Long Story Short: The Wonderful Life of Zariya

Author: Siddharth Naidu
Photography Partner: Prashita Ramteke

Trashed memories, broken dreams, famished will.
A young life was finished before it even began.
From the world where wonders had just begun to the world where Zariya was nothing but a vegetable.

When all hope was lost, a fickle frustration led him to her.
Vikram was the only hope; an only saviour for her will.

Drishti had unexpectedly become Vikram’s life goal.
Drishti’s acknowledgement was a purpose. Stories – his revolution.

Will Vikram lose it all in the attempt of survival?
Will Drishti ever awaken her emotions?
A story of breathtaking tragedy, heartwarming love and beautiful lives engulfed in the mirage of self-actualization!
 

When Zariya crashed on the road from her scooter, she was 19. She was at an age that identified her goals and realised them as dreams. In a split second, she lost everything. A sharp gravel stone pierced the skin under her neck and cut through an internal carotid artery. She lay there, immovable and entirely paralytic, except for the working grace of her sensory organs. She could see people gathering around her. A few men trying to remove her scooter, which felt weightless on her legs. She could see people pick her up and one of them placed her into the backseat of a car. The front seat, the textured leather cover, a faint jasmine smell and blowing horns were all apparent to her. She felt her blood dripping onto the seat, her senseless fingers sticking onto the glass window. It almost never happened. And then days later, she woke up in a plush private hospital. The sobbing of her parents, flower bouquets, the creaky doors, and the pungent medicinal smell filled her ambience. This was, however, her side-stop in a longer journey; a journey which would transcend through many hospitals and finally land her at General Govt. Hospital in the city. She would survive on aided-support, yet would never recover. She couldn’t die either. All she could do was to lay on the cot and spend her days…

SEVEN YEARS LATER:  
Vikram suddenly woke up from a deep slumber and patted around his side table. After almost dropping it down, he latched onto his mobile and turned off the alarm. It was ten minutes past six. He closed his eyes and his body begged him to stay put. 3 or 5 minutes wouldn’t really change anything. Vikram, however, knew the trick having fallen for it plenty many times. He sat up and took a gulp of water from the bottle near his bed. By seven o’clock, he readied himself. A bag packed with precisely six books, some pens, some apples, and his office ID tag thrown in. He walked out of his small room and locked the door behind him. Just as he stepped away from the plankton seeping door and towards his bike, his mobile rang.

‘Vicky… Hello… Vicky… Hello?’ the voice said.

It was his Mother. She usually called him in the evening when he returned home. This call was an oddity.

‘Amma..! Can you hear me…Hello’, Vikram replied, raising his voice a little. He was a soft talker. But then, his mother was old and in her own words, growing deaf in one ear.

‘Vicky…Book a ticket for me for Duronto Express tonight’, His Mother said as clearly as she could.  Vikram tried understanding the request or rather question the reason behind it. Did she tell him something? Was he supposed to remember something? But before he could come up with anything, his Mother intervened,

‘Vicky, you know Kamili aunt’s father right? He passed away an hour back, and I need to be in Hyderabad at the earliest’ she declared.

Vikram promised her he would book her a ticket as soon as possible and got off the call. His office was in Hitech city, fifteen odd kilometres to his place. But then, he had stopped going to his office for a long time now. For the past six months, his day started with a pretence of it and had to zero in on finding the perfect human resource for a said target project. However, everything had changed after he met her.Drishti. She was everything to him now.

He reached the Hospital within an hour. This was the only time that the doctors allowed him to visit Drishti. Dr. Swathi had taken pity on him and more so, on her. Her sympathy made way to his prolonged visits. She was dead otherwise, but her life breathed inside. And he was essential for her healthy heart beat. The scans and records showed the remarkable escalation in bodily activities when he was around her. And for Dr. Swathi, taking care of this abandoned young woman meant a treatment better than any.

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Meetup 81: Expanse, Part 1

Hello people,

Some of you might already know about all the wonderful things that Write Club has come up with, as part of Dramatic December. And Expanse is the sole and whole beginning for it. Just as rightly, Expanse – led by Siddharth, one of our most prolific writers has been a heavily impactful session.

We at write club have over the 18 odd months, have dabbled with a plethora of topics, thematics and techniques, which have redefined the way we think and write stories. They’ve shown us ways of telling a story, which perhaps we would’ve never known. From Fore-shadowing to science fiction, from chronology to satirical, from inanimate things to supernatural forces, we’ve arguably seen it all. We’ve reached a point of our journey where we feel the need to level up. Get the stakes higher. This is where this week’s session Expanse comes in.

This weekend, we saw diversity, direction and dimension – all in one go! Siddharth came up with a very well-planned and highly-researched excerpt for all of us writers to take and peel through our stories.

To begin with –

Expanse involved world building. Intricately, historically, and incredibly. Don’t just write about it. Live there. Explore the history, the political structure, concerning ideologies, cultures, and traditions. Basically, play God. Now, is it just about simulating a world. Nope. The worlds are here to provide you with Visual Dynamism. You still have the impending task of weaving a gripping story within this scenario.

What is Expanse?

Well, to be plain about it, it’s just world building. But that’s undermining the whole thought of it. Expanse aims to present the participants to weave stories within three different worlds and narratives. These three worlds will be diverse, individual and totally unconnected.

The mission looks simple. Even the worlds and the pursuits do.The intent of having three episodes to it is to try and inculcate the sense of expanded writing. Most of us limit our writing to one session, ending it because of the time constraints. Or just because that’s all we can think of. We are trying to break away from that. We want to prepare a grand idea, and think, live and write it over three weeks. Though till now, we’ve been writing short stories, we are super capable of writing the next best-selling novel if we put our mind to it.

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Write Club Anthology – Open for Entries

After the success of our first anthology

“Of Blood and Ink”

We’ve decided to do it again! This time, it’s an open contest!

Pen down a write up on the below theme and send it to us!


Theme:

ENCOUNTERS

The unknown and unpredictable communication with an object or a person that caused an event to result in a certain way rather than another

What happens when you unexpectedly face someone?

What do you do when you have your first encounter with something?

When was the last time you had an unexpected or casual meeting with someone or something?

Tell us all about a fascinating encounter that turned tables over!


Deadline:
November 25th


Eligibility:

  • The participant should have attended Write Club at least twice (2 times) until the date of submission.

What’s in it for you?

An opportunity to have an entry into a book of Write Club’s anthology of short stories for this year. We know by experience, how satisfying and difficult it can be for your words to see the light of day. Helping even a handful of talented writers get their words into the world, online or on-paper is the goal of this anthology.

What wins the contest?

  • 10 well-written write-ups with plausible structure, captivating characters, and gripping narratives.
  • We love writers who show that they do!
  • Feel free to take some risks, if you wish!
  • Let your words make us think, feel and express! And you’re a winner.
  • Explore writing forms and genres, we accept them all as long as it adheres to our theme — stories, poems — fiction, nonfiction, and even beyond.

Rules:

  1. The theme should be Inherent and Integral to the write-up!
  2. Submissions must be your original work and no longer than 3,500 words.
  3. We will accept previously published work as long as the piece is eligible to be republished. Include information about previous publications at the end of the document.
  4. Please submit your entry as a Word document (.doc or .docx). Don’t forget to add in your name (pseudonyms accepted)!
  5. Include the title in a header on each page.
  6. You can NOT submit more than one piece.
  7. If you are simultaneously submitting a story to other publications, please let us know. And if it’s accepted elsewhere, please withdraw the piece immediately.
  8. Entries submitted after the deadline will not be considered.
  9. The entries must be sent to writeclubhyd@gmail.com

In case of any further questions about anything at all,

Write to us at writeclubhyd@gmail.com

Centipede – Part Seven

Previously on the Series: Part Six

”Thank you, for letting me in ” Raiden said limping into the flat. Photos had already been clicked of him, and now the visual sensors installed were recording his gait movement. Esther stepped away from the door, and walked back into the room. Something was wrong about him. He seemed injured but for some reason he didn’t look like a victim. He limped, with a torn and bloodied jeans, and a very conceivably muddy shirt. He was mugged maybe. Or maybe it was just some fight.
”The bastards took my wallet as well ” the man said, almost startling Esther. That was after all her question.
He saw the wall mounted land phone, and swiped through a series of numbers on the metallic number panel. The woman was kind, but seemed curious. She seemed smart, yet simple. There was something about her that was convincingly attractive. He would therefore have to find her again, at some other day, and fuse off this memory. She didn’t know him, that part Raiden had confirmed, courtesy the 5 second peek into her minds memory. And what he saw was good.
The gait monitor analysed every movement, for a match. The bending of spine, the pacing of legs and the motion of his hands. Humans were always partial towards a particular side. The stance ever so slightly inclining, at that. Just the smallest degree of variance, and the gait recorder got that. And from the search results, the programmed query hit a match. Esther could hear the faint beep. She calmly pulled out a syringe filled with a concentrated sedative. He would remember her, but if he willed, she would never remember him. And that would make his revenge all the more easy. Keigo had warned her. And therefore they had changed to change everything about how this game was being played.

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Centipede – Part Five

Previously on the series: Part Four


 

”So that’s what I can do“, the handsome young man spoke to the struggling Detective. The ageing Starton Courage recipient, had been discovered fifteen minutes ago, in the men’s restroom. He was thoroughly shaken up and utterly disoriented. He was then carried to a secluded room on the top floor of the villa, by five men clad in white and blue checkered uniform. Evidently, they were the staff of Geniko Seryon, the pharmaceutical kingpin. Therefore this was The Lotus Villa in Kyoto. Keigo could only figure out that much from what his whimpering mind could fathom, as he lay on a soft bed in a dimly lit room. The staff left him to push through his lone wandering, when in the shadows he heard someone speak moments later. A voice, which meant a fading face in a smoked up memory.

”So that’s what I can do” the voice showed its form. A handsome young man with striking eyes, who seemed to offer him ridicule and pity.

”Who… What?” Keigo struggled in his bed. He couldn’t place him, but there was undeniable rage surging through his veins, towards that man. He wanted to get up, grab that smirking face, and hit his head to the wall till his skull broke into pieces. He had to do it, without the whys.

”Let me reintroduce myself, Sir. I’m Raiden. I’m from nowhere. I’m no one. I’m just the man you were searching for. I’m the man you caught”. He dragged a stool from under the bed and sat beside Keigo.

”Shut Up… Please… Shut Up…” Keigo’s swiveling mind started to fix upon a very relieving idea. To kill the man. Simple.

” You met Tereniko, in her mansion. What was it called…? Moon Dance? Yes, Yes… So coming back… You found her, she led you to me, and you caught me here, right? Right in the middle of that vase auction. That was, quite… ” He continued calmly

”STOP…” Keigo tried to get up. Something was wrong. He hadn’t lost his legs. Just the will to get them to stand. Continue reading

Centipede – Part Four

Previously on the series: Part Three


 

Keigo knocked at the door for the fourth time. The case of missing people was normal, but then returning with no memory of what happened, was something incredible. The press would go haywire and the public, well, it would be chaos. He had to find out, what all of this meant. Solving it was a distant possibility, making sense of it was his immediate attention. After ten minutes of being polite, he was left with no other option but to use the Lock Over-rider. Machine whirred silently as it got attached to the sensory locks on the door, and finally beeped.
Keigo walked in to the sprawling thirty acre mansion of Tokyo’s best known ramp model, Teriniko. It was highly conspicuous that no working staff, no maids, and not even the Butler could be seen. From what he heard, after her return or more so a reappearance last week, she had dismissed everyone. Rumors were adrift that she would cover herself up from tip to toe with black robes. Nothing would be visible apart from her eyes. Just as Kiego passed a huge Digital SyncroMotion painting of Imklopo Waterfall, he felt his left ear-pod slightly vibrate. Right ear-pod meant home, Left ear-pod was Work.

He touched the ear-pod, and voice blurted out.
”Embassy has sent Brühl to investigate, and he wants to access your server files, he’s going crazy, man, what do I do ?”
”Why is the Russian embassy in my office? Did you even try to stop him?” Continue reading

Centipede – Part Three

Previously on the series: Part Two

 


The blood clotted as it was supposed to. Two and a half minutes later. That was the maximum time prescribed on the packaging that enclosed the packet of syringes. Raiden waited till the blood clotted in one mouth, then moved to the other. He needed only one tongue from his captives. He needed only one of them to speak. Others didn’t matter. One sense from each one of them was the idea. Vittoria couldn’t remain conscious with so much pain screaming through her nerves. Her brain went numb, and her vision blurred. A word passed from her mind to her mouth. But she could no longer speak. Raiden sealed her tongue in a disposable polyethylene. All the severed parts, had to be stored collectively, and destined to the same place. A construction site in central Tokyo, to be discovered by a 55 year old, Yakushi.
And then he untied everyone. They needed to be free. Teriniko was the only one who had her tongue. And therefore the only one awake, to see that she was still untouched. A chill ran down her spine as, Raiden calmly sat cross legged before Teriniko.
”You know, human memory always baffled me”, he said staring at her intently. She knew him well enough to know that it was in her best interest to remain silent. But then, if that was an option, he would have ensured that. No no, he wanted her to talk. And there was no best interest at all.
”Why… Are you… doing this” she moved her hands forward. She wanted to swing her hands, hit him with all her might and run away to the crackling door behind him. But she couldn’t move. She knew she was angry, but was it on him? That was the question.
”Human memory by default stores every possible data that is thrown at it. Irrespective of necessity or relevance. People pride themselves in retaining all sorts of information, you know” He continued unperturbed. A captivating smile filled the momentary silence that he opted. Teriniko didn’t find it otherwise usable. He took out a lighter from his pocket. After shaking it for a bit, he chocked it a couple of times to affirm it’s functionality.

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Centipede – Part Two

 

Previously on the series: Part 1

The winter of 2036, brought with itself a slightly threatening snow cover. Wading through time, Man had far surpassed what logic and innovation could bind him with. But nature. Well, it was a totally different hurdle. Beyond anyone. Unconquerable. Condensing ice and delivering hailstorms were well within its nature. As was being twisted and genius within the nature of man. One accompanied other. The more horrendous the crime , more brilliance it involved. That was just how the nature of things were.


On one such fateful day, Yakushi, a 55 year old construction worker, drove his Zeplon made sedan, through the 37th Haiku cross roads. Japan, in his early memories was a much simpler and warmer place. Climate change they had declared eventually that had condensed life. And there after ice and snow started making sense. He signalled left, and turned into the Tokyo Azabu precinct lane. The car screeched a bit, and turned graciously into the Shibuya line, a direct pass way to the police station. Detective Kiego had called him earlier today about Yakushi’s absurd discovery. More so findings of hauntingly disturbing nature. A soft yet affirming voice, Yakushi remembered, quite unlike the usual, ruffian coarse voices he was used to at work. Yakushi drove the sedan through the toll booth, and took the underground parking lot. Circular platforms spiralling down at controlled mechanical pace. The sedan got parked in the computer generated predetermined vacant slot. No human search required
As soon as Yakushi entered the 12th floor, he was greeted by a neatly dressed man, who identified himself as Detective Kiego. He ushered him through the lobby, through the activity laden passage way. They swiftly walked past the chaotic cubicles and continuously ringing mobile phones. The Detective stopped at the glass separated debriefing room, and signalled Yakushi inside. It was apparent why he chose this. Soundproof. Everything fell silent as the Detective closed the door, pulled out a chair and took one for himself.
” Could you walk me through the incident again , Sir ?” Kiego asked putting a recording device on the table. A couple of green LEDs on it , meant it was already active.
” I reported at the construction site, near Griloko square, early yesterday..”

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Centipede – Part One

……. At this moment, as you can see, there’s a lot of debris behind me, the building collapsed on itself, and.. And… The casualties at this point of time….

…….We are talking 36 dead and more than a hundred injured. A tragic loss no doubt, and we still are unsure as to what caused the Zeplon building to collapse. Police have denied….

………. An exclusive statement by a well informed source indicates a situation which unconditionally rejects any terrorist outfits being involved at all. The foundations are being analysed, as we speak for any sort of.. detriment…


5 Years Later……

” I love this city, you know, for its laid back nature, it’s just wonderful that ways ” she deftly sliced the custard pie in front of her. For Raiden however the city was chaotic. Filled with unintelligent chatter. Empty minds made much noise. Sadly, She seemed no different
” Is Moscow better than here, this time of the year ? ” he asked calmly,  swivelling his wine glass ever so slightly. He always liked Red Wine for some reason. Reminded him of her and Christmas. It was the only drink perhaps to have a self explanatory name. Much like orange was orange.
” Oh Moscow is wonderful. Apart from winters which go to the negatives, summers are good ” Vittoria grinned. The pie tasted incredibly good. Way  better than the last time. The handsome Japanese guy in front of her wasn’t all looks afterall. She’d give him an 8 out of 10 if the date ended well. And 9 if they ended up doing something.

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