certainly walk up to the temple and perform the sacred event However The Celebrity 201 Sadhus that were going to perform the Yagna did not set their foot in that place. The Bomb demolition unit made us all breathe with ease when they said that the bomb scare was just a hoax .

An Entire Tragic twelve hours had passed to get the situation somewhat in control. It was 4.00 pm in the evening now. The Loudspeakers had started blaring again with Bhajans and Praises of the almighty that sounded  irritating to me now. I had changed from an Atheist to a believer and back to being an Atheist in a span of twelve hours.


We walked up to the Ashram to collect our luggage and return back to the city where we all belonged But then we saw something that shattered us all to pieces. The Beautiful women who had started this auspicious day with her melodious voice. The One who had divinity in her eyes. The One who had made me feel inferior to her because i did not believe.The One who believed and sang praises from her heart. She lay dead on the pavement. The Mob had walked all over her. She had been a victim of the stampede and no one had even tried to move her away or save her. She had suffered some major head injuries.I sat down next to her dead body and tears flew down my cheeks. Her enchanting voice still lingered in my faded memory. The way she had referred to god as the one who is our Palanhaar.

Palanhaar is someone who protects us, raises us and takes care of us.

Who was responsible for this Tragedy ?

A Foolish man who set off the rumors just for fun or the foolish millions who flocked to a destination to be blessed.That moment made me question the very need to travel to an auspicious place to seek god

“Our scriptures say he is Omnipresent”  Shraddha replied.

“ He is everywhere, You are right . We should try to seek him within ourselves or a nearest temple” She Concluded

i was too stunned by the occurrence. It reminded me of hundreds of other such occurrences where humanity has been subjected to terror, tragedy and untimely death by the so called faith keepers and religious heads.I made it a point to make it a revolution and change a few people like Inamul and shraddha and take them out from blind faith and Hypothetical beliefs

Finally seated in the jeep that was taking us to another city .Inamul Haq started singing in his heavy voice complaining to his god that what is happening to humanity and why are people killing in his name I hope that he gets an answer soon

© Jitendra Kotai


I feel nostalgic as I walk past auto rickshaws. Nothing much has changed in this city. It’s only me who has changed drastically.I have returned to my hometown Mumbai after being in a New York Prison for more than a decade.

Mumbai 1996

I was just wired differently. I remember it was the same street when I had walked on it as a 14 year old.It was 1996 and the Mumbai underbelly was flourishing. I had belonged to an affluent family of priests,  but my inclination towards criminal activities had started very early in my life

Everyone has their vices. I had too many.I enjoyed doing things that were forbidden. It gave me an high, it gave a sense of accomplishment and enthusiasm.

I remember my father running behind me with a stick in his hand because I stole coins from the temple and went to the nearby matka place to gamble with them. It was not the money that sometimes doubled and tripled. It was the excitement . It was the sheer joy of doing something forbidden. Out of the fear of my father finding out that I was gambling. I used to pour all my earnings into a poor cobbler’s hut. He worked hard all day mending shoes but he hardly had money to buy himself a meal.

“Those coins were being wasted when they were being offered to an already rich god. Why does he need money when he is already the almighty,” I told my dad. He slapped me hard.

My father diagnosed my condition as a disease. I was dangerous for this society that set rules for itself and where forbidden things are only allowed to be done behind closed doors and in the dark. They wake up in the morning and pretend as if nothing happened

I used to get beaten at home. My father used to hurt me with tremendous passion..I got used to it. In fact I learnt that self inflicted pain sometimes gives infinite pleasure. Once he was tired and there was no power left in his blows . I Laughed as loud as I could and he would say “Rakshas, Vinashkari , Vipreet Buddhi”

I Could not pretend any longer and live with the self proclaimed god. He used to fool people everyday and survived from the money earned from inflicting fear in them. Human beings build unnecessary cages around themselves called responsibility, Society and Limits. I had to fly and do everything that was forbidden. Not be bound by any artificial restraints

Then on one unfortunate night. The only person I could call my own, Tribhuvan Shastri my father passed away. I was only 16 and I had no source of income. There was no money to even arrange the great priest’s funeral.

As I cried sitting alone. The Cobbler walked up to me with a bag of coins and he offered them to me.The Affluent Tribhuvan Shastri used to tell me that the cobbler is from a low caste and that he is an untouchable was the only person I could hug and cry.

New York, 2005

I walked past Chinese fishmongers and green grocers cluttered in markets in the indian dominated area of Chinatown in Manhattan. I had heard about this man called as Mak.i was going to his office for an interview. On the forefront he ran a big financing company. His real name is Makrand Deshmukh which has cut short to mak as it is usually done here in the US.

He ran an empire of illicit trade .He was the kingpin of the drug mafia and all anti social activities in this city.He was the undisputed king of the Drug Mafia, He was also into Prostitution and Money Laundering for Arms and Ammunition’s and funding of Terrorist Organizations.

As i sat fiddling with my watch in the conference room of a plush office waiting for Mak.

I saw a beautiful girl fair as milk photocopying some papers. In Agreement to my bollywood icon Amrish Puri whenever i see a girl with fair and smooth skin i feel like drinking Black Dog Whiskey as hundreds of black dogs start barking in my psyche.

My heart skipped  a beat as soon as she looked at me. Her eyes were big and the eyeliner and kajal made them looking even more stunning. My thumping heart sound was so elaborate that i felt she could hear it. i felt she could see the tension on my face as she walked towards me with some papers in her hand. She had a perfect hourglass figure as i saw her from head to toe with eyes full of lust. Her body hugging red dress was so elegant and glamorous that it made her look like an enchanting seductress. She said “ Please fill this form, Mr Mak will be with you shortly” .My glare was stuck at her luscious lips and their perfect shape and her voice sounded like a symphony of melodious romantic tracks. I started believing in love at first sight. My brain definitely had a chemical locha, she was the one i was waiting for all my life.I walked outside to find her again. Sitting on her desk and her eyes glued to the monitor on her workstation. As i neared her desk she saw me. She gave out a friendly smile. That smile had the power to make a man suffering from Chronic depression look forward to life with Zest and Enthusiasm.Her name was soothing to the ears. Her name was Nagma.

Mr Mak walked out of his cabin and looked at me with a sullen look. Probably he did not like me standing so close to the girl’s desk. He Tilted his head and gestured me to follow him.He swayed ahead in style. He was dressed elegantly in a stylish suit and he looked extremely dashing.He stood tall at 6ft and his neatly trimmed beard went well with his overall persona

We spoke for about 30 mins and i really do not know what he saw in a visibly under confident and fidgety me. The best thing i remember i said was that i wanted to become like him one day and wear those stylish suits. I also remember that he told me that in order to achieve that i will have to be very strong and let go off all morals and ethics i have .

Soon i became the most trusted aide of the big man. Every big businessman needs a intelligent confidante. Someone whom he can fall back on for advice or for discussing his decisions and future plans.. I was paving my way up the ranks and soon turning into the man everyone ran to for work. i knew everything . All codes, All secrets, Even Everything Mak thought,i had the key to all the locks of this business empire

Then i fell upon a tiny secret. The Girl i had fallen in love with on my first day at work.The charming fair girl with beautiful eyes was infact Mak’s mistress.She had been an innocent girl who had once been implicated for carrying drugs in her purse. She had no clue how the poison that had been found in her purse had gotten there. The only rescue she had was through Mak. She had come to visit Mak to ask for his help and the filthy man had been allured by her beauty. She had paid a heavy price for it. Mak had kept all the proofs that would prove her guilty and even though Narcotics department in this state was extremely strong but Mak had connections .He knew the figures of authority very well.  He was powerful and he could do anything. He forced her to work for his company and abused her everyday.He proudly narrated the entire episode to me and even though i did not have a heart to understand humanity. i Somehow understood this girl’s plight. Maybe because my heart had thumped out loud when she had smiled at me.

I had tried to speak to her a few times but she had avoided all interactions. This was the opportunity. Mak had sent us together to deliver a consignment. I knew that the cartons we were carrying contained Arms and Ammunition but i was not sure that she knew it.

I asked “Do you know what’s inside” . She looked at me in the mirror from the front seat of the car and replied “ Yes” . I then tried to make small talk.

“ How did a girl as pretty as you start working at this place”

She replied “Well it is the same . Even i am surprised that a guy as intelligent as you is working here” She was smart and witty. She paid me a compliment and smiled.

Well i expected her to compliment my looks and not my brains but then i happened to glance in the mirror and i realized that i was an ordinary looking man and there was nothing earth shattering or even worthy about my looks. At least she appreciated my grey matter.

I was completely smitten by her. We started spending more time after office hours.

After ten occasions of rejecting it , she finally agreed to a date. Just me and her. Fascinating music played in the background and the shade of hazel lights in that discotheque made her look even more desirable and appealing.

But what intrigued me the most was why was she taking all the abuse from Mak. But i dared not to ask. I did not want to put off the vibrant energy she was showing and the did not want the beautiful smile to disappear.

But she herself spoke “ Since you asked that day. I want to share with you” “Mr Mak is obsessed with me and a man who is that powerful just takes a jab at his whims and fancies”

“All these years of endless abuse i have waited for a knight in shining Armour to come and rescue me, i do not know if can expect that from you”

If a man like Mr Mak was obsessed with her then definitely a man who wanted to be the next Mr Mak would see her as an unattainable conquest. But i was completely obsessed with the thought of becoming what she expected to me to be.

We had become inseparable. Especially after that night of passion at her house where we explored each others bodies till we quenched the insatiable thirst our souls had.

We started a joint silent rebellion It was like a slow poison that kills you slowly.Something that you can never get detoxified of.

Yes i was using the trust and faith of my mentor and turning the tables against him.Surprisingly she was much more intelligent than i fathomed. She had a full strategy in place and following her plan would ensure the complete destruction of Mr Mak and demolition of his well built crime empire. We encoded encrypted data, Passed information to competitors and cops. Mr Mak was facing tough times suddenly. His consignments were being caught. The Important men in high authorities that he was friends with, were suddenly getting fired.

In Spite of all these hindrances, he still trusted me and he gave me the code to his secret bank accounts just in case if he was caught. Then he shocked me when he said that he wished he could marry Nagma, transfer all his money through money laundering and move to different country. He wanted me to help him do that and he wanted me to also close all the pending deals and move with them.

That Night when i was smoking with Nagma. I questioned her. I told her about Mak’s Intentions and she laughed about them. She said after so many years of repeated abuse , now he wants to give me a respect and marry me.

Her bloodshot eyes reflected anger. She said with utmost passion that she wants to see him finished.

We were going to pull the trigger now. This was the final round of this drama. Mr Mak was now going to be slayed.Next Morning i was going to call Mak and tell him about an consignment been caught. I was going to pretend that i was shot and i needed his help. We were sure Mr Mak would rush to help me and fall into their trap.

Next Morning as planned i called Mr Mak.He acted as predicted.A Fleet of police cars waited in anticipation but things did not go as smooth as expected. I suddenly felt a jerk on my shoulder as i fell to my knees. Two strong policeman stood behind me with their guns pointed to the back of my head.A Police Van zoomed past others and a lady cop jumped out of it and stood there. Nagma was not the damsel in distress as she had made out to be. She had duped me and Mak. She was the smart Cop with a penchant for acting .She stood there pointing her gun towards Mak who stood there in shock as two people he had trusted the most had been responsible for his downfall. He was not the criminal who gave up that easily. Two pistols came out from two of his jacket pockets and he fired at the cops recklessly. But he did not have the strength to fire the bullet at the lady cop who stood there pointing a gun at him. I have never understood the emotional quotient of these cops. She smiled while she shot him . A bullet pierced through his expensive jacket straight into his heart and he fell flat . She fired another round this time aiming at his forehead and my idol in the crime world lay dead.

I still cannot decipher why she left me. Even i could have been killed on the same day.

For her it was just a mission. When our eyes met ,she looked at me like a stranger.I felt used and abused by a woman She was so perfect in enacting her characters and she had resorted to such cheap tactics to deal with crime and criminals..She gestured the policeman to take me away and walked past me smiling with confidence.

But as they were taking me to the prison, i realized that my end would be similar to that. A Fancy Tracer bullet piercing through my expensive jacket.Probably fired by a someone trustworthy.

Before going to prison i used to think, How would i survive in prison if i ever got caught. But then in prison i realized that An Innocent man cannot sleep in prison as he thinks how did he get there and what is the way out. But A guilty man can sleep in prison peacefully as he knows that he deserves this for the mistake he has made. The Mistake of trusting , the mistake of getting caught. The mistake of being impulsive and emotional.

© Jitendra Kotai

The Imaginarium of Desires

A Chance encounter with a Stranger where we pour out our heart to them. Is it Possible ?

It is always interesting to be judged by a stranger. We are destined to meet in this universe they say. We connect with some people. The Vibes just match almost instantly leading to a heart warming encounter

This attractive dusky damsel named Mannat had been bored in this train journey till he boarded the train.

On a terribly cold morning in north india. He had hopped on to Aravali Express from Mount Abu station

He was a spunky looking  charming man with a pleasant personality and a delightful smile

They were the only two passengers left on the first class compartment of this train.

He adjusted his jacket and loosened the scarf around his neck. From the corner of the eye he looked at her and since she was breathtakingly beautiful. He looked at her again and made eye contact and his eyes froze on her.

She had no clue about who he was. She did not know why he seemed so trustworthy and reliable that she would eventually make him her confidante

Some Chance encounters turn out to be enriching . He had taken the initiative by constantly staring in her direction.

Usually men staring at women are considered perverts but he had a certain genuineness in his eyes. She felt drawn towards the essence of humanity in him. He came across as a nice and humble fellow

He Introduced himself as Aarav Khanna and started the conversation . He spoke about himself , his beliefs and what was his journey all about and inquired about her journey.

My Journey from a nobody in a small town in Rajasthan to being a celebrated writer today has been a fascinating one” “ Initially I faced criticism and discouragement from almost everyone including my own father who believed that creative hobbies were only meant for leisure whereas for success in life we needed to study well academically and have safe and secure jobs”

I defied all norms. I ran away from my village and started doing odd jobs in mumbai. I started off with small write ups in Men’s magazines to editing articles of celebrated writers”

Finally when I saved enough for the marketing . I Launched my first novel which unexpectedly became a bestselling novel that year “ After that there has been no looking back”he announced proudly

He sincerely told her that he had been drawn towards her eyes. The Eyes of a strong woman that hid all the tragic stories of the past and only reflected infinite beauty. He was an artist and he found impeccable artistic appeal in her face

Starting from her Sun-kissed glowing luminescent skin to her luscious lips and radiant rosy cheeks she was a picture of perfection. Her smile had the magnitude to make the world sigh in contentment

But there was a certain sadness or distress that she was hiding behind those confident. eyes. There was a soft mellow girl who dreams about fairy tales hidden somewhere beneath this hard shelled lioness who could roar and scare the daylights out of a perpetual assailant ,

Woman have this ability to endure and tolerate tremendous pain. That is why i consider females as the far more superior sex .” he said.

She finally Spoke about her Imaginarium of Desires which had once crashed and left her reeling under deep sorrow from which she emerged victorious and glorious

She Said “When we lose someone we loved the most We Lose a part of ourselves we can never get back”

After a pause she continued “The World has become too casual these days. Heartbreaks are not considered so lethal these days People are too practical and its too easy for them to let go”

He retorted by giving his explanations

” These Self help books selling positivism are selling too much fakeness You cannot feel positive when you are down and out. You should feel what is right to feel, right at that moment”

She looked out of the window and shared a deep philosophy “Depression is a very commonly used word , but not many really know what it feels to be depressed It is like not having any excitement about anything. It is like just existing and not living at all. It is like losing all hope in life and humanity ” she said with moist eyes 

She remembered the man who had once been everything for her. The one she genuinely cared about. He was the one for her. His smile , His Expressions and everything about him was so unique. She had fallen for him to the level of Insanity

“His Name was Kabir. He was 6ft tall . He looked like a Greek God with his innocent handsome face and chiseled body to die for. He never felt attached to anyone. He was a self proclaimed genius who lived his life only for himself. His life conspired of things he needed . Other people in his life were mere objects of his entertainment. Whenever he felt the need of being around them or he needed them for a certain thing he went to them. When they needed him, he analyzed his situation , his gains and what was profitable for him at that moment

“No one could ever have him for themselves. This unattainability was what made her attached to him. When we are young we like to chase our dreams and earn them. She was pumped up to tame this beautiful wild unicorn and make him her life partner. Little did she know what she was getting into. Kabir has no respect for the people who cared about him. According to him they were extremely lucky to have him. He loved to boast about his female fan following. He loved showing his friends the kind of adulation these girls had for him”

He was a compulsive liar who was obsessed with flirting. The biggest of womanizers can manage effective two timing and fool two girls at one time. But Kabir was a pro. He could manage Six and sometimes more than six targets”

“Well Yes. Targets was what he called them. Only the chase excited him. Till he achieved the trust and the fondness of the girl he would play to the best of his ability to get her. And Once she gave in to his whims and fancies , he would lose interest and start looking for his next target.”

“If he had done that to me it would have been much better.” said Mannat, “But with me he had a different equation. He had decided to use me as his stand by. He wanted someone to fit in when he had those vacant periods between finding his new targets. I had turned into his victim. He was spread all over me like a disease. And my only fault was that I believed in him. I trusted him to somewhere feel for me the same way and value me for being the only stable factor in his reckless life.”

“ He had these terrible violent outbursts. There was a glimpse of a wild unleashed animal who could do anything for its instinct “ His lies did not make sense. He had been convinced that now I had become used to his ways and he did not need to provide me any explanations for his womanizing ways”

“ Everytime I decided to end this agony. He somehow convinced me to stay. The only thing that worked in his favour was that I did not have any proof and neither had I seen him cheat with my own eyes” But then the occasion came”

She looked at him and he continued to gape in excitement of knowing how it unfolded

“Confronting your fears is a huge step. All this while I had suspected that he was a cheater. But today I was going to confront him. I was sure that he would be devastated when I do that, but I thought about myself. I would be shattered . If all that I had heard was true, I would be shattered and it would be really difficult for me to collect the shattered pieces of myself and rejuvenate myself again”

“But I fought with my inner voices that told me to ignore what the world said. I had stepped out at midnight to confront the man of my dreams” I stood there waiting for him to enter his house and then I waited for her to come in. A Naive girl who had just entered her teens. I felt the urge to protect her from this evil man and his desires”

As she entered his house. With great difficulty I managed to convince myself to wait a bit longer. My conscious still kept telling me that they would be not be doing anything objectionable in there. They might be just pals meeting for a cup of coffee or something

An array of positive and negative thoughts fought within me

What if they are not doing anything ? I will lose him from my life

What if I find them in a compromising position? I will still lose him from my life

A Part of me still did not want to lose him. A part of me was still attached to him. However I did manage to ring the doorbell with shaking hands

A Paused for a moment. Knowing how keen Aarav was to know what happened next

He opened the door only wearing his boxers and the teenage girl tried her best to hide as much as she could behind those bedsheets.

Tears rolled down uncontrollably. I shivered as I spoke . As he opened his mouth to convince me again with a new lie. I slapped him across his face.

The Part of me that was attached to him suddenly died. That part of me which was him. That part of me that still loved him to the levels of insanity was no more.

The Sound of the slap was thunderous and it killed all emotions, sentiments, feelings and love that was ever attributed to that man. But I felt good. I was no longer living as a victim. I had emerged victorious.

I walked out of that place breathing with a new confidence and looking forward to my life. My life with genuine people in my life. My family, my siblings, my friends . I had neglected all of them all along for this man. This man who understood my value. This man who pushed me to the limits. This man who will never forget the thunderous sound of this slap”

Aarav was overjoyed. He felt inspired by this story. He wanted to write about her, About this Lioness who had roared and conquered

“ What about Your Story ? I Somehow feel even you have a story to tell me .” She said

He reluctantly spoke “ I was a struggling writer and she was the daughter of a rich merchant. We were madly in love but things could have only worked out if I had taken up a job and followed another career”. But right since childhood the only thing I knew was writing stories. I was confident of my talent and I needed time to prove it to the world “

“ But, Time was something we did not have. There was tremendous pressure on her to get married. NRI Matches were being fixed for her. Her prospective grooms were inadvertently perfect in all departments. Good Looking, earning well and picture perfect. Leaving no room for her to reject them. That night she proposed that we should elope. I really wanted to dissuade her but I did not want to break her heart by saying no.”

“ She had eloped from her house that night but I did not go. She spent the entire night on the platform waiting for me to come so that we could board a train and elope. “

“ I did not find the courage to go. I kept pushing myself all night but I just did not have enough mettle in me at that stage”

“Next morning her dad and her relatives started looking for her everywhere. I was beaten up by her brothers to find out if I knew her whereabouts “ Eventually out of fear of being killed by her dad and brothers even I eloped from my village.”

“I kept trying to find her for many years. Today after 8 long years I have finally found her. She runs an NGO where she helps poor girls who have become the victims of Human trafficking. “

“ I am on my way to meet her. I want to ask for her apology. Give her my explanations and then propose her for marriage” Wish Me Luck

They shook hands as the train halted .

“Will we meet again in this Journey called Life “ She asked

“Life is too short and it is drifting away as we speak, I would love to have you as a friend forever . You Bring a lot of positive energy into my being. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story “i would love to tell it to the world and inspire many more women who are oppressed and still living under the conflict of whether or not to confront their abuser”

Her perception of Aarav had been wrong. Maybe she still needed to learn to judge people. He was a very genuine kind hearted person and all he wanted to do was have a conversation in this long boring journey and make it more exciting and inspiring.

“Sure, Thanks for being my friend and I really wish with all my heart that you find her and may you both live happily ever after “ She Concluded

© Jitendra Kotai

Khanabadoshiyan- The Forbidden Path

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi

How do we draw the line between right and Wrong ? Every single being has their own take on Ethics , Morals , Principles. Norms created by the society.

What if something we do feels perfectly right and awesome but it is obnoxious according to certain norms laid down by society?

What if that experience is the only thing you want ?

You love it so much that you find reasons and arguments to justify that thing. You feel absolutely ecstatic about it.

This gives rise to a rebel ” Khanabadosh” is an urdu word for someone who swims against the current.. He is someone who goes above and beyond what is considered to be a normal way of living. He is someone who flirts with risks and lives on the edge. He is someone who is ready to lose everything he has to the flip of  a coin and start all over again. He is insane , Unpredictable and Ambitious

Dev Kripalani lived his life on his own terms. He did things randomly like quitting jobs and changing careers. He hated to live his life based on a routine. He hated time tables and alarm clocks He enjoyed doing certain things which were totally against all norms.

His Decision to get married to Vaani had been an instant one too. They had fallen in love on a Thursday and gotten married on a Friday. She was completely drunk when he had proposed to her kneeling down with a rose in his hand. She had been barely able to stand on her feet but had accepted his proposal and jumped with joy.

But things had become pretty stagnant considering his vagabond ways and her disconnection from him. He always felt she was in a world of her own. Barely listening to him . He felt lonely in her company. He felt he was the only one attempting a conversation, starting a topic and then ending it himself.. He had stopped feeling that spark and all his efforts to rejuvenate their marriage had been futile. He hoped that one day she might understand his worth and acknowledge his presence.

He was not someone who could be captivated within certain predefined limits and restricted boundaries. He was like a bird that flew above and beyond breaking all shackles of society

But then something happened in his life that left him wrecked completely

Her name was Shreya. His relationship with shreya could not be defined by him. He was definitely smitten by her. But he had never had any bad intentions or hidden agenda .

But he was always unsure about her. He himself could not predict what she could come up with next.

Shreya was the most awesome thing that had ever happened to him. It was way beyond friendship and yet it was not love. Society understands the most complex of things But what it fails to understand is a special bond of friendship between a man and a woman

They had met in the strangest of ways possible He had been standing there at the grocery store watching her argue with the store owner over selling goods which have been long expired .

This girl looked like an Aphrodite  with her round face and beautifully carved features. As if the maker had specifically drawn the beautiful eyes, nose , lips and structured the way her lips curved when she smiled. She was petite and vivacious. Her voice was chirpy and she had the exuberance of youth.

Logically speaking , Every friendship is based on attraction and every relationship is based on friendship. Sometimes you just like the way someone smiles or speaks or just the way they are

He instantly developed a liking for this girl. But he was scared to speak to her. He Stood there staring at her and when she looked at him, he looked away and started walking . The Chirpy voice stopped him “ You are Vaani’s Husband right ?”That brought an instant smile on his face. The Girl knew him. He smiled and introduced himself ” Dev Kripalani” and she replied by saying ” I Know”.

They hit it off , right from the day they had met. High fives and loud roars of laughter ensued every time they were together. She brought out the best in him and he seemed to have the solutions to all her woes. They shared a common ground. Unfriendliness from their respective spouses.

Her past had been a very tragic one. She trusted him and shared everything with him about her  Past, Present and Future Aspirations.

She had belonged a small village on the outskirts of Gurgaon where Khap Panchayats still created havoc. She had been married off to her Husband Randeep just because she had been caught by her brother watching a movie with a boy. A Normal date where they bunked college and caught the latest bollywood blockbuster. But that ensured her brothers rage, She was caged in her own house and then made ready to be sent off as soon as they found a suitor. The age gap between them was not considered since it was more of a generation gap.

Four Years into her marriage she still longed for acknowledgment from him. He was the old school patriarch who did not have great respect for strong and independent women.

According to him women were only supposed to do certain household chores and keep their husbands happy She had religiously fulfilled all her duties as a wife. Randeep was a self proclaimed perfect man. He was well groomed, well read, educated, a great orator, extremely handsome and played the role of the patriarch perfectly. But what she needed was a light hearted conversation. His attention and acknowledgment. Maybe a couple of compliments on her looks and even a faint lopsided smile.

But the old school men were taught to be rude and arrogant. They had learned to be aloof and not show their love. If they showed love and appreciation to their women, the women might just be compelled to have an upper hand . If they gave too much liberty she might start taking her own decisions and it would be too disrespectful for them. She might even end up talking back and putting her foot down against unrealistic demands and not fulfilling her duties as expected.

Dev was the one who gave her undivided attention. He complimented her for every new dress she wore and how pretty she looked. He even remembered certain things she had spoken about and made sure he helped her fulfill those wishes. He had once helped her sneak out of her house and taken her to a discotheque that she had longed to visit. She had then fulfilled her wish of sipping alcohol and dancing like no-one’s watching .He considered himself lucky to be in her company. He longed for spending some with her. Listen to her chirpy voice. Smell the fragrance of her perfume. 

On One such Fateful day when they had met secretly.  she had come with a different agenda. She had been predetermined to end their friendship.

Her friends had spoken about seeing her with another man and the fear of Randeep knowing about her friendship had shaken her completely. Today she had made up her mind to tell him that she wanted to never meet him again

Dev, You are a wonderful friend to have” Shreya quippedYou understand me perfectly. Your sense of humor relieves me of all the stress I go through , sometimes you miraculously resolve all the issues I have” But” She said and paused

But What” Dev asked

Don’t you think we are taking it too far. We are literally talking all day and spending too much time in each other’s company. I am scared we might end up with a bad name in society” She Concluded

But we know that it is just friendship. We connect at a certain level but we are not crossing boundaries .” “ Society never understood friendship between man and a woman and they never will” “They have their minds full of filth “Dev Said

I wish you understand me again and stop all sorts of communication with me” She said with tears in her eyes. She had said and walked away

Our rebellious hero decided to play some stunts. He enrolled himself for the same cricket club where Randeep used to play. His game plan was to befriend Randeep and in the bargain get his old friendship back..

His struggle for winning Randeep’s friendship may never seen the light of the day unless Vaani entered the scenario. After earning his spot as the opening batsman alongside Randeep when he started wearing his gloves, randeep asked him the same question that he had heard in a chirpy voice before “ You are Vaani’s Husband right ?”

And then the Pandora box opened revealing loads of secrets.

History Professor at the most reputed Arts college in the city Mr Randeep Singh had a special liking for his student Ms Vaani Thakur. He had spent a lot of time with her after college imparting historical wisdom into her

It happened to be Vaani’s birthday.The stage was set. Dev had decided to make them meet. For him it was a win win situation. Vaani gets to meet her old crush Professor Randeep and he gets to meet his special friend Shreya

He had invited the couple for dinner to a safe and sophisticated italian restaurant where he personally knew the owner . He had taken Vaani along and not informed her the names of the guests.

The Surprise in store was going to be as surprising to the recipient as it was to the Planner of the surprise.

He kept fidgeting with the forks, spoons and tissues in anticipation of what was coming next.

Randeep and Shreya entered arm in arm . They looked beautiful together. Dev looked at his wife and he had expected a certain discomfort or awkwardness which would have given him lots of sadistic pleasure. But Vaani greeted them with a smile.

The two women were having a lovely conversation from planning for kids to shades of nail pant.

The awkwardness ensued between the men. Dev realized that Randeep had sensed his special inclination towards his wife, by the way he had looked at her, greeted her and continued to stare at her.

Randeep proposed the two men take a smoke break. As they lit their respective cigarettes in the smoking arena ,Randeep spoke “ Vaani is a fabulous human being, Things did not work out between us since we had a tremendous age- gap. Her father had not given his authorization for our marriage. He felt that two people with an age-difference of 15 years are not compatible “ .

Taking a Deep Breath He Continued .

You know I accepted the proposal from Shreya’s parents simply to show him that I can live my life with a girl who is 15 years younger to me. That too a perfect life”

Shreya is perfect wife. Cooks amazing food, takes care of my parents. She starts her day at 7.00 am and is doing something for me and my parents till way past midnight”

Another puff and he confinued

“She did get a little distracted in between due to a new friend she made. Her name was Devi “

“ But she soon stopped meeting her , since she was leading her to be rebellious” I discouraged her from meeting Devi, Since it would mean unnecessary confidence and higher expectations “ Dev could not believe how logic and reasoning went beyond this professor who believed in being the god of his wife’s life. Controlling every bit of emotion she had ever had.

Randeep Sir” Dev said reluctantly “ She is extremely beautiful, you are a very lucky man “

” I Would suggest you should allow her to see her friends once in a while” he added

Randeep smiled and left the smoking zone.

As Dev was walking towards the dinner table. He met shreya who was walking towards the smoking zone She dragged him back to the smoking zone and lit a cigarette for herselfYou planned this, Didnt you? She demanded to knowYes “ he said , looking down.

Shreya opened her big eyes really wide and said in an obnoxiously rude toneI know you do things randomly and then think about them. You married Vaani and then regretted” .Now you are hopelessly attracted towards me and you keep planning things to get near me again”You think you love me , Do you have the guts to walk out of your marriage and be with me”You stammer while speaking to my husband “

He held her shoulders and calmed her down “ You are getting it all wrong. My Intention was to get back your friendship. I am not thinking about anything else. I am not a pervert as you are thinking now” “Even Vaani is missing friends in her life and she used to connect well with Professor Sahab”

Connect well “ , “My foot” she saidShe is the reason he married me but never loved me. “ I longed for his love, his acknowledgment, his affection. But he was so deeply depressed that she was not in his life that he had stopped living “

I targeted you” she revealed . “ I wanted to take revenge from her for ruining my life” But half way through it , I realized I was doing the wrong thing. It was all a pretense. I wanted my life back” I was craving to get some love from my husband” “ I never intended to have any relationship with you”

But when I started spending time with you. He realized something was missing. He realized that I was drifting apart. He started communicating with me, bringing me gifts, complimenting me “His attention seeking behavior made me blush”, “ The very fact that he was talking to me and sharing his problems, his jokes , his aspirations with me was redeeming “

Randeep and Shreya had redefined their relationship. Dev had unknowingly help them sort their marital issues. Shreya still did not understand that all Dev wanted was to be her friend. She shunned him for bringing Vaani back into her husbands life. She had pulled out his ex from his psyche after tremendous amount of effort and in his foolishness Dev was making all her efforts go waste.

Right now she is sitting with my husband on that dinner table. I do not know what they are talking about. May be rekindling their old friendship. May be they made some plans to meet separately alone”You are culprit. Do not play with my life now. Especially since I am pregnant “

Wow “ Dev Said “ Excellent news. That calls for a party. “ I am really so happy for you”

You are Impossible” She Said and slammed the door of the smoking zone and left Dev kept thinking about it. Was she expecting that Dev gets angry knowing this? But she had said she enjoyed the attention from her husband. Understanding a woman is more difficult than rocket science .

Dev walked back to the dinner table and sat right across the history professor.So how was the wisdom imparting session” he made a smart quipWell” Vaani Said “ You will know when you get home” Should I tell him Sir ?” She winked at Randeep and they all laughed. They made it all sound so normal.

Well Vaani had never been able to forget her first love. She had always been in touch with Randeep. Shreya’s idea of revenge had started after she had eavesdropped on a conversation between Vaani and her husband.

And when Randeep found out about Shreya’s friendship with Dev. He had confronted her.

Things had been talked about. She had confessed to him about her wish to take revenge on Vaani and all that had transpired after that.

Her reasons and justifications had led to a grand session of tears and accusations . But Eventually They had both accepted each other and tried to start a new life.

With everyone having their hidden agenda and manipulating each other. They had somehow used Dev to rectify their lives and put all the blame on him .

Dev was left feeling bad about himself. To the three people sitting on that table he was A lowly pervert who had eyed someone else’s wife. And they were all perfect.

Since they had done all things within the dimensions defined by the society and not tried to swim against the current. A New day would start and he would get back to another routine normal life but considering the Khanabadosh he is , You never know. He may try another experiment against the basic rules the society sets for itself .

The fact is that he still feels great about himself and has tremendous respect for the fact that at least he was true to himself and pretending to be perfect. But the question still haunts him “ Can A Man and a woman be Just Friends , Can they have a purely platonic affection? And if they do, Will people talk about it with Straight faces ? “

© Jitendra Kotai