Sunday, May 25, 2014

Harbingers of spring

Chapter 1

      Chennai railway station stood majestic with its reddish brown paint rendering the nuance. People were thronging in with insolent boredom. The Gothic clock with its wooden frame covered in a patch of newly spun spider web, tried to tick away the seconds as noiselessly as possible. The steel chairs occupied the vast hall that housed the restaurants and a deserted Higginbotham's book store. A huge LED panel looked monstrous, secured high enough to give a glimpse of the trains that ran late.

         An old man with his back stooped down, weak arms holding the chair began to stare at the LED in front of him. It was an advertisement for a silk sari, where a voluptuous woman with all smiles made a catwalk. People call this as an age of technical wizardry, with men shouting over the phones. While their kids were spending anxious moments with 'Super Mario'. Meanwhile, the women were wrestling each other, to find a spot to charge their dead phones. 

An announcement spat from the speakers that hung from the pillars across the hall. 

"Attention all passengers !!! attention !!! We have an enemy infiltration in our state. The enemy has been blacklisted for notorious crime activities. The last know location of our enemy was at Nungambakkam station. Passengers are advised to look for any suspicious persons roaming inside or outside the railway station. Stay away from strangers and any clues or leads towards the arrest of the enemy will be rewarded. Any form of social contact or protection of this enemy will be detained under stringent laws. Tamil Nadu Tourism Board wishes you all a happy and safe journey" 

          A small group of passengers perambulated towards the security check point. A row of metallic frames marked the small room that was brightly lit. The baggage scanner swallowed the trolleys through its mechanized conveyors, with a middle aged woman sitting beside that. She was dressed in khaki and a cup of tea was sitting on her table to beat her languor. Behind her, was a black cubicle that harbored a small man in a similar uniform. All he had to look for was the click sound, when he scanned the tickets and he did that happily.
             The serpent queue stood anxiously outside the security check point, waiting for their turn. Everyone seemed to be smitten by the security delays, but Vishnu had all the time on this earth waiting for him. With a  backpack hanging from one of his elbows, he had his palms safely tucked in the pockets. Rigorous workout was visible through the linen shirt that cloaked his chiseled physique. He loves what he does; sometimes he is passionate about guitars;the next day he sketches faces of random people. Like the ever flowing stream, he has a capricious mood. He can't get his head in one thing, but he never regrets for that.

               World was a Rubik's cube for him, he itched to explore the colors. Different colors meant different people. His colors were always bright for women, especially the pretty ones. The flair for striking a conversation with any girl was inbuilt in him, just like the dark clouds on a rainy day. He can't miss it; neither the flair nor his mischievous smile. With so much happening in his life, he felt that someone has robbed his joy. There was always a pain that lingers deep inside him. A thud brought back his pensive mind back to senses. The ticket inspector was staring at him,

" Tickets??"

    He didn't realize that he had passed through the baggage scanner. His mind was engrossed about the accident which snatched away his happiness and he failed to get the tickets from the backpack. The ticket inspector was furious, when Vishnu was fiddling in his bag. His hands were fumbling inside to drop out a deodorant and a half eaten snicker bar.

" Do you have a ticket?? If you can't produce the ticket, I'll have to call the security now.. I don't have time for your show here" shouted the inspector, with beads of perspiration dotting his head.

"Anna !!! Nothing seems to be working for me, since this morning. I just missed the metro train from Nugambakkam. Then.. it was her.. Priyanka!! said Vishnu.

" So you don't have a ticket.. I'm calling the security now." said the inspector and he turned back to shout at the closed door. "No tickets.. take him away"

"Anna !! Wait !! wait !!" and Vishnu began to dump his bag on the floor. Few coins rolled by, to touch the feet of the fellow passengers and a bunch of crumbled papers. "Bingo !! Bingo"

    The white hand kerchief moved effortlessly over the bald head of the inspector. He arched his brows when he saw the guy picking up a paper, that looked like an archaeological evidence. Edges of the paper were stained in brown and the bar code was barely visible. Meanwhile, a security guy with a pot belly walked out of the cubicle towards Vishnu. After a few agonizing seconds, the scanner gave a click sound,

" Move out !! Next time, I won't be taking such toilet papers for tickets" shouted the inspector.

       Vishnu collected his belongings, not bothering about the remarks from the inspector. " Anna! if Priyanka hadn't planned the shopping... ". The inspector was fuming and he yelled, "get this rascal out!!," people behind him, were screaming now. "Shit.. its 9:50 already" and the inspector began mumbling words that very few bothered to hear.

Chapter 2

       The train approached the station with a slight pummel and a platoon of soldiers were engaged in the platform. The metallic sub machine guns were held at an angle close to their chest which had a CRPF emblem. They were like a pack of wolves waiting for the sniff of their prey. The train came to an halt, with its brakes releasing the pressure and the soldiers marched into the train. Vishnu stood among the hundreds of passengers that were eagerly waiting to board the train. The passengers were held behind a yellow line that belonged to the CRPF personnel.

          With a wavering mind, Vishnu began scanning faces across him. Each face had been tainted with numerous expression. Signs of anxiety and eagerness were evident. The air around him was infectious with the adventurous travel that lay ahead. He cocked his head towards the monitor on the rust spit ten rails.

    " Tamil Nadu Tourism Board wishes, A happy new year, 2020" The fireworks broke and screen erupted in streaks of colors. Vishnu chuckled inside and eyed his watch. The sound of the marching footsteps brought a sense of uneasiness among the passengers. The yellow line was removed and everyone began to board the train. Vishnu was jogging towards this coach F3. He moved forward, pushing the vendors and kiosks behind him.

           F3 coach had frost tinted windows, with an electronically operated doors that operated on sensors. The doors hissed open to reveal the interiors that were sodden in blue. The curtains, frames and even the cushions had different versions of blue entrusted on it. The coach had a long narrow corridor with coupes on to its right. Each coupe was encompassed with two berths and air con units. He walked across the corridor towards his coupe no 8. When he was about to punch his ticket code, the doors of his cubicle slid open.

"Welcome aboard" said a voice.

Vishnu peeped in, to a find a girl with the latest edition of 'THE WEEK' magazine covering her face. The voice was so powerful that he felt the urge to snatch the magazine that was covering her face. The magazine dropped down to unveil her round face. She was dressed in a white shirt and a denim. The pendant around her neck had a small crescent, that moved rhythmically to her slow breath. A strong sense of guilt struck him, when he realized that his vision were out of bounds.

" Thanks !! Happy New year!! " said Vishnu with words blurting out.

She giggled to display her pinkish gums and a beautiful smile.

" I'm Subhashini. You can call me Subha.".

   Her palm was warm and smooth. "Vishnu" He smiled sheepishly.

" Wassup Vishnu !!" said Subha and she crossed her legs.

"Heading towards Coimbatore to meet my friend. Nothing much. You??".

"I have an interview at Payada Technological Services" said Subha with a frowning look.

" You don't look happy about that. Aren't you??"

"That's true buddy! I don't want to move away from Chennai." and she pouted. Her cute expression and the word 'buddy' skipped a beat in his heart. His pulse was soaring high in excitement, but he managed to keep them down.

"Hey man !!You seem to be occupied with something else. Are you waiting for a call or something?? Enna girlfriend ah ??" said Subha.

" Cha cha !!! Nothing of that sort. I'm single" the words came in quick succession.

"Hmmm.. I don't like guys who are single" she gave him a disapproved look.

"what the hell??" jumped Vishnu.

"They are losers, man. Not a single girl dared to look at them." smiled Subha and she flipped the pages of the magazine aimlessly.

" Holy crap !! I don't take that. I wasn't a loser" scowled Vishnu.

"I never meant that.. but still, ... I'm sorry" she mumbled.

             The conversation came to an halt by the sudden knock on their door. They stared each other like the kids caught while trying to steal candies. Subha sprang from her seat and moved towards the door. Her fingers moved effortlessly over the keypad to open the door. A bald guy stood at the doorstep, coughing and he tried to squeeze himself into the coupe. His eyes looked bloodshot due to the weariness and it was evident in his wrinkled shirt. An electronic gadget appeared small in his bulky arms.

"ID's ??" grunted the bald guy.

Vishnu gave an anxious look and he realized that he didn't have an ID.

Chapter 3

Vishnu gave an anxious look and he realized that he didn't have an ID, " Do we need to have our ID"s while travelling in a train?? I've my ticket for this coupe"

The guy gave a snort of disgust, "This is just a security measure. There has been reports on enemy infiltration, so we are doing this. You know something, I hate this job. I hate it".

"Sorry officer, I don't have my ID with me. I was in a hurry this evening and I forgot to bring mine" said Vishnu. In the meantime, the officer was tapping Subha's ID on the gadget.

"Do you have your college ID??" barked the guy.

Vishnu was silent and his head arched down.

" Madam, now you know why I hate this job. Knocking the doors of every coupe, to find guys like him. I'll inform the CRPF guys and they...." before he could complete his carnage of words, Subha cut him off, " Officer, I appreciate your duties, but you need to understand the customers. We had our exams this afternoon and we were in a hurry to catch the train. We never expected to carry our ID's in trains, officer"

The officer looked sullen, " That's not my problem. I've got more shit waiting for me for the rest of the night. So, I don't mind your cooked up stories. I'll do what I've to." with a perfunctory nod, the officer left leaving a silence in the room.

     The room felt thick with an air of apprehension surmounting the two. Vishnu broke the silence, " Thanks for vouching me, but.."

"Yeah.. That's alright. I guess, it never made any difference."

"but.. still.. I wouldn't do that for a stranger. CRPF is going to kick me out. Damn!!"

"naah.. you would be fine. We can sort this thing. It's no big deal" smiled Subha with her brows arching up.

Her words brought no solace on his face, despite the smile, he looked anxious. The fingers were intertwined, making weird shapes. 

"do you mind if I ask you something?" asked Subha 

"Go on" 

"you told me that you weren't a loser. So.. do you  ?? 

" I know what you mean. yup.. that's right."

"that's interesting!! Now I know why you are excited." beamed Subha. 

         Vishnu had a blatant look, which made her uneasy. " I'm not sure how to respond to that. As a matter of fact, you are partially right. I had a girlfriend and tomorrow is her first year anniversary"

"Awww.. I'm so sorry. I made a terrible mistake of mocking you. I'm just .. sorry" 

"That's alright. I still can't believe how things change in a year's time. Last year we were on a trip to Mumbai. She was holding my hands and we were walking down the lanes of Marine Drive. If she hadn't planned her shopping on that day, I wouldn't have lost her in an accident" murmured Vishnu.

"Sometimes, I wonder, if she was the best gift I ever had. You know something, I watched her die in my arms. I still feel her sitting beside me, her laughter.. " 

   The coupe seemed to echo his grief. Tears began to ebb and made their way down his cheeks, to render a silent cry. 

"She is here, waiting for you" said Subha

" ah.. I'm alright.. at times, I get bit hysteric.. Sorry about that" snubbed Vishnu and he wiped down the tears.

"Priyanka wants to hold your hands, Vishnu" mumbled Subha.

"Priyanka?? how you do know her?? I never mentioned her name, who are you??" Vishnu's vice was roaring. Subha was calm, "You won't believe, until you see your cutie pie Priyanka. Was the nickname correct?? cutie pie !!"

"Stop that. One more .. " before Vishnu could complete, he felt someone behind holding his hands, stopping him from pouching forward. When he saw the hands, his eyes bulged in disbelief. The coziness that he felt lost was now back again, behind him. Priyanka stood there gazing at his eyes.

Vishnu was shell shocked, with gazillion thoughts pondering his mind. It was this very moment he was dying for. When he turned back, Subha wasn't there. Wondering if this could be a gimmick, he sat down with his palms on his head. 

"Yeah, baby !! Did you miss me??" a voice so reverberating sent him a shudder. Priyanka stood in front of him. The cool blue eyes matched her tunic and her palms covered his cheeks. 

"Don't tell me you aren't real, please Priyanka, please !!" he began to sob in her shoulders. "I'm sorry for all that I've done. I shouldn't have left you like that. Sorry, cutie.." 

"sshhhhh !! that's fine, baby. No one can take away you from me" and she kissed him hard on his lips. Vishnu found himself lost in her wet lips and her fingers that brushed his brow. His feet felt so light and all his pains were massacred by her touch. All the euphoria came crashing down at the knock of the door. 

     The knock brought them apart and Vishnu opened his eyes to find Subha's lips close to him. He pushed himself away from her. The whole act felt like a dream to trick his eyes. Subha was staring at him with an astonished look. They broke the stare when they heard the bang for the second time. Vishnu punched in the codes with trembling fingers and to reveal a CRPF guy standing at his doorstep.

Chapter 4

         He looked young with a SMG around his shoulders. With a trimmed hair cut, his face had no charm, but mirrored like an assassin. He moved inside the coupe with authority and arrogance. His glance swept across them, beads of perspiration dotted Vishnu's head. He began to move around her and came close to sniff her silky hair. 'Officer! can I ask you stay away from me?"

"Where are you from?" the CRPF guy shrieked.

"Chennai. I'm heading to Coimbatore for an interview. I've my documents, if you wish to see" replied Subha

"Show me!!!"

   The guy looked into her documents, meanwhile his walkie talkie crackled in a cacophonous tone.

" officer 902.. can your hear us.. officer 902.. do you copy... We have information regarding the intruder. The intruder is highly likely to be a girl not more than 25. The enemy is highly ...."

     Subha's reaction was nothing less than that of a lightning. Her kick was so powerful that it sent him down on his knees. Before he could regain his composure, another blow landed on his stomach. Like a lioness, she watched him moving to his weapon. She moved across swiftly to kick away the weapon, but he managed to shove her. Her head banged on the metallic walls of the coupe and she was down.

      CRPF guy managed to crawl towards his SMG and the bruised fingers clawed it. The safety latch was released and he came close to Subha who was lying down unconscious. Vishnu stood there panting for his breath watching the events unfold before him. He couldn't believe that the girl who felt so calm can actually make a 6 foot guy taste his own blood. Several thoughts sprang in his mind about her, was she really an intruder?? enemy of the state?? If so, why did she have to trick him by bringing in Priyanka?? but still, he felt a soft corner for Subha, who was lying down helplessly. He could see that her end was not far away. The CRPF guy pointed the SMG at her and began to laugh,

  "It's not your day, bitch !! Let me teach what it means to kick a guy" and before he could push the trigger, he saw something glittering in her legs. One of her legs sparkled like a multifaceted stone, with reflections all over the place. Numerous transparent cubes appeared on her legs and began to spread all over her body. The reflection of the cubes was so bright and they had to shield their eyes. The luminous effect was for a brief period, before they rearranged themselves inti a single block of cube.

      Both men stared at each other, after witnessing the transcendence. Vishnu's muscles barely moved, but the CRPF guy walked towards it. The cube transformed itself into a womanly figure, with millions of tiny cubes reflecting on its body. He pushed the trigger to rain bullets at the cube. The cubes in the body swallowed the bullets like a mass of jelly. She walked towards the him, with every cube losing its luminescence to bring back the tone of flesh. He dropped the weapon and pounced on her. Her long arm made a rapid movement to slit his throat and blood gushed down like a leaking pipe. The sharp edges of the cube made its way to his jugular vein and blood was dripping down from the cube. Slowly the cubes in her arm transfigured into a human skin.

          "Now you know what it means to call a girl 'bitch'" hissed Subha.

Fear struck Vishnu like a hammer, he was awed by her prowess which was unparalleled. Subha came to him, humming a tune which was a melancholy. She looked or at least appeared to be human.

"By now you would have understood who I'm. If not, let me tell you. The government has been hiding our invasion and they are trying to hunt down me down, thinking that they could stop us. So, they labelled me as an intruder" said Subha.

"ah.. your invasion ?? in the first place, who are you?? Do you have any idea what you have done here??"

"Don't panic. We will soon take over them and the whole system would come in place. A world where there is order and harmony."

"we??? what the hell are you talking about?? My life is screwed.. damn.." shouted Vishnu and sat down with his hands resting on his palms.

"Sshhh.. I know your pain. Join us, we can heal you. Our world is free of envy and hatred. A blissful place for the naive ones like you. Come join us. Hold my hands ... " whispered Subha.

"Stop that!! I'm done with your gibberish talks. You are fighting against a mighty government, soon we'll have soldiers engulfing us. We are gone.. we are fucking gone.. Fuck.. what the hell have I done!!! "

Subha made a sarcastic laugh "Gibberish!!! You always fail to confront what lies ahead of you. You aren't talking to a girl from your next door. It's an intelligence that is far beyond your realm, which can surpass the longevity of humankind. If you think you are the superior race of this universe, then I should say you have been basked in ignorance. What you are witnessing here is a prelude to the grand events that is going to be staged in future. Join us, we will show what it is meant to be a superior creature" and there was a slight shake in her body. The skin began to transform once again into a series of cubes. They modeled themselves into Priyanka.

"NO... no... no.. it can't be.. you are not my Priyanka.. it's just a trick.. what I'm witnessing is just an illusion" cried Vishnu

"Babe.. it's alright.. Come to me, let's go away from here" Priyanka hugged him, with his tears running down her shoulders. He felt her fragrance so captivating and compelling. he wanted to bury himself deep into her and never lose again. The sound of hurried footsteps brought him the reality. A platoon of soldiers came marching inside the coupe, with machine guns pointing at the two.

"Stay away from me.. Take her away!! she is the one you have been looking for." said Vishnu and slid himself behind the soldiers.

She flashed her smile to reveal her perfect teeth and the pinkish gums. "If that's what you want, you are here for more surprises. Let's begin then."

           All the soldiers were aiming at her, when one of them turned at a shrill sound. Vishnu was down shouting in agony. He was lunged into spasm with his arms and legs moving at weird angles. The soldiers watched him in fear and surprise, but Subha seemed to know what was happening. In few moments time, tiny transparent cubes appeared on his body. The whole body transfigured into a jelly cube. Out of nowhere, the jelly mass mutated itself into a girl. A double of Subha. Both of them winked at each other, to say hi.

                What followed after was a series of gunshots and thundering noises. Passengers in the adjacent coupe had no idea of what's happening in there. They restrained themselves to their coupes, fearing penalization. Eventually, no one witnessed  the brutal assault that happened in there. The soldiers were torn into pieces, with blood sprayed all over the ceiling and the walls of the coupe. With a pile of dead soldiers lying on the floor, there was no sign of life in there except for the two women.

"What next ??"

"We have more coupes and more men"...


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