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Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Amaira by Mastho
Amaira by Mastho
Limitless You by Mastho
Limitless You by Mastho
Kanchi by Mastho Vamsee
Kanchi by Mastho Vamsee
God Damn It Smith by Mastho Vamsee
God Damn It Smith by Mastho
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Pop A Cap Smith by Mastho Vamsee
Amaira by Mastho
Amaira by Mastho
Limitless You by Mastho
Limitless You by Mastho
Kanchi by Mastho Vamsee
Kanchi by Mastho Vamsee
God Damn It Smith by Mastho Vamsee
God Damn It Smith by Mastho

Sneak Peek Into - Kanchi

Taste The Thrill Here

 

Kanchi

Mastho Vamsee

Preface

The Sun is now sinking…

Journeying down into unknown depths… as if conspiring with the looming darkness that devoured the once blue sky… as if with black designs for that night.

As the old district bus rocked and rolled over the hapless highway, Surya Narayana tried to keep himself from slipping down his seat. He is one of the thirteen people in a bus that was a mockery of public transport. As his body rocked on, dreary darkness of the moonless night engulfed the bus and the road alike in entirety.

Now, as the weird sounds of the bus soothed him like a lullaby, Surya Narayana felt sleepy. His head started swinging merrily to the unsteady rhythm of the bus. As his eyelids got heavy, Surya started dozing off. There was nothing for him to do except wait for another few hours until the wretched bus took him to his destination. He longed to find himself in the comfort of his home, in his bed…

As Surya Narayana dozed off… black smoke-like patterns appeared before his closed eyes. And then, he found himself in the portico of an old dilapidated house. He was facing a barren land with strange looking grey objects scattered all over it; his back was towards the huge old door of the broken house.

Right at that moment, suddenly… a white ugly female face with huge dirty green cracks all over, appeared on his left side and opened its mouth three meters wide, mouthing a loud blood cuddling scream startling him! As the jolt shook him out of sleep, a totally dazed Surya Narayana opened his eyes and looked around… all he could see were a few human beings, trying hard to sleep in a dark dirty district bus. Smiling at himself for getting startled at a stupid dream… he closed his eyes slowly and the black smoke-like patterns re-appeared on his mind’s celluloid…

He found himself again, in the same place… sitting on the same porch, his back to the old house. The moor that lay in front was darker and gloomier this time over, he felt. As a strange pungent odor reached his nostrils, suddenly, the same white ugly female face with huge dirty green cracks all over reappeared this time to his right side.

Before he could turn his head to look at the apparition, the same chilling shriek shook his nerves jolting him out of sleep... yet again. And then... the same old bus and the boring snoring from different corners of it brought him back to reality.

He felt anger welling up in his gut… ‘The damn spook… what’s her problem in life… errr… rather death?’ he thought. He pulled out his mobile phone from his pocket and plugged in his earphones, feeling certain that this time, sleep wouldn’t venture near him… but he was wrong! As he was about to touch the shuffle option on his mobile, his eyes started feeling heavy. And the next moment, he passed out… into the depths of velvety darkness.

Now, he was on the same porch, waiting for the wretched face to re-appear… Sure as death, there it was! Suddenly, straight into his face, this time! A truly horrible sight, she was… But as she began opening her mouth wide again, Surya Narayana’s eyes met her cruel red & yellow eyes! And precisely at that moment…

Surya moved with lightning speed. Before she could scream, Surya slapped her hard across her face… and he screamed out loud at her stunned face! In a jiffy, he was back in the bus… rocking to the tunes of bad roads…

Surya laughed out aloud, adjusted himself in his seat and hit the shuffle option. The bloody ghost must have woken up with a jolt, thought he.

The scream in his dream must have escaped his lips. Because the sleepy driver bent backwards and turned to look if something was wrong, only to be greeted with twelve snoring human beings plus one who was about to start snoring. He shrugged and went back to his position mumbling something to himself.

As Surya’s favorite old Bollywood numbers played on in his ears… the bus moved on without haste on the gloomy road…

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

It was a chilly morning in the Himalayas.

The Rudranath Temple was built in the times of Ramayana… informs the lore. According to some learned researchers, Ramayana, the story of Lord Rama, happened at-least sixteen hundred thousand years ago. Some say that the Ram Sethu Bridge, said to be built during the times of Ramayana is exactly that old. So, there is reason to believe that this story is factual. The locals say that Lord Rama himself installed the Shiva Lingam, the symbol of the deity that devotees pray to, in this temple. And so, one could safely believe, that this place has been a witness to the most profound things that happened on this land since a very long time.

This temple was engineered in such a way that its energy field interacts with the personal vibration of human beings who come into to contact with it. Everybody who visits the temple and stays for a while, witnesses little miracles happen in their lives. 

As one progresses towards the Rudranath Temple, which is located at a height of 3,450 feet above sea level, one cannot help but witness the most serene of Ashrams located in the vicinity of the temple. This Ashram belongs to a popular sage who goes by the name of Shri Kalbhairav Baba. They say that Shri Kalbhairav Baba is at least three centuries old. He is said to be a liberated soul and is associated with incredibly weird stories of magic that the locals and lore swear by.

Many years ago, on a chilly winter morning, the ‘Ashram’ of Shri Kalbhairav Baba was very silent and sad. That was because Baba had declared that it was time for him to leave his body and it would be that very day.

Mr Subba Rao and his wife Sharada Devi strolled out of the sanctum of the Rudranath Temple. They had just finished the pooja in the temple. Temperatures at the Himalayas dropped below degrees of endurance that morning and the couple had already caught severe cold. Mr Subba Rao blew his nose into his wet handkerchief and started walking down the road to his cab.

At this very moment, the strange life of Subba Rao was about to take the strangest of turns!

Walking at his side, Sharada Devi sneezed hard. This sneeze, actually, changed their lives forever and the life of someone very dear to them as well! This someone was yet to be born, though.

In order to understand what happened here, you need to know about something called the ‘tumblero fobia’. No, you would not find it as part of the maddening jargon of bulky medical tomes. This decease, is the ancestral legacy of the Sharma dynasty… well, ok… the Sharma family that Mr Subba Rao belonged to.

Back in olden days, say, about ten generations back, the great great-great-great grandfather of Mr Subba Rao got his hand stuck in a brass tumbler that had a narrow opening. He suffered the unrelenting tumbler for a year; no one could pull his hand out of the tumbler. One day, the part that was stuck inside the brass tumbler fell ill. Finally, the doctors had to amputate his hand to separate the grandfather from this tumbler. Soon, for some strange reason, the old man had breathed his last.

This created so much fear in his family that everybody started fearing brass tumblers… and tumblers in general. From then on, all and sundry in the family have ‘the fear for tumblers’ etched in their DNA. They fear tumblers; they do not use the services of any tumbler of any make or shape. Well, that was pretty much it… the ‘tumblero fobia’.

Coming back to the sneezing Sharada Devi, her sneeze was so very loud that it startled the stars out of a poor pilgrim who was drinking water from a… brass tumbler! The guy was so startled, that the tumbler slipped off his hand, fell on the road and started rolling down the slope. Unfortunately or fortunately for him, Mr Subba Rao was right in the path of the oncoming tumbler missile.

The moment he heard the sound of the rolling object, Mr Subba Rao turned back, looked at it, got flabbergasted as the realization dawned on him that death was rolling towards him with ‘trring tic tickang trring’ kinds of sounds.

Mr Subba Rao started running down the path with unimaginable speed, or so he thought. The rumbling tumbler, showing no remorse, growled rolling downhill in attack, as the frightened-to-death ‘tumblero fobia’ patient ran, gasping for air.

Shri Kalbhairav Baba was a very healthy human being with a great sense of humor. He was perfectly alright till just an hour ago and the disciples started thinking that it was just another one of the Guru’s practical jokes and that he would after all, not die that day. He did not seem like one who would die soon... from any angle or perspective.

But suddenly an hour ago, he fell terribly ill. As he lay on his bed now, barely breathing… and almost in a state of coma… all his disciples gathered around him with heavy hearts. Along with heavy hearts, they also nursed a secret excitement! And that had a reason. When he informed that he would be leaving his body this day, Baba also declared that he would open his eyes just for one last time at the fag end of his time. And when we would, he would gift one particular ‘power’ to the person on whom his sight would land. And so each of the disciples waited for him to open his eyes and prayed secretly that his gaze should fall upon him.

Meanwhile, the running Mr Subba Rao stumbled and fell down. And then the inevitable happened; the ruthless tumbler rolled on and pounced on him. As he froze in fear staring at it, the terrible the tumbler hit his head! Wide eyed… a heart-wrenching scream escaped his lips “Aaaaaaaaaa”…

At this exact moment, Shri Kalbhairav Baba groaned in pain, rolled to his left side and opened his eyes! As he did so, through the main door of the ashram, Baba saw the screaming Subba Rao on the road! Weakly, he signaled to one of his disciples. The disciple immediately fetched Mr Subba Rao and stood him in the presence of the Master.

“Oy, Subba Rao…” said Shri Kalbhairav Baba “come closer, man”.

“Baba! How do you know my name?” said a stunned and still dizzy Subba Rao who had a fresh bump on his forehead.

Baba gave a pleasant smile and said, “I also know about your ‘tumblero fobia’ but no need to worry about that. You just keep silent; there’s absolutely no time to waste.”

Saying that, he instantly placed his right hand’s thumb between Subba Rao’s eyebrows and closed his eyes. As he did so, a bright yellow light left the thumb and entered the forehead of Mr Subba Rao. A hundred and odd number of disciples witnessed this in awe. When he finished doing this, Shri Kalbhairav Baba whispered a secret and a secret mantra into the Mr Subba Rao’s ear. The moment he so, Baba’s hands fell limp and lifeless on the bed.

The disciples shouted “Har Har Maha Dev” in unison.

Subba Rao looked on in astonishment... trying to assimilate what just happened…

 

 

Book 1

 

Chapter 1

 

 

It was the third day after mid-August.

The country was celebrating Lord Sri Krishna’s birthday. The Bank Street that formed the central part of the city was filled with more pedestrians than vehicles that evening. Twilight had a strange feel to it. There was a huge temple that was devoted to Lord Sri Krishna and his beloved Radha, located on the eastern end of the Bank Street. Most of the pedestrians were people who intended to go to the temple on the auspicious occasion, or those returning from the temple.

Surya Narayana was taller than the average men in this part of the country. He was well built and had a handsome face that radiated innocence. But if one steadily looked into his eyes, the unmistakable charm of naughtiness would be more than evident in a flash.

Surya was walking home down to a voice-recording studio that was on the other end of the road. His motorbike had been with the mechanic for a monthly service checkup. He enjoyed these walks in the evenings whenever he found time. That day was his birthday too, and he planned to finish his work at the studio as quickly as possible. He was planning to celebrate the day with three beggars he intended to find that night. He would go out with them and have a rich dinner.

People were strolling at a leisurely pace that evening, chatting with each other. There was a festive vibe around with all the shops and banks on the Bank Street were lit up with special colorful serial-bulb lighting. The devotional songs praising Lord Sri Krishna were playing loud on the temple’s speakers and the music was giving the street a serene feel.

Just when Surya was half way through the street, a sudden commotion on the other end where Surya was headed, caught his attention. There seemed to be an accident as everybody heard a loud screech of breaks and a big thud-like sound. Nothing was visible from where Surya was, but everybody started rushing towards the sound.

After a minute of walking quickly along with the accident-enthusiasts, Surya caught the first glimpse of the mishap. A truck that hit the wall of a bank was visible and people there seemed have apprehended the truck driver.

There were a lot of people who were rushing towards the scene but one person was rushing in the opposite direction, right in the middle of the road, exactly in Surya’s line of sight. He seemed to be bleeding; his head had a ghastly injury. Surya felt strange that this injured guy was running in the middle of the road and nobody seemed to notice him or come to his help.

Taking the lead, Surya started running towards the man in distress who was already approaching Surya in a frantic pace. Just as Surya reached him, the injured man halted abruptly... now facing Surya, standing six feet away.

Till that point, that man apparently, hadn’t noticed Surya, as he was engrossed in his sprint, looking desperately in all directions. But the moment he sensed Surya before him, he stopped his marathon and looked straight at him. At this point, the most unexpected of things happened!

Surya looked at the man and the man at Surya. The instant the injured man’s gaze fell on Surya, he let out a frantic cry in utter fright. His fright was so consummate, that he fell down on the road. Surya was startled at the unexpected twist and it took him a couple of seconds to come back to his senses. But by that time, the man in fright dragged himself as far away from Surya as possible and in a jiffy, stood up and ran…

Surya tried to stop him but the guy was swift. He shook his head in disbelief and proceeded towards the place where the accident took place. Surya felt it was strange, that this injured man’s shouting spree attracted no one other than himself. In another minute, Surya reached the spot of the accident.

The mob gathered around the driver of the truck and was probably waiting for the cops to arrive. Surya suddenly felt disinterested in the whole thing. He did not feel like finding out what happened or to stay there and look at the show when cops would take the driver away. So he simply continued his walk towards his studio that was now visible to him…

As Surya Narayana passed the truck, his casual gaze fell upon another group of people who surrounded something on the road. He strained to look at what made these people gather there. From between a couple of heads, Surya could see a figure lying still on the road. In a jiffy, his eyes recognized the man who was lying lifeless in the midst of the crowd.

He was the same man who Surya met a couple of minutes back; the injured man who was running frantically. He was the same man who looked at Surya and screamed like somebody who has just seen a ghost!

And from that minute on, on his thirtieth birthday, Surya Narayana’s life was to take incredible twists… never to be the same again.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

To give a one-phrase introduction to Surya Narayana… one could say he is a specimen of sorts. A peculiar character that fits to be in a museum for the strange mentalities of the world, only if such should exist.

For instance, Surya loved the fresh tomatoes that a vendor was selling on the road on a pushcart one day.

“Forty rupees a kilo” said the vendor.

“Don’t act weird. What do you get for forty rupees these days? I will take them for eighty rupees”, said Surya.

“No way. We have ethics too. I will not take a rupee more than forty,” said the stubborn vendor with folded hands, shaking his head sideways.

“Look, I am a pure vegetarian. If you and people like you are not rendering your services, what will happen to vegetarians like me? We’d starve, wont we? My man, you have to take eighty rupees or get ready for a brawl; I have some colored belts in Kung Fu, for your information…” said Surya Narayana.

The vendor shot the strangest look he could muster and agreed very sadly. For the next two hours, you would not believe what Surya did. He shouted on the streets, walking alongside the vendor and his pushcart… “Tomatoes, tomatoes… Just for forty rupees, only for friends and not foes… tomatoes… tomatoes”…

The vendor tried to shout his line, interrupting Surya a few times. But Surya did not learn how to budge in life. Had he come across it, he would have surely read the book ‘How To Budge In Life’ but unfortunately, nobody seemed to have written any such book. So, the budging thing is out of question for Surya Narayana.

“Relax your vocal chords for a while, my man… this is just so much I could do for my favorite vegetable vendor” he said. After resisting for a while, the vendor relaxed and let Surya do the whole work for him. At the end of the two hours, the vendor was so touched; he wanted to have tears in his eyes. But he read a book called “Men Don’t Cry”… so he refrained from sobbing.

 

★                     ★                     ★

 

Surya was a freak, so to say, but sticks to certain principles and values in life… these are collectively called ‘Dharmam’ in India. He was a vegetarian and a voracious reader. But the problem was that he puts all that he reads, into practice right away. How is that a problem? Well, some instances would make things clear.

Surya read in a book, that man grows old and dies only because he ‘believes’ that he will grow old and die. If we do certain things in the reverse, the belief system and the ageing would automatically get reversed. So, Surya put the knowledge instantly into practice. He had devised special wearing glasses that had cute little rearview mirrors attached to their sides. Wearing these glasses, he jogs for three kilometers every day, in the reverse… running backwards. If all are running forward and getting old, then running backwards will start decreasing his age! Now, that is logic for you.

According to a survey, he read, human relations have gone to the dogs, more so in the metros of India. Unlike in the olden days, no one knows the name of his immediate neighbor. So, he puts his mind to use. Everyone in his locality should know that he exists and should remember him by his name. So, every Sunday, he places a chair on a busy footpath in his locality, stands up on it and starts reading the newspaper aloud. This activity made him quite popular, actually.

Surya read somewhere that variety is the spice of life. He so devised some strange things to keep his ‘spice’ alive in life. One of these clever devises is that he brings home four animals per month and feeds them.

Once, he brought a monkey home. He cordially invited the monkey into his abode through the main door. Then he started talking to the surprisingly stable monkey.

“Please sit down. They say that the guest is God, in our country. So I have invented this ‘four animals per month, to be happily fed’ scheme. As part of this scheme, sir, you are my guest today. Ahm… are you a ‘sir’ or a ‘ma’am’? I am no expert but let’s stick with sir, you look like one to me…”

The monkey jumped up and sat on the wooden cupboard. It started meddling with the big suitcase on it. 

After feeding him with delicious food while he fanned him with a hand held plastic fan in traditional Indian style, Surya sat the monkey on his back and showed the ape around his home. He introduced his parents, who were now just pictures on the wall. “Sir Monkey, this is Subba Rao, my father. And that is Sharada Devi, my mother. They are no more. I live alone, here”, he said.

“And I keep earning some money here and there,” he continued looking at the monkey, “And you see, I would want to be a magnum opus film director of blockbuster movies one day.”

The monkey slapped hard on Surya’s head! “Hey, you are a naughty guy, you know that?” said Surya. And the monkey caressed Surya’s cheek and patted his head with tenderness and affection before he jumped out of the window… That, was by far the most loving gesture Surya had ever experienced in his life after his parents passed away in his childhood.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

It was dark… pitch dark. Surya’s eyes were glowing in electric blue color…

As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Surya could see a faint resemblance to something like a corridor before him. The corridor was dark and lit by only something he did not comprehend. The weak source of light was perhaps his own aura, he thought as he advanced into the corridor. As he walked forward he began to see a form of something huge on the other end of the corridor. It was glowing in a dim crimson color. A moment passed, and he came closer to it. It was a huge crimson mahogany door with strange carvings depicting stranger symbols and some ancient language on it.

Surya was now running towards it… as fast as he could… suddenly, as if in a hurry… Surya knew that he had to act in urgency but was not able to pin point exactly why. He suddenly came to a halt. At about a fifty paces from him, was this huge door; it looked bigger than when he saw it from afar and looked more majestic than when his eyes first fell on it. There was something on the other side... he was feeling an uneasy urge to open the door… and then it happened…

Out of nowhere, a grotesque figure appeared before him! It was so evil, that all that is evil on this planet would seem like Mother Teresa, if you put them next to this sinister figure. Yet it was only a feeling. The actual figure or its form was not clearly visible! And at that moment, Surya lifted his hand and pointed his index finger at it, and said… “You! You are…”

Surya woke up from the dream.

Though his heart was racing, he only had a sense of deep emotion and nothing that could qualify for fear. Drenched in perspiration, he sat up and looked around him and saw himself alone juxtaposed to the blue bed lamp in his bedroom… ‘Damn dream! How many times would you repeat?’ thought Surya Narayana.

The dream was disturbing but it had a strange effect on him. For a moment, he felt like it was a calling of some kind. He felt the same surge of excitement and a sense of ‘I have to finish the task’ kind of adrenalin rush.

He got up from his bed and drank some water. Coming back from the kitchen, he did not go straight to bed. He decided to stand at the window… where his mother used to feed him, while they looked at people on the street beyond it.

The time was half past two in the night and Surya was intrigued seeing a couple of people walking across the street at that hour. The two people, a man and a woman, were strolling on the street only until Surya’s gaze fell on them. The moment Surya appeared in the window, the two figures covered their faces with their palms and started walking hurriedly.

Surya kept looking at them with suspicion. But before they turned the street’s corner, their forms became blurred and the next moment, they disappeared! Surya stared in surprise.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Surya Narayana had no family and no close mates to hang out with.

Not because no one ‘vibes’ with him but because he simply loves to keep to himself. He earned his living in varied ways. In the mornings, he worked with a popular FM Radio station called Radio Baba. Soon after he was done with the live breakfast show, he rushed to an Advertising Agency called the Money Monks Media. He was an Ad Film director there.

And in the evenings, after the office hours, Surya was at popular movie dubbing theatres, lending his voice to characters in feature films. His career as a dubbing artist was on the rise, though he still waited for a break. A ‘break’ would typically mean dubbing his voice to the ‘hero’ of a film.

On one sunny Monday morning, being late to office, Surya rushed into the elevator and into the office area of Money Monks Media. As he entered the premises, the setting took him by surprise. Everybody was standing in groups and there were a lot of whispering and serious expressions.

All heads turned as he entered. He gave a stylish smile with a wave of his hand, as if a super star had given his first entry in a super hit film. His subjects looked at him with concealed expressions… Moving swiftly with the gait of a cowboy about to pull his gun out, he accosted Seenu, the attender.

“What’s up, Seenu? Did the owner die? Why is everybody so happy today?” asked Surya in a low yet stylish tone, adding a chuckle at the end. Seenu shot a sharp look at Surya. “No one died. The general manager got fired. A new general manager has just taken his place and addressed the staff… and you were not here,” said Seenu.

At that very moment, head popped out of the partially opened general manager’s cabin door and it shouted, “Did that guy Surya Narayana come to office, yet?”…

“Sir, I am here…” yelled Surya back, waving his hand but not trying to move an inch from where he stood.

“You’re here? Good. Come, the new general manager wants to meet you” said the senior manager in a dubious tone… then he eased himself into the cabin and let the door shut.

As Surya opened the door to the general manager’s cabin, his eyes fell on an attractive forty five-ish female sporting expensive wire frame glasses. Surya whistled enthusiastically, glancing at the seated lady as she glanced up at the guy entering her cabin.

‘Oh, who said life sucks? Life is beautiful, man!’ he thought to himself.

“Are you Surya?” asked the lady, shooting a stern look through her thick glasses.

“Yes ma’am. All yours, every inch and millimeter” he said in a husky voice… narrowing his eyes...

“Excuse me?” said the general manager with I-am-a-no-nonsense-kind, dude-keep-all-your-9-holes-shut-when-you-are-with-me kind of a frown.

“I just meant that I am the one who you are so desperate about… I mean, I am the one who you wanted to connect with…” he said, throwing as much attitude as he could…

“Okay. Let me make myself clear. The next time you answer to anything I ask, please be simple and straight… you feeling me?” she said, trying to stab him with her eyes.

“Oh no, I am not feeling you, you mean with my eyes? Oh not at all… please… And ma’am, be assured I am a simple man and I swear that I had been straight all my life.”

“Shut…”

“Up… Cool… Got it…” said Surya.

“Do you know the reason your boss was fired?” asked the new one.

“Oooohhooo”

“What?”

“I was just trying to tell you that I do not know, in the most simple and straight way I could… Didn’t work out, did it? Oooohhooo! Come on, that’s no answer at all…” said Surya, who was still standing while the lady ignored his wit…

The senior manager, who called Surya Narayana in, a moment ago, left the cabin, excusing himself. The general manager gestured Surya to sit down.

“Look at this,” said the lady in wire rimmed glasses, adjusting her laptop to an angle that would make the screen visible to both of them. Finished versions of three television commercials started playing one after the other…

Ad 1: The scene opened in a bedroom with flower decorations. The just married couple was sitting adorning spotless white costumes. Incense sticks burning, savories and fruits on the table for ambience…

The man takes the bride’s hand in his hand. The bride moans and sighs tilting her chin up at a 45° angle with half closed eyes. The man lifts her hand to his lips and then to his nose and smells it.

Now, was the turn of the guy to lift his chin up at a 45°angle and sigh. He looks at her and asks, “Aaah…! What Ghee (clarified butter) did you use for cooking?”…

“Mmmm… Its Moo-some Brand Cow Ghee” she answered adding another moan.

Voiceover: Moo-some Brand Cow Ghee! A taste that raises your… feelings!

Surya was staring at it, spell bound. He turned to the lady and gave an Olympic winner’s expression but the boss was stoic. Socrates would have had the same expression when his wife poured hot water or milk, or whatever it was, on him. Then, the second ad started playing.

Ad 2: The opening shot revealed a dining table in a middle class house in India. Seated on it was a lean kid eating from a bowl of hot noodles placed before him.

Even before he finished the noodles, he cries out…

“Mummy, I want more…”

Mom gets more noodles and serves it in the bowl.

In a flash, the bowl is empty and the kid yells out again “Mummy, I want more…”

The exhausted mother brings more… and in a moment, the bowl is empty again… and again “Mummy, I want more…”

The lady was perspiring, running from kitchen to table, serving again and again. She is tripping and falling down and picking herself up while she responded to more of “Mummy, I want more”...

And in the end, she was crawling on fours, with a bowl of noodles in one hand… There was a counter that counted the number of times the poor mother is bringing a serving to the kid…

When the number reached twenty-one a Voiceover boomed…

Voiceover: Stop! (The mother stops crawling and looks at the camera in astonishment). For kids who look lean but hog like pigs! Presenting Ping Pong Noodles’ Triple Pack just for ten rupees!

A huge triple pack of Ping Pong Noodles appears on the screen. Next seen… is the kid hogging on the noodles… faints trying to finish them.

Surya Narayana was thoroughly enjoying the videos. “Incredible” he muttered under his breath shaking his head in dismay. The new boss was still looking at the screen forgetting to breathe, when the third television commercial appeared on the laptop screen.

Ad 3: It was a huge duplex house’s interior where a too well dressed daughter-in-law was having a face-off with her too-gaudily-dressed mother-in-law.

“How dare you disobey me? I asked you not to go there and you have the guts to go? You insolent woman…” said the MIL (mother-in-law) and up went her hand to give a tight slap across the DIL’s face…

The DIL (daughter-in-law) was, meanwhile; just too cool… she was chewing on something like a cow. She raised her hand… and then opened her palm.

The music director was having a field day and used a hundred violins creating a ruckus with his sound effects…

Suddenly, the expression of the MIL changed completely and she took a 180° turn. The Mother-in-law turned on the most pleasant of expressions, and says “You, naughty woman! I asked you not to go there and you have the guts to go? Bitch!” all with a thousand volt smile. 

The camera at this point, panned to the DIL’s palm. And the palm was shown in three repeat shots.

The palm has ‘Bumble Bee’ written across it!

Voiceover: Bumble Bee Mint Chocolate…The Chocolate-for a positive attitude.

Surya was so happy watching the ads that he started putting his fingers in his mouth to give out a rustic whistle sound… but the lady boss’s expressions made him decide against it. 

“You call these ads? You should be put in a mental asylum! You made these ads and that fellow, your ex-general manager, sent them to the clients. I don’t think that idiot even watched these before sending them. Poor people, those clients… One went into a clinical depression, another fainted, and the third tried to hang himself. See, what you have done, you b…” the new GM started screaming…

“See ma’am, geniuses think ten years ahead. If this were a foreign country, our ads would have been a super hit. Why don’t you let the audience grow? Why can’t you respect the their intelligence for a change? Grow up, ma’am! If you can’t understand the genius behind my work, would that be my fault? And yeah, I wanted to ask you… you talked about the client who fainted… which one was he? The Moo-some Brand’s owner, yeah?”

From a serious emotional drama, Surya’s response ended in an inquisitive smile while his went up and down in a rhythm.

“Shut up!!!” yelled the general manager.

“Okay… let me calm myself… Look Surya, you think you have truckloads of creativity, right? Then go… go to the Chinkaalam jungles and shoot the detergent soap commercial. The concept and script are already written by Sunny and are approved. You will not have any say there… put all your genius into shooting the ad. Go,” the lady said and tried to take deep breaths to control her blood pressure.

“Oh, that’s nothing ma’am. Sure do. Will go… not a problem” said Surya, standing up as if he just received a bonus.

“Go, dillweed, go… heard that place is haunted big time. I pray one ugly ghost eats you alive… Go…” the new boss muttered under her breath in frustration.

As Surya started towards the door, the new GM switched on the television. On the screen appeared a song that had a ‘theenmaar’ rhythm. A ‘theenmaar’ rhythm is three beat rhythm used to compose the majority of Indian mass/rustic songs that are used by people for hard-core gyrating dance movements.

The moment the ‘theenmaar’ started, Surya started dancing like a thousand ants rushed into his pants.

The general manager was startled and embarrassed and flabbergasted; and all of them together.

“Stop it!” was the only response she could muster in her shock.

“No use, ma’am” said Surya, still dancing vigorously “two weaknesses were passed on from my ancestors through generations. The tumblero fobia and the ‘theenmaar’ dance mania. If you won’t stop that, I can’t stop this”…

 

 

 

 

Chapter 5

 

Exactly a week after his birthday, Surya Narayana had the recurring dream, yet again.

There was no change. Surya’s eyes were glowing in electric blue color. The huge red mahogany door with strange carvings was still as bewildering as it was. Surya was running towards it with a purpose… a purpose that was not clear in the dream. And suddenly he stopped in his tracks as a grotesque figure appeared between the door and him.

It was so evil that Surya moved restlessly in his bed when it appeared. The actual figure or its form was not clearly visible, though. And at that moment, Surya lifted his hand and pointed his index finger at it, and said… “You! You are…”

Surya Narayana woke up with a start.  

 

 

 

 

Chapter 6

 

The next morning, Surya signed off his show on FM Radio Baba and went to the ad agency.

He went straight to the general manager’s cabin and knocked. Before there was any answer, he pushed the door open and slipped in. The GM was listening to music from a set of expensive speakers fitted high on the walls behind her desk. No, it was not a ‘theenmaar’, thankfully.

The moment he stepped in, Surya shouted in an overtly exaggerated excitement

“Ma’am!!! I’ve just got a brilliant idea!!! You’ll go bonkers if you listen to this one!!!”

The poor woman almost fell down from her revolving chair. She was so startled that she was actually embarrassed. Surya gave a smirk that amounted to say, ‘caught ya babe, off guard’… It took a moment for the general manager to come back to herself.

“Haven’t you learnt that you knock on a door before entering?” the lady asked angrily.

“Brilliant ideas, when they knock, some people are never alert,” said Surya, still standing...

Thanks a lot for reading the except from the book.

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