Monday, December 31, 2012


The graveyard was deserted.

          It is not that graveyards are always bustling with people but this graveyard was a really deserted one.There was no living being there, not even a caretaker. And why would there be one? The people in that village had all moved to some place where there was plenty of water after severe drought had struck the poor village. In other words, the graveyard was abandoned.

         It was more than ten years since anyone was seen, alive, in that graveyard. But on that fateful full-moon night ,he showed up. He was wearing a furry jacket, black trousers and a incredibly out of fashion hat. Lurking lonely for sometime near the gate, he decided to get in. It did not seem he was afraid to get in at all. He was so lost in his own world that he did not see where he was entering. He wiped his tears, pulled his drooping body lazily and looked for a place to sit. All he could find was tombstones bearing the names and birth and death dates of the people buried under. He just sat on one of them and kept gazing at the vast nothingness filled there. It was past 1 AM and it was absolute stillness everywhere. No owl or wolves howling, no sound of wind blowing, nothing. Just absolute silence. All this did not seem to bother our hero. He did not seem to even notice that he had entered a graveyard.

          A few meters away, the ghost was observing him. It had been a long time since anyone visited the graveyard.  Initially he hoped someone had come to see him, visit his tombstone but later realized that there was no one in the world who would care for him other than his wife, who was also dead, now lying as a skeleton in the grave next to him.  He chuckled at his thoughts. He wanted to talk to that man but since there was some change in the graveyard after a long long time, he did not want to scare the person away. The ghost just sat there and observed him.
Fifteen minutes passed by. The person had not stopped sobbing. He seemed to be deeply hurt. Every other minute he used to shake his head in desperation. The ghost first felt sad for the guy, thought he should somehow console him but then an evil idea crossed his mind.All his life he had been playing a goody-goody part  and now when he had an opportunity he thought of trying something naughty.He planned that he will take a human form, talk to that person for a while and then reveal the ultimate truth : That he was a Ghost. He look on that person’s face at that moment would be a sight to behold and then he could spend all his time in the graveyard telling stories to all his fellow-ghosts and have a good laugh.

              The ghost took the form of caretaker and approached the person. While he was quite far , he took care to make appropriate noises to ensure that the person had enough time to react and not run away in fear. He came to the person and sat on the tomb opposite  to the person.
They both sat still for some thirty seconds and then the ghost put a conversation starter:

“You seem sad, what happened”.

               That was all that was required.  He removed his hat and placed next to him and for the next fifteen minutes, the person shared his tragic life story and how he happened to keep walking out of despair now reaching a place which he did not know where, weeping uncontrollably as he did, all the while getting oh, uh and hmm’s from the ghost which acted as consolation in these bad times.

                The ghost was not interested in the story though. He had seen some bad days himself. All he wanted was to gain trust first and then at the right moment burst the bubble.

Both of them did not observe that the hat was moving , all of its own.

           After a lengthy story, the person paused. The ghost gave him time to recover. Gradually the person stopped sobbing. He seemed to be relieved. The ghost knew that it was due to the feeling that at-least someone heard his sad story, it would not matter if it was some caretaker of some random graveyard.

           Now that the person had returned to absolute normalcy, the ghost decided that this is the time he was waiting for. Just as he was about to scare the person with his truth, his wife called out. She did not take any form , just her voice was being heard.

“Whom  are you talking to ??”

   The ghost ,now concerned that all his build-up to this ultimate moment would go for a toss, if the person was scared out of a voice coming from nowhere, calmly told 

“That's my wife sleeping behind the tree” , even-though by now she was standing next to them near the tombstone , invisible, and shouted  at his wife( looking at the tree)


The wife who was standing next to him asked him not to shout and whispered to the ghost.

“How many times I have to tell you that this graveyard is closed from a long time, there is no one in this village and no one ever will dare to come in this route. You and your hallucinations . I wonder when will you come out of it. Now get up and come back to your grave”.

         The shocked ghost stared at the empty tombstone in front of him, got up and left with his wife, still not able to comprehend what had just happened.
The wind blew, the hat turned upside down and the free mouse ran towards its hole.

Friday, November 30, 2012


I was walking down an empty road.

The cheerful chirping of birds ,for your ears
Calm roads, plush greenery all around, for your eyes
Piping hot Bhajji’s, for your tongue
Pleasant fragrance of aromatic flowers, for your nose and
Cool breeze blowing across your face…

When all the senses are tingled at the same time, the experience is out of this world. But sadly none of this happened to me.

     I just happened to be walking down an empty road, thinking about those wonderful sensations. After having the five senses wala thought, my sixth sense (not the common sense but nonsense) asked me to do something to atleast get close to that.

 Sonu Nigam singing to A R Rahman’s music , for my ears
Bright colored houses in a row, for my eyes
Minty cool Chloromint for my tongue.
Vicks inhaler for my nose and
Cool breeze blowing across your face (Hell Yeah!!)

Was all that I could manage…(pardon the product placement which comes to blogs too)
That aside, I was along walking at a slow pace. It is rare to find an empty road in Bangalore. But today it was. I neither know the reason nor want to know but it was certainly quite unusual. I could sense the creepy feeling growing around me. It was not dark but was quite late in the evening.

It was then I saw, the scene which sent a chill down my spine.

Five snakes were crawling on the middle of the road . Not dogs, cows or even buffaloes but snakes. You read it right SNAKES, all five of them !!

I froze on my spot.

     I was sure they were cobras as I could see the unmistakable design on their hoods. Now I knew what was unusual but what I did not know was what to do now. I could see that the snakes were just crawling here and there doing nothing. Mustering all my courage, chanting Hanuman Chalisa I moved forward. Till today I could not find a reason as to why I did not go back and run away in opposite direction. I went towards them carefully planning my steps to keep equal distance from each of them and miraculously managed to cross all five of them.

Fortune favours the brave. I was the hero. I was thrilled.

     When normal people panic at the sight of cockroaches,  I managed to cross five dangerous snakes. This had to go down in the history of my life as my greatest achievements. The fear had not yet subsided. But I felt the thrill of it. And then when I returned back to normalcy I decided to move as the place was not safe any longer. Now I started walking fast. I had to get out of this danger zone as fast as possible.

It was then I saw, the scene which sent a chill down my spine.

No, it was not another set of snakes.It was one of the cutest girl I had ever seen in my life !!

My background music suddenly changed from a fast disco track to a romantic one.
Guitars started playing
Flowers started falling from the skies.
Orange Maple leaves started to fly in the breeze, Mohabbatein 

      Unaware of all this , she kept walking , pushing the 4 strands of hair from her face to the back of her ear. I completely forgot what had happened forty two seconds earlier. Or rather forgot for few moments only. Then it struck to me, she was going to take the same route. In another fifty meters she would come face to face with those dangerous crawling reptiles. I had to save this super-cute damsel in distress. It is not usually I talk to some random girl I meet. Infact I had never done that but today was anyhow the unusual day for me. The day when I had conquered my fears.

     I stopped her. She quizzically looked at me. Her eyes were mesmerizing. She said nothing. I told her about the impending danger ahead and to avoid that road. She did not believe me at first but then I switched on the halo (which suddenly had gone off fifty two seconds ago) behind my head and that angelic circle of light above my head to show that I was her guardian angel. She was now tensed. I asked her to calls someone from home to help her. I was indeed enchanted by her and wanted to help her but my practical mind won the competition and told that the sane thing to do at that moment was to escape. She regained her composure and asked how I could manage to cross them. I, being a master story teller, added ample masala and told her a gripping story of how I achieved that unbelievable feat !!

She listened silently ,lifted her head and with great confidence said ,” I shall do the same”. I could see the spark in her eyes, but since I had fire elsewhere a minute back, I wished her good luck, made sure no one has seen me ( lest I get caught , if something unfortunate happens to her)  and left.
The only sound I could hear was the sound of her heels hitting the ground with great confidence.
I controlled myself from having a last look at the girl before forgetting her for quite some time  but then had her looks were so hypnotizing that I had to turn to see how she would escape the deadly track.

It was then I saw, the scene which sent a chill down my spine.

She was nowhere.

I strained my eyes to see if there was any place she could turn and go, but no. It was not just possible to disappear in thin air.When I am here , waiting for her to cry for help, so that I can go and save her, how can she escape unhurt. When my brain said to forget it and escape , my heart was curious , and Aamir Khan said "Talaash" !! ( well, its releasing today , so had to put it somewhere).
I started walking towards the danger zone to find out what other escape routes were there. Slowly, silently, carefully. Where was she ??

I ran and ran till I fainted, far away from that mysterious snake infested place after I saw six snakes in that earlier spot .

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Prayer

He was a staunch theist. 
He did not do anything else than praying to God.
He did not care for anything else.
People felt if he prayed any longer , God would appear before him.
Suddenly one day, he decided to go on a spiritual journey to the Himalayas.
The path was strenuous but that did not stop him from praying.
After a long and lonely journey he finally reached the temple he was yearning to see.
There was no one other than the Sadhu and the holy rock which people called God.
There was absolute silence everywhere.
Nothing could come before him and God that day.
He felt blissful and liberated and prayed like never before
Spirituality satisfied , he was about to leave when the priest told him:
"As a tradition, people leave that one thing which is dearest to them.You too should do the same."

He never prayed again.

( If you liked this , you might also like this :  My First Zen Story )

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Indian Idle

“Dance like no one is watching.
Sing like no one is listening.
 Love like you've never been hurt and
 Live like it's heaven on Earth.”
– Mark Twain

            This year during Navartri celebrations in our company, a group of enthusiastic employees were doing Dandiya to some awesome music while the good for nothing people like me were sitting and encouraging them. The fact was not that we did not want to dance; the fact was we did not know how to dance and hence did not want to make a fool of ourselves in front of everyone.

But somewhere in my heart, I was feeling like going and joining them but could not muster enough courage to do so.

And then it happened. The music changed to “Gangnam style” and suddenly out of nowhere I jumped to the centre stage doing the signature Gangnam steps and went berserk. I danced for maximum 40-50 seconds but that was one of the most awesome moments of my life when everyone made way for one mad clumsy dancing fellow.

That evening I had indeed danced like no one is watching

Later that day, at some point I suddenly got a brainwave that if I could dance like no one is watching then I can sing like no one is listening. And the result of this new found inspiration is the song I have sung and uploaded.

Whom am I kidding !!.It’s just that it’s raining outside and I had nothing better to do.

“An idle mind is a devil's workshop”
Since I always wanted to be an Indian Idle, the result is this.

The history of this song is already documented here:

And just like Janardhan/Jordan  singing  “Jo Bhi mein” at various occasions in Rockstar , I have sung it once in college-mate Maddy’s party , college trip , cousins get-together and company trip and all the time have successfully managed to disperse people in 30 seconds that the Indian police had once thought of hiring me instead of wasting money on teargas.
Without much ado presenting you  the song itself……

Music: Silence
Singers: Praveen Nellikeri and Talking Tom (2012)
Lyrics: Praveen Nellikeri (2004)

That awesome link you have been waiting for 

Hope you enjoy it, else there is always a pause button or exit the page/close the browser option for your convenience :)

Let me know how you like it :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Dark Night.

            Copying had never been my forte. Even now it is not. Back in school, it always had to be the hard-work doing all the favours to me.But then, when I saw copy-cats flourish, I always felt that I should try a hand in it. If not for immediate gain , at least in future I could tell that I was a “cool” kid in school who sat on last bench and copied in tests too. Infact other than excelling at the academics, these were the two weird goals I had in school

            Sitting on last bench was not a problem at all. After gaining enormous reputation of being a “good boy” in school, I was one of the trusted members who could sit in last bench and still escape from being labelled as one of the mischief makers.And for this reason alone, I was one of the lords of last bench in my 9th and 10th std.

Mission 1 was accomplished. But then a bigger task awaited.Copying !!!

            As I said before , I could never make up my mind to copy in tests or exams but then the pressure was building, I had to do it.Why? Because, I was in tenth standard. If not now, the dream would be a dream forever. It was now or never.

           It was at this precise moment a heavenly announcement came out. There would be a drawing competition in our school the next week. I felt as if I was born again. Not because I loved drawing or was an artist. Because this would be one the rarest opportunities for me to try my hand at copying .I felt like that ice-age scrat getting that acorn !!

“Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai ki har zarre ne mujhe tumse milane ki saazish ki hai....kehte hai agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho toh poori kaynath tumhein usse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai"- This was indeed written for such situations.

Copying for the sake of it was very weird thing to wish at that stage but yes the universe had planned it for me.

         So the D-Day came. For the first time in my life , I had entered a competition without any preparation and I was loving it. Also there was no fear of failure coz as the teachers said, “Winning is not important, participating is !!” and I always did only  important things ;) I was fully prepared. Armed with water colours, sketch pens, coloured pencils and crayons , the soldier was ready. Why all of them you would ask? C’mon when you do not have talent and are a parasite , you never know who will support you and what you will need. So carrying everything was the obvious choice. Yes, I was damn intelligent even then.

         Next step was to find the host from which I could benefit from. My close friends would be the worst choice for obvious reasons. They did not even have the T from talent. Also I had researched that the first rule of copying is that no one should have an inkling that it is going to happen. So I had to choose the most low profile candidate.My search began.

        And then I saw her. Champion of drawing competitions from 3 consecutive years, the probable ((great,great)^4) grand daughter of Raja Ravi Varma ,the magician of colors Miss Madhuri. ( Name not changed, any my schoolmates who read this can tell this story to her as she does not know this and is not in my contact either J ). I decided I am going to copy her drawing.
Reason :  When you are hunting for the first time and come face to face with a deer and a tiger, it’s better to shoot the tiger for 2 reasons:
1.      It's a matter of pride !! Bada haath maara.Make it large I say !!
2.      If you don't shoot it, it will kill you .  Yes, I had awesome common sense even then.

Wait a min .Phone call
(tring tring…
Poor  Me :Hello, Praveen here..
Voice : $^%$#^$&*%$@$&_(*$&(
Poor  Me :Oh Menaka Gandhi, Great pleasure to hear from you
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor  Me : Oh no no, I did not mean killing tiger is good. It was just an example.
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor Me: I did not mean that too .. really, not even killing deers. No, Salman is not my favourite hero. I understand that there are only 1411 tigers in India , excluding tiger balms and biscuits..
Voice : #@#@$#$##%^&%$^@%#@^
Poor Me: Ok Ok , I will do that.

Ok Guys, Sorry for that .I am back. She wants me to put an ad about preventing tiger poaching and change the example ..

Changing the example :
As they say "Reach for the moon. If you miss, at least you'll be among the stars..."
(Ok , Mr. NASA, I know that stars are actually lightyears away from moon and the line literally is stupid but it was not me who came up with it.I took it coz it matches with my story)

So I thought it was better to copy from the best artist and settled in a comfortable place near her where I got unobstructed view of the painting she was about to draw.

The theme was  : Nature - Day /Night.

 Beginners luck was working.Easy I thought, Nature was the most common drawings on earth.
Draw 2 mountains , one sun in between, 2 birds, one river , a boat, a field and a house . That's it !! And it was obvious she would draw that …until…..

She took out her brush dipped into black paint and started to colour the sheet black.

           Amused at first ,I  slowly realized that it was Nature at night !!
Copying was getting fun. Else I would have always drawn that boring nature.Atleast this was something new. My prayers were being answered !!

          I confidently took out my brush , dipped into black water colour and started painting the sheet black. For the next 5 minutes , I did not feel the need to  look at her sheet .And when I completed converting the Kora kaagaz to kaala, I raised my head to see the next step only to realize that I had goofed up a tiny bit. It was obvious that she was drawing the night, but then her night had a moon too.She had carefully put a circle on the sheet before painting it black and when she removed the circle later , one could see an awesome full moon in the dark sky !!
Genius !!
And me?? Well , I was learning the side-effects of copying-Double work.
I took out the brush, dipped in white color and drew the moon, it looked something like a white patch but I was sure I could convince anyone that it was a moon.(If at all anyone cared to ask what it was).

Next came the trees , grass and house, which were in white/yellow colour. For the first time I was drawing nature in totally different colours !!.

And with this excitement and the need to catch up with her speed , I started drawing them without realizing that I had not waited enough to let the black colour dry. Now the white was spreading everywhere.Thinking quickly, I added more white and was successful in converting my trees to rivers !!

Before taking the next step I waited for everything to dry and started keenly observing the next step.
The paint dried, and so did my tongue –on seeing what came next.
Just when I thought the worst copying nightmare was over, I saw her bring out a tooth brush and some small stones

Oh my God, what were the tooth brush  and stones doing in the drawing competition , I thought.

And my  next few minutes were  spent in awe.
She covered the moon with the same white circle she used earlier, put one small stone on it. Covered the other  trees , grass and house with another sheet and secured using the stone . All that was left was pitch black sky.She dipped her toothbrush into white paint and started sprinking it with her fingers on the black portions and abracadabra… the stars started appearing from nowhere .
It was the colour magician at her work again.

After five minutes , all I could see was an awesome painting of a beautiful dark night complete with trees, house , grass , moon and of course the star lit sky.
Man…she was good .
She had reached for the moon and the stars too !!

After lifting my surprised lower jaw off the ground, I regained my composure and started wondering how to copy that !!
Without any other option, I took my poor old brush, dipped in white paint and made the tip as sharp as possible and drew the individual stars carefully.
My beginners luck had faded completely in the terror of darkness.

No, I cannot mention how it came out finally.
All I can say is she gave the title to her picture as “The Dark Night” and I named my picture as 
“The crow pooped on my umbrella !!”

She won the first prize , yet again. Good for her. But then the copy was not left far behind.I got special mention in my class and a box of crayons as an award for my out-of-the-box  drawing with the most unusual theme !!!

(No, this is not the one I drew )
Mission 2 accomplished…. With a thunderous applause !!

---------------------------------THE END----------------------

Dedications :
Thanks Christopher Nolan for the catchy title and amazing movie.
Thanks to all who pinged me to ask about my new blog over the months and literally forced me to write one. Hope the next one does not take so long.

Disclaimers:  Copying worked that time,but does not work always. Strive for originality – atleast it gives the satisfaction of doing something new.
I was really serious on the save-our-tigers link. Please do act.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You drive me nuts!!!

 “He should have been here by now”, she thought.

               He was already 30 minutes late and each passing minute was feeling like a year. She knew that she could not expect punctuality from him, but then, this day was special. It is special to all lovers and they were not different. She looked at a gift store on the other side of the road. Covered in red hearts the store virtually shouted at lovers to buy something for their loved ones. And yes, the store indeed was flocked by people who wanted to buy something romantic to their partners.

“What would he gift me?” she thought.

               Actually the gift itself was immaterial .She wished for something bigger. And that was proposal. She wished he proposed her today. But then he was unusually late.

“May be he is having a hard time selecting a gift” .

                She felt she should call him but he would never listen to it. She had no other option than to wait patiently. She hated to wait but sometimes it felt nice to wait for a person you love.

And then …

Then she saw him, running excitedly .He had seen her from a distance and was visibly excited. He was on the other side of the road, his hand behind his back, concealing something. Obviously he was concealing the gift.

She was thrilled seeing him and started to blush. Blood rushed to her cheeks and made them pink. They were now separated only by a road.

Love is blind

And it was this blind love that made him cross the road in such tearing hurry that he failed to see the bike coming in other direction.

“STOP!! She shouted” but it was too late. 

The bike driver rode away cursing the squirrel now squashed dead on the road.
The nut brought by the squirrel rolled towards the leg of his girlfriend.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Valentine’s day or not : Before you cross the road, STOP LOOK, LISTEN, THINK and then when it’s safe, cross it.

(If you liked this , you would like to read the love story I wrote exactly one year back : )