Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Different Ages

We started at the Stone Age, moved to Bronze Age, Iron Age, Industrial Revolution/Modern Age, Space age and finally we are now in the Garbage Age.Yes. The Garbage Age. Look around town and you will realize that we have upgraded ourselves to folks who pollute the planet either knowingly or unknowingly. The landfills are filling up at an alarming rate. The water bodies are being polluted and aquatic life is being destroyed. Soil is being contaminated thereby causing us to be afflicted with a number of avoidable diseases.With proper waste management, we can lessen the negative impact on the fragile ecosystem. In many areas, folks already segregate garbage into different categories. One garbage bag might contain glass, next one metal products, third one might hold paper waste products, fourth bag would be filled with biodegradable kitchen and garden material. This way the landfills don't get filled with materials which will never decompose.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Four Rambling Thoughts

1.) At times I wish the Google+ site had a comment section like the one we had at Multiply or the "Write Post/Share Photo" option of Facebook. This site is good and seems to suit alot of folks, yet if this sites borrows a few features from other sites like Facebook then more users will probably start using it on a regular basis and hopefully pose a challenge to FB one day. 

2.) Does anyone else feel or has observed that many folks are lacking common sense and social etiquette when interacting with others? Take a look around and you'll see that folks have a short attention span, short tempered and have a hard time interacting with others.

3.) The days are getting cooler and shorter. Winter will soon be upon us. Quilts, jackets and sweaters need to be pulled out. Peanuts have already hit the market and other winter vegetables will follow soon if they haven't arrived already.

4.) Time and the change it brings is the only thing constant in our lives. Events happen. Some minor and others major occur in every persons life. Some things are life altering events like birth of a child or death of a family member. How much have you changed in the last decade?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Looking back at the years gone by

In a few months, I will be one year older yet I really don’t know if I'll feel any different than yesterday or last week. Looking back, I see that I have travelled a long winding dusty road and I have at times hit the rough patches that life used to throw at me. Life has been a learning experience and I think I am a bit wiser though a bit more cynical also. Maybe a bit jaded? Have I really become any wiser or have learned to make better decisions with the passing years? Sometimes I end up asking these and other questions and didn’t find any answers that really banishes all doubts.

If I was given a choice whether I want to repeat my life, would I accept it? Would I want to make any changes/ live any differently? Yes, I would love to repeat my life, yet I would want the ability to make better choices concerning a few points in my life where I could have done a lot better.

I believe that I had a good life. I never had to struggle for a lot of things that most people take for granted even though we never had an easy life that well off people have. Both my parents are very well educated, yet my father never really earned much in the initial stages of his career. We made do with what we had and he always made sure that we lived as comfortable as possible. It was always drilled into me that no matter what I do in life, having a good education is a must as it is the only way out of total stagnation or being boxed into a corner where there is no escape. I wasn’t a bright student and being an average one saw me scrape through most of the tough subjects somehow.

The very first memories I have is one day I woke up and saw myself in a dark place. The absolute stillness was mind numbing and so was the darkness. As I floated in some fluid, my hand brushed against some wall and I soon learned to do cartwheels and somersaults. After some time passed, a harsh light penetrated the darkness, two monstrous hand like objects massaged the world I was in and a rude voice growled "Nik. you in there? You lazy bum. Get your fat ass out of that place or else we are coming in to get you." I swear that there was a massive earthquake as the home started to contract and shake. Walls started to close and I started to barrel down a tunnel. A light at the end of the tunnel appeared and fear made my heart pound and stomach constrict. Some idiot grabbed me roughly and started to spank me till I started to howl like a blood thirsty demon. Getting mighty pissed off, I reached out and grabbed the nurses nose and held on tight wondering if I could do the same to her.

Looking back, I don't remember much of my early childhood except the intense heat from the much hated sun which glared evilly at anything that moved down below, dust filled plains and dust storms which barreled through the lanes and by lanes every so often. The years up to age seven or so were a blur and only a few odd memories have stuck in my mind.

I remember sitting in an aging public bus with other school kids and one or more teachers. We were headed off somewhere or maybe we were returning from some field trip. The bus gets a flat tire on top of the railway tracks. The drivers starts to wonder out loud is the outer rubber layer of all tires should be taken off, the bus put on the tracks and the bus chugs to the nearest railway station to get help. Better sense prevailed, a spare tire put in the place of the flat one and we moved along.

A Tamarind Tree located in the school court yard was ripe with fruit. A group of kids (including me) were throwing anything within reach at the branches so that the brown colored pod would fall and we could eat the sweet and sour innards. No matter how hard we tried, our efforts went in vain as the sticks and stones never reached high enough to break any fruit from the tree.

Friends. We all have them and at times the childhood memories of our friends are the best. I don't remember my fellow conspirators name at the moment, yet it seemed we always hung out together, and ended up getting into trouble as well. I remember the road that had houses on both sides. Our home was located on the right hand side near some T shaped intersection.  We were either making our way home from school or it was play time and we were just wandering around having a bit of fun. I looked up and saw a sun glaring down at us, the street was devoid of people, in the distance dust clouds were seen swirling and causing havoc. I felt a hand grab my upper arm and I saw his other hand pointing towards someone vegetable garden. Thoughts of death and destruction of plants filled our young minds. Crawling under the barbed wire, the lush green garden turned into a wasteland. We heard the sound of the screen door slam, a shout was heard and an old man with a cane started to run towards us while threatening to do evil deeds to us. All we saw was a nightmarish creature running towards us spewing unintelligible words. Panicking, we crawled under the wire, I felt my clothes tear and saw my clothes get muddy. I was never able to reform myself of this habit irrespective of how many times I got scolded by my mother.

Time flew by and the memories blurred. The day came when the three of us packed our bags, boarded an international plane and headed off to the land of milk and honey.  I remember it was a cold winter day in New York city. Probably the second or third week of December. The passengers had deplaned on the runway itself, whisked away in a bus and soon we found ourselves getting our passports and luggage checked. The only prominent memory of this episode was my mother, sister and I standing under the plane while my father was telling us something while handing us winter clothes and caps.

We lived in a few places and each provided its own joy and learning experience. During my later years, I remember two places very well. They were Randall Park mall and Carlos.

I really miss Randall Park mall. I had spent alot of my childhood there even though I don't remember half of it now. It was a great place where people actually had fun. I distinctly remember the corn dog on a stick stall on one end where they had really great lemonade. There was a video game parlor on the second floor maybe. I think the horse race place called Thistledown was located next door. It smelled awful at times especially the area where the horses were kept.

Carlos was a Pizza joint and I think it was a family owned one. It had the best pizza in Solon and maybe the best pasta dishes also. There was always a crowd there both young school going ones, working people and families. It had the best service and awesome dining atmosphere.

Sadly, both are gone and it was bound to happen. Times change and people move on to other business that are more profitable. Yet, the pleasant memories always take me back in time down the memory lane like it was yesterday.

My online journey through the net began a few decades ago when I joined a computer institute in Independence Ohio to learn Computer Programming. At that time, I had one of those dinosaur personal computers, a Panasonic dot matrix printer and a dial up connection. It was a real slow connection which took ages to do anything. Microsoft had recently introduced some version of DOS. At a later stage, they introduced Windows ver. 3.x and it took me awhile to get used to using a mouse and learn how to use the new graphical OS.

Net offered me a whole new vista which was not available to me in the offline mode. Life became easier in many cases especially when I had to hunt for information on some subject and it was quite a bit difficult to trace it down in the library. My initial forays into the net were a real simple affair. I am not sure if any other service provider existed at that time, but the one which I used was Yahoo. It was basically just emails, a few Yahoo groups and the chats on the Yahoo messenger.

Time flew by and I grew older. My tastes/preferences changed and so did my idea of how I could utilize the net so that I can get the maximum benefit from it. I opted to do alot of things in the online mode instead of the offline mode. For example, I prefer to use the online banking facility whenever available. I can get most of the same work done online that I previously used to do when I visited the bank.

At some point of time, I picked up the habit of reading novels as they provided not only entertainment, but also an escape from the daily drudgery and boredom that life offered at times. I guess this laid the bedrock of one of my favorite hobbies these days which is writing. It's something which I had picked up recently along the way. Blogging is an excellent way to express ones thoughts to the other if done in a proper manner. Having good language skills is a must if the blogger wants to express in an intelligent manner. Having a right crowd to whom the blogger wants to express his/her views is equally important. It requires good writing skills, a pinch of imagination, hard work, dedication, perseverance amongst other things. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that I loved blogging which I think happened when I discovered Yahoo360 many long years back. When Yahoo finally decided to shut down the Yahoo360 a few years back, I finally found my new home on Multiply, moved to Blogger and finally Facebook.

Looking back I realize that in the last few decades, my life has changed a lot. I have learned a lot and yet I still am learning something new every day. Sometimes things go just great and at other times nothing seems to work right. The previous decade had been good to me in the sense that I bought a new car; while my writing skills are getting better and hopefully with the experience that I have I’ll be able to tackle most of the problems that life throws at me without spinning out of control. This year has been a turbulent one and I hope the coming years will be a little easier on me. We lost someone very close to us, the void is there which will never get healed This person is and will always be missed. I have come to the conclusion that life never plays fair with anyone and everyone gets a raw deal every so often. Just as the dark stormy clouds came into my life, they will soon part and the bright sun shall shine once more. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Touch Of Madness.

I had not been down this beach in what seems like ages. The setting sun, sandy beach and the waves as they lap up against the feet always seemed to mesmerize me. Pulling up a beach chair, my eyes start to wander down the beach and see that life is in full swing. Children building sand castles, pretty young things tanning themselves and an odd couple or two walking down the beach whispering sweet nothing to all that were willing to hear their secret enlightening messages. Time seemed to float by at its own pace as the sun lazily made its way across the clear blue sky. Packing my stuff, I dropped off the chair and umbrella at the drop point and started to wander off to the lone building to satiate my hunger. The lingering smell of perfume and cologne mixed with the heavy smoke greeted me as I entered my long forgotten hunting ground. Time had flown by, yet it seemed to have stood still in this place. The juke box near the entrance was still there pumping out some long forgotten Willy Nelson song, an empty stage once full seemed to cry out for attention while the bar at the other end seemed as lively as ever. The burly bartender who was once young and now old and balding still seemed to the only permanent structure besides the other items and his eyes seemed to light up seeing me. Pulling up a stool, my hands reached out as a tall frosty slid comfortably into my hands. Time seemed to flow by slowly and I had lost track of time. It was almost closing time when I heard a voice as soft as s yet as silk yet as sharp as the sharpest knife reminding me its closing time. Turning my head around, I saw a sight that seemed to mesmerize me and kept me under its spell till a booming laughter startled me. A chiding voice asked me if I didn’t recognize her whom I had last seen many moons back. The deep blackness of the eyes hypnotized me and drew me in like a moth to a lone street lamp. As I started to tumble into those depthless eyes, my mind went numb as I simply could not recognize the woman in front of me. “I’ve been coming here for here for many long years. Sarah has come to accept it as a routine habit which I had never skipped no matter how bad the weather. Every year my misses has the same baffled and yet amused look on her face when I tell her that it was time for me to visit the old man’s gathering as she called it. Today I told her that she goes to the poker and bridge games so why can’t I spend time with my colleagues. She thinks that we spend our time telling old men’s stories. What's yours?” I half mumbled while staring into the nearly empty mug. After a moment of hesitation, she started to mumble "Getting out of the taxi at the intersection of Main street and Old Henry street, I looked across to see an aging brownstone building. Hobbling across the street with the help of my cane, I reach a solid metal door with a horizontal clear glass looking piece in middle. Pressing the buzzer, I see a man stare at me momentarily and open the door to let me inside. The Doc who seemed so passionate last night had turned cold, calculating and a mad light showed through his eyes as he beckoned me to the table. A tinge of fear ran through me as callous hands grasped me and strapped me to the metal table. A syringe poked me roughly and I screamed as I felt me veins started to burn as if on fire. My mind was ablaze as if some door someplace opened up to fill it with pulsating energy. My lungs started to burn and the heart was pounding do hard that it felt like it was going to pop out. I felt intense pressure in my back, I shrieked out in pain as fatigue slowly overtook me as I felt my body shaking and my vision began to blur. Waking up after what seemed like many eons; I crawled to my knees and finally stood up. Startled, I looked at myself, scared and uncertain at the same time. “What has become of me?” I screamed in a rasping voice. Finding an open door, I stumbled out and wondered who shall avenge the things done to me. A moment of silence filled the room. I kept staring into the empty mug not knowing what to say. Looking up, I saw a pair of eyes intently staring at me. Unable to hold my gaze, my eyes started to wander around and saw the aging bartender polishing shot mugs. "You want another beer, stud muffin?" He hollered. "Hey, your pretty assistant will get one for me. " I replied pointing to the figure in front of me. All I got was a perplexed look and he mumbled something about me getting drunk on one mug of beer. "Will you do something for me?" Asked the woman. "Yes. Anything for you? Just ask and it shall be done." I replied hypnotically. "I love you more than anything. I know you love me as well. Don't you? Whispered the woman. I nodded my head robotically while my glazed eyes were fixed on her face. "See that man sitting in the shadows. That bastard did THINGS to me. Kill him for me, show me how much you want me and you will be mine forever." I heard a growl as I felt a knife slide into my hand. Turning around, I looked at the floor which was bare and the wooden boards creaked like doors with rusty joints as I walked across them. The storm in my mind raged as fiercely and the tick tock of the clock was the only sound heard for awhile as I was lost in my own thoughts. Bitter moments pulsate through the veins. I feel like a flotsam caught in a raging river. The clock starts to tick backward reminding me of the events that led to this. Resentment slowly starts to hardens the soul. Anger blinds me and colors my world red. A figure was hunched over a plate of food and a mug of beer. As a shadow fell over him, he looked up and questioning eyes probed me. “Well doc, tell me a story. Tell me my story. Tell me in your own words if the experiment was a success while its still fresh on your mind? " I asked. What are you talking about?" Asked a frightened man. Unsheathing the knife, I start to stab him repeatedly as he started to scream for mercy. I loved. Looking down, I see a bloodied, groaning, half dead man. Waking up from the hypnotic daze, I hear screams and curses. The bartender starts to yell into the phone and screams for the cops to hurry. Pulling out a shotgun, he loads it, points it at me and tells me to stand still. I heard sirens in the distance as the bar emptied out. I started to panic and looked for an escape. As I looked around and saw the girl next to me. "Kill the fat man and let's leave." Was all I heard as she walked out of the room and disappeared into the darkness. "I killed that bastard for the waitress who works for you old man." I hollered as I walked towards him. "No woman works here. Stand still." "You are lying. She was with me all the time while you stood in the corner and polished the glasses. Didn't you see her?" I asked surprised. "You are drunk." Said the old man as I heard the safety flipped off. Throwing a beer at the bartender, I ran out the door. Gunshot rang out and I saw the police close in as I hid in the bushes. Struggling up the crumbling stone steps, I stop for a moment and sit down to gather my strength. I stare down at the debris strewn area which seem like it has been neglected for many long years. A soft caress and I hear "I love you. Just a little more and you be free of all that torment you." I turn around yet I see no one. Dark shadows greet the eye. A sense of urgency strikes me as if time is running out. Fatigue. It runs bone deep in me. Raising my hand, I wipe sweat off my forehead. Dirt and grime coat the blood stained hand. Cuts line it and blood which is not mine mingles with my own. Taking a deep breath, I look up and wonder what I have done. Doubts fill my mind. I look around and sensed death, desolation and utter loneliness. I felt the wind pick up. Gentle fingers ruffled the hair. Tilting my head to the side, I looked and saw a pretty girl who I met at the bar just a few hours back. I opened my mouth to say something. Eyes seem to sparkles and shine as a finger was placed on my lips. "Hush my child. Come inside." I heard as sugar coated words sooth the troubled mind. As I struggle to stand up, I look up and look back from where I had came from. In the distance I saw red and blue flashing lights which were headed towards me. Turning around, I saw an aging morgue. Chipped headstones, ill maintained graves and deep shadows were all that could be seen in the dim moonlight. "Hurry my beloved." I heard as I pushed the door open. Scurrying feet and glaring eyes of rats greeted me. I grimaced as a cobweb got stuck to my face. Footsteps echoed back as I started to cough from the disturbed dust. I sensed something yet I wasn't sure. I walked on and on as if on automatic. "Mary Smith" I mumbled as my fingers ran across the flashlight lit headstone. "I love you John. I have always loved you and will love till eternity. You WILL join me my beloved." I heard . Startled, I looked yet a dust filled barren room greeted my eyes. Deathly silence prevailed except for the sounds of scurrying feet, hissing sounds of agitated rata and the sirens which were getting louder.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Red Truck

There were only six words left. ~ Gregory Maguire

 I had at one time done a writing challange many long months back on Multiply and written the story posted below. It's a repost yet I've rewritten the ending a wee bit. It's a poor imitation of Fareheit 451 ~ Ray Bradbury novel, yet I hope you all like it.

On a lonely stretch of a road a solitary man stood under a flickering lamp waiting for a passing by taxi to pick him up so that he could go home. Times were hard and he made do with whatever work he got to support his old grandmother and himself. He still could not locate his family who had disappeared when he was just a child and the old woman took care of him and his every need. The soft gentle wind turned into a mild breeze and started to throw debris all over.  Hailing a taxi, the man gets in, pops a ciggy into his mouth and lights it only to extinguish it as he got chided for doing so inside the cab.

“There is a raging fire burning down the block.” Mumbled the taxi driver.

“Where at?” Asked the guy in the back.

“Near the 28th and Main Street intersection. You must remember the old abandoned building near the fire department?”

“You mean the old library that got shut down to make way for the new one?”

“Yes. They are now working on the old ladys home next door or so I heard.”

“Take me there will you”

The cab slowed down as it neared the raging out of control fire. The old wooden building will be reduced to ashes by morning thought the man. His eyes could barely make out the figures moving back and forth across the building next to it. His eyes widened, face turned white and he let out a gasp as he saw the firefighters break down the door of his own home, drag an old lady out whom he recognized as his grandmother. He became wet eyed and a dam broke loose as he remembered the times when the old woman used to let his imagination run wild with the treasure trove in the attic. A burly firefighter could be heard over the splintering of wood demanding where the other books were kept as the old woman whimpered below while firefighters started to rush inside  and started to hose the house down with flamethrowers.

The taxi driver looked in the rear view mirror and whispered

“Let’s go Sam. It’s too late to help her. We’ll be dead by morning if anyone sees us. I’ve got a little place on the outskirt where you can stay before moving on to some new place. I’ll even set you up with a new id and some cash.“

The taxi wound its way as the man in the back looked at the receding house with tears as past memories flooded his mind. Placing my arm on the door armrest, I look out the side window, rest my head on it and look upwards. The sky is a dull shade of grey, I hear rolling thunder in the distance, the flash of lightning that blinds. Rain starts to splatter against the glass. I see a lonesome bird struggling to stay afloat in the turbulent winds, fail as it loses the battle and plummet downwards only to disappear in the distance. Looking at the city flowing past, I see a sea of humanity which still flowed by endlessly as if they were in a rush to meet their new found God. Some flip open umbrellas, while other tilt their hats to shield their face and tighten their raincoats. Running my hand across the glass to wipe the dust, memories as bleak the sun scorched desserts float through my mind.

Looking at my own reflection, I wondered what I had really achieved.  Time passes by and after what seems like another lifetime, I find myself walking up back to the closet to get my coat. The stormy clouds starts to break, the rain come to a stop and I see the sun break through. The taxi eventually comes to a stop. Opening its door, I headed out and looked at my image in the receding side mirror with tinge of sadness as past memories flooded his mind. I realized the world was getting smaller and darker with each passing year as I  faded into the darkness of the trash strewn gully between the abandoned apartments hoping to find momentary peace before they come baying for my blood. 

The flower bouqet

I was wandering around town yesterday doing some grocery shopping when I ran across this flower arrangement at a doctors office. It had rained in the afternoon, so the flowers had a sparkling fresh look. Loved the combination of yellow and gree.