I Rhyme without Reason

The most beautiful but the most unfortunate of the seven is what is known as psychic. This in its purity of type is a very rare hand to find. The name explains itself – that which appertains to the soul. The very word seems to suggest to one’s mind the old fable of the envy of Venus towards the maiden Psyche – the war of the Goddess of passion against the more spiritual charm of the daughter of the soul. In its pureness of type it is a hard hand to find: nineteenth century civilization does not encourage such rare flowers of lily whiteness and icy purity; the calmness, coldness and dreamy chastity of such a type are not sought after by the present-day sons of the soil, whose heads are bowed in the quest for gold, and whose blood is heated by the closeness of the cattle.

The above passage is from Cheiro’s ‘Language of the Hand’ describing a particular type of hand known as the psychic hand. I find this description fits the writings on the blog ‘I rhyme without reason’ more than anything I can possibly say.The writings are sensitive and gentle like an early morning breeze. The writings remind me of the old Romantic poets like Wordsworth and Keats. Of course I am not suggesting he has reached their level. But the potential is definitely there. But for this type of writer, the writings must necessarily come from the heart and only his heart can tell him how to reach the next level. Visiting more scenic places and reading more from similar kind of writers can help the process. One suggestion I have is to avoid frivolous prompts. They can adulterate the purity of the writing of this kind of writer.

Coming to the more mundane practical aspects, the name is definitely appropriate as is the background with stylized writing and well chosen header pictures with well chosen quotes. Indeed he does live in words and writing is like breathing to him. The picture of a comic lion with a pen also goes well with his pen name ‘Leo’. The light yellow shades of the background are representative of his finer shade of writing unlike stronger colors that go more with much more intense and loudly passionate writings. The interaction is pretty decent. Navigation has scope for improvement. The sidebar links to his favorite poems and stories makes it easy to find the best works. But I am unable to find any way to locate posts by type say love poems or nature poems. The archives are a very tough way of finding something from over a thousand posts. Also some kind of random post widget can also help readers randomly sample works. I find the widget giving traffic by country totally useless and suggest removing the same.

In terms of content, the poems and stories are mostly on softer topics dealing with emotions handled with high amount of sensitivity. Nature, love beauty, dreams and passion are recurring themes in many of the works. I am tempted to suggest diversifying into a wider range of topics. But then people have their specialties. After all you can’t ask Shakespeare to write detective fiction or Arthur Conan Doyle to write plays. However I find his stories pretty good and would definitely suggest writing many more stories especially ones having some mythological connections. As far as the poetry goes, I recommend adding a note giving some context/ explanation as blog readers have low attention span and may not spend too much time doing critical analysis of poetry. So some amount of spoon feeding is in order.

Overall this blog is a treat for those who appreciate poetry and lyrical fiction. Find presented below 5 posts selected by the blogger to give the readers a preview before deciding to launch into the entire ocean of his writings.

Envy of Mornings
Why should I not smile when I believe in me
On Heart's Papers
The Journey

A Museum of Memories

Relentless is the flow of  a river in flood

It sweeps aside and carries away all

More relentless than water is time

Nor man nor God nor demon can

Dig in their feet and resist its flow

Everything that had a beginning

Necessarily has an end waiting

But to eternity will survive the little

Moments stolen from time’s flow

And preserved in the depth of my heart

Three decades of time has passed by me. It has brought along some precious rubies and diamonds. It has carried away a few of my sapphires and emeralds. One day it will carry me also away with it. But there are some moments I have secreted and hidden deep inside my heart safe from time’s flow. Here you will find on display some of those rare moments. Don’t think of stealing them. Imagine how tight the security must be if even time has not been able to steal them away.

What has no hands or legs, does not go tick tick, but wakes you up at the dot of seven in the morning nevertheless? The answer is the sweet aroma of fresh tea boiling on the kettle wafting from mother's kitchen. Dinner is usually the time of togetherness in most families. Morning tea was ours. With father’s erratic work schedule, it was rare for us to have dinner together. Morning tea was when me, my father and my mother sat leisurely for 15 minutes and exchanged sweet nothings. So much have we discussed over these cups of morning tea over the years! More precious to me is that cup of tea than the most divine ambrosia.

As a rule, man is a fool,

When it is hot he wants it cool

When it is cool he wants it hot

Always wanting what is not

When we had Doordarshan as the only TV channel, so many times have I wished we had multiple channels like in the US! But now with the coming of cable television my dreams have come true. Am I happy? You bet not! I miss those 7.00 pm Kannada serials and 9.00 pm Hindi serials on Doordarshan I used to sit and watch with my mother. Every day there used to be a different serial, not the same one everyday like now. And the serials would get over in 13 weeks and a new one would start. Sometimes dad would also join in for the 9.00 pm serial. People say television kills family conversations. But in our family, it stimulated conversation. I can recollect numerous discussions I have had with my mother around these serials. Those days are gone, serials of that caliber are gone, and mother herself is gone! But memories remain.

The next one is going to be a weird one: going shopping with my dad! What is this? Some crime against gender stereotypes challenge? Well, not exactly! Here, the shopping I am talking about is for books. Initially it started off with second hand story books. Then when I got older, it was second hand sports star magazines as I was crazy about maintaining a scrap book of pictures and statistics related to cricket. Then even later it was computer magazines for the free CDs having trial version of computer games. The books have changed over the years but the excitement of going book shopping with dad has remained the same. This has been one major casualty of having my own income. But the memories remain and possibly one day I should take my dad to a book exhibition and get him to buy me books for old time’s sake.

Lot of research has been done to understand the nature of human intelligence. If one were to ask me, I would say the ability to tell stories and appreciate them is one of the critical aspects of human intelligence. And I was introduced to one of the greatest story tellers in my very young years: my grandfather. Possibly my deep interest in stories also was inherited from him only. He has probably told me hundreds if not thousands of stories from Indian mythology, Shakespeare, English novels, movies and various other sources. In my childhood the very news that my grandfather was coming to visit would thrill me to the bone. I have read so many books and seen so many television series and movies since. But nowhere have I found the magic that my grandfather’s stories had.

People whine so much about the summer heat. I even recently heard a person remark that he is not a summer person. Well, I have always been a summer person. The reason being summer vacations! Now I no longer have summer vacations. But even the memories of my summer vacations while at school are sufficient to invigorate me on the most tiring summer days. Most of my summer vacations were spent in my grandparents’ home. It was a large house in Chennai with lot of people – grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. We used to play cricket without stumps, tennis without a net and racquets. Lots of indoor games were also there, traditional and modern. Then there were lot of other miscellaneous activities as well: messing around in the garden, cutting wood pieces with a hacksaw and helping my uncle who ran a factory at home with the packaging.

I developed my love for English movies during these vacations only. Those were days before computers and DVD players. VCR was the in thing then and my uncles had bought one newly. So every day I would visit the local VCR library with my uncle and cousin for choosing a movie. Every weekend trips would be planned to places in and around the city such as the local zoo, the snake park, the beach, museum and temples. I lived in nuclear family without any siblings. So the joint family experience during summer vacations was something really out of the world for me. The excitement started from the moment I landed there. The whole family would come out to greet me the minute I was at the gate. Recently I was at the wedding of one of my cousins. All the folks came ahead to greet me like old times. Immediately all the old memories came rushing back to my head and I felt totally overwhelmed.

Equally fun was my vacation at my other grandparents home. There were no other kids there, but my grandparents and unmarried uncle more than made up for the absence. My grandparents had preserved well all the board games my mom and her siblings had played with in their childhood. And then there were chess and playing cards. My uncle knew so many different games that could be played with playing cards. Both my grandfather as well as my uncle were accomplished chess players. My favorite board game was Monopoly. My grandfather and grandmother would sit and play Monopoly with me for hours together. My uncle was a very shy and reserved person who was more comfortable with children than with adults. We would converse for hours about cricket and about technologies of the future. He had an excellent sense of humor and every moment spent with him was a pleasure indeed. But eventually I grew up and was no longer a child. That kind of created a gap between me and my uncle. Nor can I be playing board games with my grandparents anymore at my age. But the memories of those wonderful moments still remain fresh in my mind.

There are many more moments on display. But unfortunately it is already closing hours.  You need to visit again to see the remaining displays. And new items are being added to the display every passing day of my life as events are rapidly being moved from the present to the past. For instance the lovely evening walks I used to have with my wife in the first year of our marriage. A moment it was here in the present. Then suddenly I changed jobs, my work timings changed and the moment became an addition to the archives.

Catch, then, Oh! catch the transient hour,

Improve each moment as it flies;

Life's a short summer--man a flow'r:

He dies--alas! how soon he dies!

Picture Credit : RQuack at Deviant Art

This entry is a part of the contest at BlogAdda.com in association with imlee.com

Two Blogger Awards and One more Contest Loss

Tale of three brothers

A huge army came from one direction. Caravans filled with wealth came from the second direction. Nobody came from the third. The two brothers converged on the inn. In ten years, the elder brother has gained power. The second brother had garnered wealth. Where was the third brother? Suddenly they recognized the inn keeper. He had married and settled down at the inn. He was busy playing with two little kids. The inn soon rang loud with arguments? Was wealth greater or power? They suddenly stopped and looked at the silent third brother. The happy contented look said it all.


This year I have been participating in lot of contests. But I don’t seem to be winning anything this year. Yesterday I bit the dust in yet another contest and was trying to swallow the disappointment. Then I thought what if I don’t win awards. More important is to win hearts. In these 4 years I have made so many good friends in the world of blogging. Even before the results, one of these friends SIS told me not to base the worth of my writings on contest results. Write for yourself and the one or two friends who genuinely like your writings. After the contest results, another friend DS told me something on similar lines. Thinking of it, friends like these mean more than contest victories. So I was a winner after all.

In this context, I am thinking of the blogger awards. I have already posted about the other 5 awards I had received. Today I have yet another blogger award. This time from Princess Poo, a sweet little blogger! The award can be found here. Thanks a lot for the award, princess. I really appreciate.

Then going through my old blogs, I noticed another award I had missed out. It is from another young blogger Devan Harikumar. Thanks DeVan. It does mean a lot to me. Sorry for the delay in accepting the award. Here is the award link.

In the world we assess the value of things by their scarcity. By that principle, contest awards are scarce while blogger awards are abundant. Does that mean blogger awards are less valuable than contest awards? Diamonds are rare. Air and water are abundant. Think about it.


A stupid choice

Duryodhana was jubilant. He could not believe Arjuna’s stupidity. Lord Krishna had tried to trick him and give the hand away to Arjuna. And his stupid cousin had frittered away the opportunity. He had gotten Krishna’s powerful Yadava army? And what had Arjuna got? Just a Lord Kirshna who had vowed not to lift weapons!

Verses from my heart

Some spiritual leaders have compared the human mind to a drunken monkey stung by a scorpion. I was having a similar initial thoughts going into the review of this blog, a kind of double whammy. Though I write poetry, I find I do not relate to most people’s poetry. I personally find poetry on most blogs tedious, wordy and pretentious. So I am not overtly excited about poetry blogs. And add to it the blogger is a teenage girl. I know it is wrong to have stereotypes. But the mind unconsciously tends towards stereotypes. Going in with such a negative mindset, this blog turned out to be a pleasant surprise to me. It would not be exaggeration to say I was overwhelmed with the quality of the writings on the blog appropriately names ‘Verses from my Heart

Let us now go over the various aspects of the blog one by one. The title is an excellent one. I am surprised no one had already taken this name before her. ‘Verses from my heart’ is an excellent description for a poetry blog, more so for this blog. The verses are indeed from her heart. The background is well chosen. The background is like the maroon velvet curtains of a stage show which goes very well with the poetry theme. The header is also nice in pink with a heart and the picture of a small girl writing. It is simple and honest like her poetry. As is the tag line ‘Straight from the heart, Simple Words, Giving an insight within me’. Though tag line gets the point across, I feel there is scope to make it more terse and catchy. Another suggestion is to make the sidebars a bit wider. One can hardly see those beautiful curtains currently.

I need to exercise restraint to avoid effusing over her lovely writings. Such is the effect her writings had on me. Let me instead try to focus on areas that stand out and what possibly can be improved. The poems exhibit a maturity beyond her years. Some of the themes are really deep. The words are simple, honest and come straight from her heart. I have often felt poets should give an explanatory note. But most of the poems on this blog need no explanation. The blogger articulates very well and literally weaves images in the reader’s heart. The poems also have good structure and rhyme scheme. She has written just four stories. But each story is a gem in itself. They plots are kept simple but narrated with finesse. The flow and language makes even her longest story an effortless read. Then there are rants and personal experiences which I did not focus on at the blogger’s requests. But from what little I saw, her personal experiences are narrated in a very interesting manner and definitely worth a read.

In terms of feedback on content, as of now, the content is good as it is. But I feel so far the focus has been narrow and I wonder about the long time sustainability. She is good at what she writes. But I fear in the long run, content may start feeling repetitive and reader may start losing interest. So my personal recommendation would be to start exploring a wider range of themes. The blogger should also be writing more stories and narrations of interesting personal experiences. In terms of poetry, she is good at rhymes, structure and refrains. I would like to see her experiment with classical forms such as sonnet, triolet, rondel etc.

There is of course scope for improvement in terms of widgets, navigation and interaction. Interaction is decent. In my opinion, a blogger should reply to every comment without judging the intent of the commentator or value of the comment. The popular posts and labels do provide some navigation. But I do not like labels much as it leads to too much scrolling. I personally prefer static pages with links to posts. Random post and previous/ next post widgets are something that can be added at the end of posts to improve navigation. As the amount of content goes up, classifying by theme can also enhance reader experience. In terms of widgets, page does not look cluttered as such. But I fail to see any utility in the live traffic widget. Who is interested in knowing if a reader from Bangalore is currently reading your content? You can see all that by yourself later on google analytics.

Generally I would recommend everyone to check out this blog, especially the ones interested in poetry and literature. One of the keys to success is to know your own strengths and weaknesses. Lot of people are not too comfortable selecting a limited number of posts as their best ones. But this blogger definitely knows which her best works are. She has selected an excellent set of 5 posts to showcase.

To the Love of my Life
The Voice of the Messenger
For Love in my Life is yet to come
My first short story

Blogger Awards

The saint and the dancing girl

He was filled with remorse. He had insulted her by refusing to witness her performance. She was a pious woman and an artist dedicated to her art. He had failed the divine Mother’s test. He had been too proud of his saintliness and it had lead to his fall. He at once begged her forgiveness.


Sometimes we become too high brow and consider ourselves above certain things. I have always felt tags and blogger awards are frivolous and not keeping with the dignity of a sober blog. So I have always politely declined to participate in it. Recently I have been thinking about it and realized being tagged is a kind of acknowledgement of my presence in the blogging world.  If we look deep into our hearts, what we need most is someone to acknowledge our existence. I wanted to acknowledge the last award I received itself. But I kept postponing and meanwhile another blogger gave me yet another award. So I thought I will make haste and put up a post expressing my heartfelt gratitude to the bloggers who have passed awards to me.

My first award came from Vibuthi Bhandarkar, a wonderful blogger who has published her own book of short stories. She was one of my earliest friends in the blogging world. She honored me by sending me a free copy of her book for review.

My second award came from a girl called Tejaswee Rao in July 2010. I had somehow missed it then. Today I went to her blog and to my shock and dismay found that she had expired within a month of tagging me and the blog is currently being maintained in her memory by her mother. It is a small thing but I am wishing I had accepted the tag when the blogger was still alive.

My third award was from a lady who calls herself confusedyuppie. Unfortunately I do not know anything about her. But still she has mentioned my blogs as one of those she loves and regularly reads. Nothing makes a blogger happier than a reader who loves and regularly reads his or her blog.

My fourth award was from Elvira Lobo. She has left a few lovely comments on my blog now and then. Beyond that I do not know her too well. Nevertheless I am extremely delighted to be chosen as one of the 15 bloggers worthy of receiving recognition.

The most recent award is from Kajal Chanchani Nayar who has recently become a regular follower of my blog and a great friend on Indi Blogger. Last but not the least; I thank her also from my bottom of heart not only for giving me an award but for being the catalyst finally precipitating me into action to put up a post thanking all those who honored me.

Now coming to the challenge part, here I am dealing with 5 different challenges. It will become a complete mish mash if I were to take up all of them here. So I would request you all to kindly excuse me from the challenges for the time being. Maybe sometime later I will come up with a post that will incorporate all the challenges. 

The other part is me passing on the award to 15 other bloggers. Whereas I greatly appreciate this gesture of being conferred an award by a fellow blogger, this is not my way of expressing my appreciation to my favorite bloggers. I do it though my comments and reviews. So I would request to be excused from this part as well. As I said the idea in itself is good and I am thrilled at receiving these kind of awards. But I feel it would be tad out of character for me to be giving these awards.


Donkey in doldrums

He wondered what he had done wrong. He only wanted to express affection to his mistress. After all isn’t that how the poodle welcomed her daily? And she seemed to love it. But when he had tried to jump on to her lap and lick her face, the washer woman had given him the cane.


Oscar Wilde in his book, Picture of Dorian Grey says, “Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say, but they say it charmingly.” Before my feminist readers gang up and come after me with their hatchets to lynch me, let me clarify that I don’t really subscribe to this view point as such. But I could not but help remember this quote when I was going through the blog Daffodils of Aabha Midha. Of course the blog does have pretty decent content, but more than the content, it is the presentation that makes this blog stand apart. One look at the blog and you can feel the love and care the blogger has taken to create this blog. The blog’s title daffodils and the url ‘smile wid(th) abha’ symbolize the blogger’s spirit.

The content is mainly the experiences in Aabha’s life. Every human is unique and has something interesting to share. Here we get to know the various interesting aspects of Aabha’s life. The narratives are full of warmth and honesty. She openly shares her feelings and views on various day to day happening in the limited boundaries of her home and town as well as causes  related to the larger universe of the nation and the world in general such as feminism. Every post leaves the reader with an overall nice feeling.

Let us now go over her wonderful presentation. The back ground with a long distance blurred nature landscape and the daffodil fields in focus at the heading gives a nice fuzzy feeling the minute the blog comes into view. As they say well begun is half done. The appropriately chosen title comes out well, large and bold amidst the field of daffodils. The catch phrase ‘Slice of Life’ characterizes the purpose of the blog very well.

I would give full marks for the navigation. She has used the static pages to effectively give links to her different posts. Since I follow the same scheme on my blog, I am especially partial to this kind of a navigational construct. In addition, the popular post widget, the latest post widget and Google search further add to the navigability. In terms of widgets used, the blog does not look too cluttered as such. And it is nice to see widgets supporting her favorite causes. But I do not see much value as such in the live traffic and online counter widgets.

One of the best aspects of her posts is the simplicity and brevity. The posts are short and make an effortless read. No unnecessary verbosity. The text is supported either by original pictures or appropriately chosen from the internet. Most of the self shot pictures look pretty decent and are indeed a visual treat. The interaction with the readers is also pretty good.

If one were to go by her self- proclaimed objective of sharing a spectrum of her life with her readers, the blog is already doing a great job and there is not too much that needs to be done differently. But there is a glass ceiling to the level of achievement possibility for a purely personal blog in terms of traffic or fame. Especially a personal blog without glamour, controversy or comedy! So if the blogger is aiming for greater heights, she should consider specializing and look at taking the blog in a niche direction. Indian society, religion and culture could be one possible niche I can think of. Depending on the chosen niche, work has to start on identifying the right audience, their mindset and their needs. Then the blog must be customized to cater to those requirements. But that’s a choice I would leave to the blogger.

Overall, an excellent blog if one wants to steal a quick glimpse into the day today life and times of a typical Indian woman. Her posts are general feel good reads that anyone can relate to. I have given below a sample of best posts selected by the blogger herself as a starting point to explore her blog.

An evening in After Life in Japan

Many of us have speculated what heaven would be like. If one were to ask me, I would say the capsule hotels in Tokyo are the closest to my concept of heaven. That one evening I spent at the capsule hotel has been etched indelibly in my mind.

The trees have shed all
The leaves of the year gone
New year beckons

Man comes into the world empty handed and empty handed he leaves. He has to leave behind all the possessions of the previous world as he moves on to the next world. As you enter the capsule hotel, you leave behind all you possessions at the entrance as you leave the outside world and enter the capsule world. You even enter a changing room and leave all your clothes behind and put on the robes of the capsule world. That done you are now a denizen of the capsule world.

All trees look alike
Not a color nor fragrance
To discriminate
It is a different world inside the hotel. It does not matter who you were in the outside world. Inside all are the same. Everyone wears the same type of robes. Everyone is by himself. Everyone eventually dies alone. Everyone come to the capsule hotel alone. People tend to go about their business ignoring all the others at the hotel as if the others do not exist. No one talks to anyone else.

The only distinguishing mark is a rubber strap with a number around the wrist. The hot water spring, the cold water pool, the baths and the sauna are free for unlimited use by all. Also free are the showers, the soaps, the towels, the shaving sets and tooth brushes and paste. You ask and it shall be given to you. But then there are things you need to pay for as well. The foot, head and neck massages, the aromatic oil body massage, the Thai full body massage and the Swedish massage. But then you have come in leaving behind all your worldly possessions. For all that you enjoy in this world, you need to pay for in the next world. They note down the wrist strap number and charge against that number. When you are ready to return to the outside world, you will have to cough up the dough.

One gentleman called Douglas Adams has written a book called Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In that he says “Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much...the wheel, New York, wars and so on...while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man...for precisely the same reason.

You need to spend time in the hot water springs in Japan to get a first hand understanding of the pleasures of mucking about in the water. This capsule hotel has both open and closed hot water springs and cold water pools. Both have their charms. The closed ones of course are cozier. But there is a certain excitement being inside water with a view of the sky. And I think I neglected to mention these springs and pools are located on the terrace on the fourth floor of the buildings.

The mind is already free leaving behind all of one’s burdens at the door itself. But the bare body itself may have become a burden for few. That’s where the massages come in. There is a massage for the foot, for the neck, for the hands, for the face, for the head, for the body. Whatever massage you want, you ask for it and you have it. Under the dexterous fingers of the professional, one almost experiences an out of the world experience.

Food and drink are available in abundance and one is spoilt for choice. The choicest delicacies are on offer at the food court. But then here too as in the outside world, there ain’t no such thing as free lunches. Your wrist strap number will be duly noted and for whatever you enjoy in this world, you need to pay the price for when you move to the next world.

The strap is the key to everything in this world and it holds the key to your final resting place as well: the capsule. The capsules are like tubes piled one on top of another in stacks very close to each other. Each room will have close to a 100 capsules. No one can beat the Japanese in economy of space. In some ways a capsule feels like a coffin. There is space only to lie down. No place even to sit. The capsules have numbers. Any guesses what the capsule number is? Yes. The number on the strap! You have ladders to climb up to the higher capsules. The capsules are locked and the keys are attached to the respective leather straps. You open the lock, enter and go to sleep. Interestingly it is very comfortable inside. You have lights, pillows, sheets, blankets, temperature control and even a television with a remote control. All that inside a coffin sized capsule. I am sure the robots would have kept humans inside something like this only in the Matrix movies. But one gets real sound sleep inside these capsules. Maybe because it feels secure like inside the mother’s womb. Don’t know if it feels the same inside coffins as well.

Trees come back to life
As the last snow melts away
Green leaves spring anew

After an evening of hot springs and the relaxing massages, one feels invigorated in body and spirit as one leaves the next morning. Back in the outside world, the entire previous evening’s existence feels like a dream. But one feels full of life, fresh for life’s challenges.

Writer's note : My attempt to narrate an experience in an impersonal tone. Been seeing lot of folks adding poetry in their stories/narrative. My first attempt at incorporating three Haikus inside a post. 

This post is an entry for Incredible Stories contest sponsored by Mahindra

Picture Credits (In the order of appearance on the post)

1. Winter Tree
2. Dolphin
3. Capsule Hotel
4. Green Tree 

That Last Night

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 26; the 26th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'That Last Night'.
He rolled to his right. He rolled to his left. He lay on his back and tried to count imaginary sheep. Ninety nine sheep had jumped over the fence. He had no patience to watch the hundredth sheep. He switched on the light and picked up a novel. Five minutes passed. Ten passed! Fifteen! But he had still not got past the first line. A black and white alphabet soup swam in front of his eyes. He gave up and put down the novel. He opened the door to let in some cool breeze.

March had still not come marching in with all its fire and fury. Fresh cool air flooded the room. Equally fresh memories flooded his mind. He had come here exactly nineteen months back on a hot sultry night. He had been greeted by two guys sitting in front of the television watching a cricket match.

Hello. Have you also come for the preparatory course?

His mind took a journey back to the preparatory course. That had been fun. The course had been very light and there had been lot of fun and frolic. The three of them had become fast friends and they had spent the evenings exploring different parts of the city. In the night they would come back to recline in front of the television watching one of the late night movies on Star movies or HBO channel.

The television was still there as were the chairs. But dust had settled on the chairs. The television stood silent as if dumbstruck. A new name and face came to life in his mind as his eyes drifted from one locked room to the next. Would he see those faces again? The laughter, the light banter, the serious discussions! And the spirits! Yes, the spirits! In spite of the state wide ban on them, the spirits had an uncanny knack of finding their way to the souls that yearned after them.

From the light of the tube lights he gradually descended into the darkness of the stairs to emerge into the shadows of moonlit night. He was soon in front of the college mess. But it was not the meals that he remembered which said something to their credit for seldom are hostel mess meals remembered in a positive light. His eyes were fixed on a small area near the entrance: the notice board. However the notice board had no notice. Throughout the first year, he had dreaded the post lunch surprise test announcement notice. Now he wished he could see one again one last time.

The next stop was the class room block. The past two years his life has been equally divided between here and the dorms. Again memories began to fill his head threatening to overwhelm him. The professors’ droning voices, the alert raised hands trying to score class participation points, the invigorating tea between classes! This place held lot of emotions, joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, excitement and boredom! Classes, exams, campus placements – all had happened at this very place.

By now the night was well into its unholy hours. He still had 2 hours – enough time for the auditorium, the playgrounds and the lawns. The director had welcomed them at this auditorium on the first day. They had entertained their seniors with their performances on stage here on talent night. They had entertained companies with their patience off stage during summer placements as the companies bored them with their presentations. In the second year the juniors had entertained them. Then it was the turn of the companies to entertain their ambitions. Finally the director was back again to bid adieu during the convocations.

Finally the hour had arrived. As he wheeled his luggage out, his eyes fell on a cardboard box with some hay in it. “Julie, Julie”, he called, finally breaking the silence of the night. No Julie came. He just shrugged in resignation and proceeded towards the gate. He had come here alone and alone he would leave. His juniors had all left on their term breaks. His batch mates were all already back home. He was the last one to leave campus.  No one left even to say goodbye to him!

As he was about to board the waiting taxi, he heard a short bark. Someone had come to say goodbye to him after all. It was Julie, the stray they had adopted in the dorm. He gently patted her on the head as he boarded the Taxi. His eyes were fixed on the campus as it blurred away in the distance.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces