Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Nightmarish Experience

I was filled with excitement as we climbed up the volcanic mountain. We were climbing up the Barren Island, India’s only active volcano. After my sixth standard examinations my family (my parents, brother and me) had come to the Andaman and Nicobar islands for a trip. The only way to reach Barren Island, which is around three hundred kilometers from port Blair, is by a two day journey and I was so seasick, I delayed our tour for a day. We were not the only ones climbing the volcano. There were around a hundred more people trekking, climbing from different parts of the wide volcano. There were also two hundred people just sitting near the volcano’s foot and taking selfies with the volcanic mountain in the backdrop.

By far, we were ahead of all the groups who were scaling the mountain. I wanted to have the peak all to myself before the others came. After an hour of climbing we reached the peak. We were the first to reach the peak and the crater was empty. The surface felt hot but our guide said that the surface around the peak was always hot. I took a selfie with my mother, the volcano’s crater in the background. When I took the mobile to see how the picture was, I felt something was unusual. I zoomed in when I saw small, minute patches of red. When I showed it to my father, he said that he couldn’t see anything. I zoomed in again but this time I couldn’t see anything.
I thought that I had imagined it and I turned behind to see one of the most beautiful scenery I had ever seen comprising of the deep, almost transparent, blue sea, the clouds, as white as snow, which were hovering just a few hundred feet above. Then I turned around t0 see that there were already around fifty people who were within fifty feet radius. They were taking pictures, chatting and the guides who were pouring out all the information they had learnt by heart (which I figured out as all of them were saying just the same thing with a gap of around six or seven seconds).

Then, with a small tremble, the volcano all of a sudden blew out a puff of smoke which made all of us gape and several of the tourists screamed. The rest, who were busy in photography, turned back to see what caused the sudden change in sound. There was one more tremble which sent out a larger and darker puff of smoke. The guides who were telling the people not to worry suddenly went dumbstruck at seeing the new puff of smoke. I felt the surface grow hot. I peeped into the volcano to see hot magma before a third smoke cloud made my spectacles fall into the volcano. 

Then things turned worse. The surface was as hot as burning metal. People were running down the volcano and a few tripped and rolled to the foot of the volcano and taking a few others with them into the sea. My mother grabbed my arm and pulled me, right when I was walking towards the crater. Then to my horror, she suddenly slipped and fell, taking my family hurtling down, to the side opposite to where the boats were. A man who was close by tried to help me but instead fell into the crater.. I was filled with guilt as he lost his life trying to save me. His spectacles lay on the surface sliding down the slope. Since I was unable to see clearly, I took his spectacles which were godsend and wore it. The power of the spectacles was higher than what I usually wore so the vision was poor, yet better than wearing none. I started to climb down and search for my family. On the sea, there were around hundred boats so my aim was to get to the boats with my family.

I searched for my mother everywhere as I continued to climb down. Then I spotted her, on the other side of the volcano with my family. I ran to them as fast as I could. Then I heard the volcano explode. The sound almost made me deaf. What I saw was indescribable. It was a double mushroom cloud, in the colours of red, orange, black, grey and white. It started to rain rocks everywhere. Lava overflowed from the crater almost as fast as water. Suddenly a rock in the size of a cricket ball, hit me on my spine. I fell, rolling on the ground. I had almost reached my parents. Clutching my spine and wondering why they were moving so slowly while I ran at my top speed. 

When I thought I was a few meters away, a rock which was in the size of a rugby ball landed on my foot. Pain shot through my body like a bullet and I rolled over, to the place where I thought my parents were standing, clutching my foot. A pair of hands grabbed me and took me somewhere. I opened my eyes and saw my parents looking anxiously at me. My mother said, “We are in a cave under the volcano to shield ourselves from the explosion. We have a boat which we will use to leave this island after the explosions stop.” My father pointed towards the boat in the sea which was right in front of the entrance of the cave.

Minutes later, rock, ash and lava fell on the platform in front of us. It felt like hours since the explosion had taken place. We were wearing our life jackets which we wore during our journey to the island, when suddenly  huge chunks of burning rocks fell on the boat and sank it. After a few seconds of waiting, the pieces of rock gradually decreased, and after some time it stopped completely. We ran out of the cave and I climbed the volcano a little, and spotted another group of people pushing a boat out of another cave. We ran with all our might but my broken foot slowed us down. 

  Suddenly out of the blue there was the second explosion! My eyes were filled with terror as this explosion was twice the size of the previous one with three huge mushroom shaped clouds. We ran towards the people who were now pushing the boat on the water. My parents shouted at them to wait for us. That was when I realized that my brother was not there with us. I asked my mother about him but I knew the answer before she could reply. Tears rolled out of her eyes.

The boat was waiting for us. We had reached it within ten seconds of the explosion. I sent my parents to board the boat before me. A rock fell into the sea just ahead of us which rocked the boat forward. I tried to jump into the boat but missed it due to my broken leg. I swam ahead and held onto the boat. My father and one more person pulled me up but someone switched on the motor. The boat moved ahead a few meters before someone stopped it. I swam farther and by now the water was deep but due to the lifejacket I managed to remain afloat.
Just then a huge burning rock fell on me and burnt a huge hole in my life jacket and penetrated further to burn my skin. Then I couldn’t move. My mother was crying and I began to lose consciousness and things started to turn black. “Move the boat, he’s dead”, someone shouted. I forced my eyes open and swam under water as I heard the boat’s engine revving and the boat moved ahead. The life jacket pulled me back up and so I unstrapped it and swam below. All the rocks fell in the water with great splashes but were slowed down due to the water and were harmless by the time they reached me.

Unsure of whether the explosion had ended, I swam up, as I couldn’t hold my breath any longer. I held on to my life jacket, half torn apart and half burnt and came up. I took a long breath and went underwater again, bobbing up and down, coming up for breath, going down again. When finally the explosion seemed to have stopped, I slowly swam back to the island. In a few hours there would be geologists here to see what damage has been done and I would be saved. I drifted off to sleep and when I woke up I was in a hospital, my mother beside me holding my hand and my father smiling at my tired face. Apparently, my mother had fought and convinced the boat driver to turn and come back for me. 

The nightmare was finally over!                          

Friday, October 9, 2015

The dream ((OR WAS IT))

 I felt drowsy as I dragged my legs and followed Abhay, Anirudh and Anaya in to the forest. It was late in the night and I really did not know why I was following them, where we were and where we were going. We were walking on a mud path and I was walking behind everyone.
I had come to Germany and we were camping in the Black Forest. My parents did not come with us and was feeling a bit homesick, due to their absence.  The sky was filled with dark, heavy clouds making the place look like a cemetery. 

After walking for what seemed like an hour, the path came to a fork. There were three forks each bordered by metal grills on both sides. Everyone stopped dead in their tracks. I asked them what happened. They looked as if they had been completely immobilized.

In a flash, even before I could think of it, they broke into a run, into the darkness of the first fork. Now it seemed as if I had taken their place. I stood there rooted to the spot, wondering what happened. It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened.

Then I said, “Guys, this is not funny. I know you’re trying to scare me”. 

I felt a chill run down my spine even as I said it. Where did they go? I couldn’t understand why they were scaring me. Also, while walking with them I felt that they were hypnotized. Then, suddenly out of the first fork came a blood curdling yell. 

I felt the ground shaking. Was it an earthquake? Definitely it could not be, since it felt as if it was coming towards me. A loud howl came from the first fork. The thing that was shaking the ground seemed to be very close to. Then from the horizon, came the earth-shakers. A pack of twelve to fifteen wolves ran in a second into the first fork, even without looking at me.

At an instant, the air was filled with howls of the wolves and yells of my dying friends. I didn’t want to go back. Who knew how many more wolves were waiting there. Because three was my lucky number, I decided to enter the third fork. 

As soon as I ran into the third fork, the ground began to shake again. About twenty wolves, their yellow, sharp teeth bared at me were chasing me. I knew they were faster than me and there was no way I could get away from them, I still decided to give it a go. I ran with all my energy. Then, with one mighty howl, the wolf right behind me pounced on me.

I fell down, right on my back. I heard a soft crack from my back. The wolf’s mouth watered. A voice in my head said, “Let it go, my dear boy. There’s no way you can survive”. Then another voice, that sounded brave, said, “What is the need to die, young man. You have a long life ahead of you. Try your best to survive”.

I felt that I could survive. I landed a hard kick, right on the wolf’s stomach. It fell off me and I began to run. The wolves pounced on me. I was so filled with adrenaline, that I could fight them off me. A boy, one or two years younger than me, was running beside me. It felt really good to have company, making it feel like a god sent gift.

Then to my horror, the fork came to an end. As the saying goes, when none of the doors open, try the windows. At the end of the fork, I saw a few rocks. With all my energy, I jumped up, onto one of the rocks. The boy beside me did the same. The wolves, unable to climb the rocks, stopped following us. 

Instead of feeling better, I felt as if everything was lost. We were stuck between the demon and the deep sea. If we jumped back, the wolves would gobble us up. It would be really difficult to fight all of them at once. And the rocks we were standing on were moving slightly ahead, threatening to fall down the valley.

The only hope of surviving was to jump off the rocks, to the other side of the garden which was about three to four yards away. I decided to risk it. I took a long breath, steadied my legs and jumped. As soon as I did it, the rocks slid off the platform and slipped down the valley along with the boy.

The wolves ran away from the fork. But definitely, there was no way I was going back to the fork. I walked ahead into the other side of the garden. There was nothing of interest, only trees, bushes and shrubs. I walked for some more time and came to a mountain. On the top of the mountain I saw a blue object.

I decided to climb the mountain to the blue object. There were small gaps in the mountains which I could use perfectly to climb the mountain. After an hour of climbing, when each and every part of my body ached, I reached the blue object. It was something I had never expected. A helicopter!

But this was the strangest of its kind that I had seen. It was cuboid in shape with an entrance like a submarine’s. Everything else was like a normal helicopter. I went inside it, but there was no one in side. Because my legs aching due to walking so far, I sat in the pilot’s seat.
I rested my hand on the platform in front of me, which were full of buttons. To my horror, my elbow pressed on one of my buttons. The blades of the helicopter began rotate. I froze as I felt the helicopter rise in the air.

Now there was only one thing I could do: Control the helicopter. But how could I. I didn’t know a single thing about helicopters. I took the steering wheel and pulled it back as hard as I could. The chopper rose higher faster into the sky and shot forward.

My hands filled with sweat, and my head started to ache. The helicopter seemed to listen to my brain more than the steering wheel. It carried me along for a long time until I felt cold air enter the chopper. I looked down and saw I was flying above the Mediterranean Sea.

Then as if the sea was huge magnet it sucked the chopper down into its own waves. I tried hard to control it with my mind and steering wheel. But it was of no use. The bottom of the chopper was touching the surface of the wave. Water entered the helicopter. In a few seconds the water was up to my chest. All hope was lost and there was nothing else to do other than pray. There was a small locket and quite stupidly clutched it tightly in my hand.
Then a huge wave crashed against the helicopter. The door of the helicopter snapped open. The water was almost up to my nose. I tried my best to increase the altitude of the chopper, but in vain. My worst night mare was true. The water filled the helicopter completely. There was no way I could swim up to the door and open it in a moving helicopter.

Then suddenly the helicopter rose from the sea level. It was gaining altitude. Then in a few minutes all the water was drained out from a small hole in which I guessed it entered. In few hours the chopper was flying over my home town, Bangalore. 

Then a jerk caused turbulence in the helicopter. There was a small blast in the engine and it was losing altitude. In a distance I could see my apartment. Not now, not when I’m so close to my destination, I thought. The chopper began to heat up. It was so hot in a matter of a few seconds that I felt the locket in my hand would melt. I clutched it so tight my hand started aching but I didn’t let go.

“Sonu ... Sonu wake up. It’s time for your cricket class”, came my father’s voice. What was happening? The scene was dissolving. I woke up, sweating completely. It was a dream! It was all an illusion showed to me by my brain! I was never so happy to see my house! It was a dream that I could never forget! But was it I felt my palm burning and paining dreadfully and when I opened my clenched fist, I was most shocked to find the locket stuck hard to my palm!!!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The thief of the cotton rolls

Once there lived a cotton trader. He had to deliver cotton rolls to the country of China. He had to travel a great distance to reach his destination. He got tired on the way and slept under the shade of a statue of Buddha.

He kept his bundle of rolls beside him while sleeping. When he woke up his cotton rolls were missing. He went to the judge of the city and told him his problem.

The judge told everyone “As this man was sleeping under the statue of the Buddha the statue is the culprit. We must go and arrest that statue”.

All the people were left dumbstruck. The judge and a few men went to the statue, lifted it and brought it to the house of the judge. There were many more people than the day before.
Many people were laughing at the decision of the judge. The judge called all the people who were laughing at his decision. 

He told the people “I had made my decision and the king has made laws that whoever laughs at my decision must be punished. So, these people deserve punishment”.

“They must bring a bundle of cotton rolls from their houses or else they will be arrested”. So, the next day all of the people who were ‘punished’ brought a bag of cotton rolls each.
All the bags were checked secretly inside the judge’s house. One of the bags was the merchant’s. The man who had brought the merchant’s bag was arrested.

 The merchant got his bag back and was happy. Then the judge told all the people why he arrested the statue and gave those people punishment. All the people praised the judge’s wisdom and went back home.

The rope of Ash

Once there was a rich merchant who had only one son. His son was very lazy and foolish. The merchant was very worried about his son. He would become the heir to all his wealth. He wanted his son to use the money wisely. So, he decided that he would marry his son to a wise woman. 

He called his son and told him to take a herd of rams to the market and buy five bags of rice. His son asked him if he should sell the rams. The merchant told him to bring the rice and the rams back.

The son was confused. He went to the market and sat there waiting for someone to help him. No one came to his help. Everyone was busy and no one paid attention to him. It was noon and he hadn’t bought the rice. 

He decided to go to his house. As he was getting up to leave a girl came and asked him are those rams for sale. He told her that they were not for sale. Then she asked him why he was sitting there. He was amazed by her beauty. He told her about the task his father had given him. He asked her how he could buy rice without selling the rams.

She told him you should go home with the rams but you can sell their wool. They went and borrowed a pair of shears and cut the rams’ wool. He sold all the wool and had enough money to buy five bags of rice.

He took the rams and the rice home and showed his father. His father did not say anything. He told him to come to the dining room the next morning. The next morning he went to the dining room and found his father waiting for him there.   

His father told him to take the same rams to the market and buy six bags of barley. He told him to bring the barley and wool back. His son like the day before was stumped.

He went to the market and sat there waiting for someone to help him. He hoped that the girl would help him again. That noon the girl came again and asked him what was the task his father had given today.

He told her the task his father had given him. He asked her how he could buy barley without selling the rams or its wool. She again helped him. She told him that he could sell the horns of the rams. 

He thanked her and cut the horns of the rams and sold it and bought six bags of barley. He went home and showed the barley. His father knew that he had not done the work all by himself. 

He asked his son to tell the truth about who had helped him. He told his father about the girl. His father told him to tell the girl to make a rope of ash.

The son went and told the girl about the task for her. She went home and kept a rope on a tile and burnt it. The rope was burnt but the ash was left on the tile.

She took the tile and ash of the rope to the merchant and showed it to him. The merchant was very happy with her asked her to marry his son. They were married. After the death of the merchant his son continued his business with the help of his intelligent wife.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The wise prince

 A  long  time  ago  three  kings  were  travelling  to  a  distant  land.   As  it  was  a  long  way  from  their  kingdoms,  they  took  a  shortcut.  On   their  way  they  saw  an  uninhabited  land.  The  kings  thought  it  was  a  good  place  for  people  to  live,   so  they  thought  of  developing  it  into  a  city.  After  they  finished  their  work  they  brought  people  from  their  kingdom  to  that  land  and  built  great  mansions,  buildings,  schools,  universities, etc. They   built   the  city  beautifully  and  it  was adored  by  everyone.  But   the   only  thing  missing  was  proper  security  .  

A   cruel   king  heard  of  it  and  planned  to  attack  the  city.  As  the  security  was  not  proper  the  king  attacked  it  easily  and  looted  all  its  riches,  destroyed  all  the wonderful  things  in  it  and  it  became uninhabitable again. The  kings  could not rescue their new  city  and  they  could  not  help  much  as  they  had  spent  more  than  three – fourths  of  their  treasure in building the city.  They  donated some of the left over treasure  to  the  citizens  and  helped them build  small  huts as they could not afford great  mansions like  before.  There  were  no  great  buildings,  towers  or  anything  except  small  dirty  huts  and  hungry  people.  

After  twenty  years  the  three  princes  of  the  kings  came  to  the  city  which  actually  was  like  a  poor  village.  The  first  prince  couldn’t  stand  to  see  such  poverty.  He  gave  away  all  his  valuable  jewels  and  gold.  The  second  prince  also  couldn’t  stand  to  see  such  poverty  and  gave  away  all  his  food  and  drink.  The  third  prince  thought  for  a  while  and  just  rode  away  on  his  horse.  The  other  two  princes  said  ‘ Hey  look  at  him. He  lacks  decency  and  generosity. What  a  shame  for  a  prince!’  they  said.  After  four  hours  they  saw  the  prince  riding  back  towards  the  village  with  a  large  wagon. The  wagon  contained  farming  implements,  tools  and  sacks  of  seeds.  He  gave  it  to  all  the  citizens.  

After  two  years,  the  princes  saw  that  the  village  was  developing  into  a  town.  All  the  small  huts  became  normal  sized  houses  and  some  buildings  were  built.  The  two  princes  who  commented  about  the  other  prince  realized  that  they  had  just  helped  the  citizen  so  that  they  can  feel  better  about  themselves  whereas  the  other  prince  really  worried  about  the  people   and  had  given  them  a  permanent  solution  out  of  poverty.  The  jewels,  gold,  food  and  drink  could  help  the  people  temporarily  whereas  the  farming  tools  could  help  them  to  get  out  of  poverty  permanently.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Farmer and his Good Friends

Once   a  farmer  called  Ram   lived  in  a  small  village.  He  was  very   kind – hearted.  Many  animals  lived  in  his  farm.  They  also  helped  him  to grow   crops. Like  the  hen  killed  all  the  worms  which   destroyed  the  crops,  the  owls  which  killed   the  mice  and   other  night  animals,   the  kites  killed  the  small  animals  which  made   burrows  and  holes  in  Ram ‘ s  fields.  

One  day  a  baby  snake  came  to  his  field.  “ Kill  that  snake,  It’s very  poisonous”  shouted  all  the  workers. But  Ram  was  a  very   kind  person.  He stopped  the  workers  and  took   it   to  a  corner  and  made  a  burrow  for  the  snake.  He  also  made  a  path near  his  field  because  he  thought  it  may  kill  the  mice  living  there. He  also  took  nice  care  of  it. But  the  snake  grew  up  to  be  cruel. Instead  of  killing  mice  it  killed  the  other  animals  that  helped  Ram.  Ram  also came  to  know  about  the  snake  but  he  didn’t  do   anything.  But  the  snake  was  scared  only  of  a  long  stick  Ram  carried. 

One  day  a  kite  was  perched  on  a  broken  branch  near  the  snake’s  burrow.  He saw  the  kite  and  jumped  on  it  and  wrapped  himself  around  the  kite.  All  the  animals  tried  to  pull  the  kite  but  the  snake  had  wrapped  himself  tightly  around  the  kite.  Suddenly  the  snake  saw  Ram  with  the  long  stick  and  let  go  of  the  kite.  The   kite  was  relieved.  But  the  snake  didn’t  give  up  so  easily.  This  time   he  planned  to  attack  Ram  and  his  family  but  he  never  got  an  opportunity  because  Ram  always  used  to  carry  the  long  stick  with  him.  

One day, Ram  and his  family were  returning  from  the  market.  This  time  Ram  wasn’t  carrying  the  stick  so  the snake  jumped  at  Ram’s  foot  to  bite  him.  The  kite  whom  Ram  had  saved  picked  the  snake  and  threw  him  far  from  the  farm.  Ram  was  very  happy  and  so  were  the  other  animals.  The  whole  farm  rejoiced  again.