Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Off with his Head!


There were all lined up to die that day. Many were guilty. Many were innocent. Many cried. Many prayed to God. Out of this throng of many, a man stood out. He did not mean to do so. His eyes roved unseeingly over the mob. The girl he had been to talking lay a lifeless corpse. Many were to follow her. He would too.

He had leaned carelessly against the witness box while his double stood trial in Old Bailey. He had worn a nightly shroud of candle wax in many taverns at London. It was he who had stopped for Death.  

 “Thank God she’s safe…” he whispered.

The executioner gestured towards him with hands stained now with blood, not wine.

“Off with his head, off with his head,” chanted the Vengeance like the Queen of Diamonds.




His shoes made hardly any sound as he ascended. Briefly, he raised his eyes to look at the mob below. They were too beneath him to see what he saw. His eyes didn’t see the knitting lying on Madame Defarge’s vacant chair. Nor did they light on the Vengeance or Barsad and Cly. He saw a woman. She seemed an apparation. Her hair was the same gold as Lucy’s. Her eyes the same blue.

“Lucy?” his mind cried.

He felt himself roughly dragged towards St Guillotine. They flung him on the block and he felt the rough wood graze his fingers. Hastily, he looked up to see her face again. It couldn’t be Lucy. His upturned eyes sought for the mysterious angel.

It wasn’t Lucy. Her forehead held not the other’s distinctiveness. She was her replica. The crowd jeered and abused him. He closed his eyes ready to feel the chill of the axe. “A life you love…” he murmured again.

He saw the angel behind his closed lids. There was no darkness. Dr Manette stood beside her his face radiant. ‘It was you! You who I saw in my cell’ said he.

Mr Lorry joined them and Lucy appeared beside him. Her face wasn’t the wan one he had kissed his farewell to. Darney had his arm around her. Was this the future he saw?

“Thank God if it be so,” his heart prayed.

 Then as if from nowhere, he saw himself besides them, with little Lucy on his lap. His face was blissfully happy. Was this heaven?

 “Off with his head! Down with the aristocrat!” the crowd chanted.

The air stilled as the axe was raised. Barsad turned his eyes away. “He was a good man…” he choked.

A smile lit Sidney Carton’s face. Lucy’s face shone before him. Her blue eyes compassionate. His soul was light. His laughter was no more tinged with pain.

Finally, he could rest. Finally, there would be no pillow littered with tears. Finally, the sun emerged. And then - the axe fell. The air was rent with cheers.

In the carriage speeding towards London, Charles Darney opened his eyes.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ode to Dejection - in prose

Even the most optimistic person in the world has moments when the black clouds seem sans the silver lining. After all, after you put in your hard work and have to sit back and trust in fate and others mercy, the wait is not easy. Nor is the suspense. Is because at that point of time you are not in control of the situation? You can gauge the time and effort you put into a task, you may even guess the reaction but the final outcome is something beyond us.

At such a time you might want to think positive. After all, don't people say that positive vibes attract more positivity? There's a problem with that though. In conflict to this principle, we have others believing that one should never think out aloud a good thing. So, where do you stand?

Perhaps this is why the trust in God idea sprang up. Not that there is anything wrong with it. It is a comforting notion if you are to look at it from a detached point of view with all due respect to the faith attributed. Since, one can't exactly pen down one's destiny worrying your head off regarding what is to come expends more energy than failure ever can.

So, may be till we can find some other solution to this we'll simply have to follow the motto of - do your best and leave the rest.  

Meet the Pomsky – the new rival of the Chiuaua?

Ever heard the phrase,“It’s a dog’s life?” Well, the Pomsky has proved yet again that it truly is a dog’s world if not a dog’s life. Apparently being a hybrid is not such a bad thing after all. In case you don’t know, the Pomsky it is a mix of the Pomeranian and Siberian Husky. What’s more, it’s headed to be the cutest designer dog. 

Considering that its breed is a cross from the Pomeranian and Siberian Husky, one needn’t state that it is both adorably fluffy as well as compact. Plus, its name sounds way better than Labradoodle any day. And one look at this new arrival will tell you that it can beat the Chiuaua hollow any day, atleast as far as appearances go.

Pomsky puppies are not only irresistible fur balls though. Whether or not they are destined to be the next lap dog is difficult to say. Dog lovers would have a problem stomaching such a scenario. After all, they aren’t only for arm candy or accessorising as some animal lovers have pointed out. Their gentle temperament have won over many people on their side. Their ancestors, the Pomeranians were called ‘toy’ dogs and bore the patronage of none other than Queen Victoria! They come in a variety of colours but generally have white, black and brown. Their coat which adds to their toy-dog appeal is dense coated, distinctly reminding one of a Siberian Husky though a more long haired and fluffier version.

Pomskies are spirited but docile. Don’t let their size fool you. They are more agile and active than they look. They mainly sport a foxlike head and small erect ears. The most attractive feature is its long coat which is especially full on the neck and chest. They look much closer to the Pomeranians than the Siberian Huskies. Still, the name Pomsky is a perfect blend of the two names suggesting their mixed breed - the “Pom” from Pomeranians and the “sky” from Husky.

Pomsky puppies are here to stay. Even if they do reach the status of the ‘handbag’ dogs, it would be wrong to judge them by their fur alone. For their distant relative, the poodle despite all the pampering its received over the decades is still considered to be one of the most intelligent domestic dogs. Well finally, it has real keen competition from these puppies who are big things coming in small packages.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Exam Bug

My university is lazier than the students. Understatement. Actually, it's more of a case of giving the students a bad name and hanging them as to tell you the truth; I'd say the students are more interested in when the exams are and when the syllabus comes out than our beloved university is. A typical example is the exam date is announced a week or 15 days prior to the exam and the syllabus dons the notice board a day of two before the exam commences.

And they say students don't study.

Now when your syllabus sheet runs into a miniature booklet and you can't help guessing what from all of that pile of notes is relevant for the current exam how can you devote your full attentions to what they expect you to study? No seriously, for each professor would like you to devote PhD thesis amount of time and dedication to their subject paper.

 And then once the exam is over and you feel you can breathe a sigh of relief think again! The next moment you may just start worrying about what marks they'll give you as believe me, it's more luck than merit that gets you through. At least if you have done a detailed analysis on how the marking pattern varies in each paper. There isn't any equilibrium.

Thus, it isn't a bad idea to try bribing the gods even f you have studied. I still maintain I'd never have got 80% in Geography if it hadn't been for luck. Why? Well, because I don't yet even know the map of India for starters. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Working Out - The Fine Art of Torture

Working out or rather exercising was supposed to be fun. That is before we successfully instilled a handful of rules and regulations in it along with a truckload of targets and deadlines. Throw in the tape measure and weighing machine and you have the recipe of quick demotivation. After all, how long will you continue working out if all you see in the end is a lighter, or thinner, or more muscular you? Wasn't it much more fun sweating it out as a kid for you weren't really mentally grappling with how many calories you were burning or whether your heart was beating fast enough?

Even walking has become a duty. You might see some really dedicated walkers in the morning. So, dedicated are they that they don't even have the breath to puff out a 'good morning' to an acquaintance. Or then we have the other breed which insists on getting the most of the walk and time spent. Thus, you will be treated to some displays of arm rotating and swinging which would look absurd as they do remind one of a haywire robot.

Thus, it would be no surprise if the exercise bike turns into a clothes rack or the dumbbells lie rusting. Not everyone is meant to do yoga or aerobics; so perhaps, it's best you choose what you like and stick with it.    

On the Stars (Note: celebs)

It is indeed difficult to understand why some people are so obsessed with celebrities. Leaving aside the fame, wealth, good looks and the like, what more have they to offer that make them so different from you and me? If they weren't good actors or didn't have the necessary aptitude for the movie business they would be someone else. Perhaps less known or wealthy.

Then why is it that we have people who follow their lives even more closely than their own? Is it the mere need of identification? This need is exploited in full by the advertisers and thus, we have celebrities blandly endorsing products they wouldn't dream of using. And the surprise is that normally rational people turn into irrational customers and blindly go after that particular brand just because so-and-so is using it.

I have met people who consider these stars as ideals of perfection. Perfection? How true is that? Fans who earnestly believe that their coveted idol's life is absolutely perfect and fail to see the obvious, that under the make-up and glitter of success they to are humans like us. Scratch them and they too will bleed.