Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Spellbinders: Chapter 17 - The Dungeon

We are a team called The Spellbinders. We are collaborating and writing a story for the Blogadda challenge "Game of Blogs". The team is diverse, and we are having fun interacting with each other creatively. To know about us, join us here.

The team members are Farida Rizwan, Sunita Rajwade, Bhavya, Ankita Singhal, Bushra M, Ryan Fernandes, Kunal Borah, Ritu Lalit, Deepa and me (Ankit Mahato)
The story so far:
Chapter1 – Room No 4
Chapter 2- Table No 4
Chapter 3- If Looks could Kill
Chapter 4- The Flower That Never Bloomed
Chapter 5 – The Elephant Parade
Chapter 6 – Chance Encounters and Changed Plans
Chapter 7 – Relationships
Chapter 8- When Dreams Come True
Chapter 9 – Runaway Brat
Chapter 10 – Where is Roohi ?
Chapter 11 -The Investigation
Chapter 12 -The Backstabber
Chapter 13- Breaking Bad
Chapter 14 - Mixed Feelings
Chapter 15 - Broken Dreams, Sleepless Nights
Chapter 16- Get Shekhar Out On Bail

“Where am I?” Aryan said, his voice groggy. His mouth had a metallic taste and he was thirsty. The voice echoed. Was he drugged?
“Where am I?” the echo said.
It was so dark that he could barely see his shadow. The darkness hid the dimensions of the hallway. It was definitely big as his voice echoed.

“Why is it so damp in here?” he wondered. That echoed too. He must have spoken aloud.
“What am I doing in this dungeon? Is anybody here?” he tried to look around.
There was a movement in the shadows. Something stirred the air.
He was sitting on his knees, holding something in his right hand. It was tightly gripped.
He tried moving his arm, but it was futile. His entire body was stiff as if it was not under his command. The horror petrified him.

He sniffed.
A circle painted in blood enclosed him. He could smell it.
He felt a strange turbulence in air from all directions.
The faint shadows started converging at the circle.
In a few seconds, he was surrounded by hooded creatures.
“You want to sacrifice me? Do it fast!” he said, with false bravado, his stomach fluttering with panic.

Whispers, a strange chant, he could barely make out the words.

“Hail Darkness,
Within you reside,
Cleanse yourself,
Shatter this bond,
And release your shadow.”

Crik.. Crik.. Crik .. There was a sudden jerk in his bones. Aryan’s right hand was now close to his throat. A knife firmly gripped. He was pale. His body was rejecting any impulse conveyed by his brain. He had no motor control. He slit his own throat in one clean stroke and fell forward. His eyes could faintly see the creature hiding under hood in front of him, those brilliant blue eyes.
“Cy…” his voice came in a gurgle as life ebbed away.
“The ritual is now over.”


“Wake up pal.”
“Cyrus!” Aryan said, surprised that he was able to speak.
“Are you alright dude? It doesn’t look you were dreaming of a girl.” Cyrus asked in a worried tone.
“Yeah Nothing. It was just ...” He stopped and looked at Cyrus. His face certainly bore a resemblance to the hooded figure.
“No, it can’t be him. He is my best buddy. I would have known,” he thought and smiled.
“Will you continue your story pal?”
“It was a dark place. A ritual was in progress. A blood sacrifice …. ”
“Where Count Dracula took over your body and killed you. Ha Ha ..” Cyrus interrupted.
“It isn’t funny!”
“It seems you lost too much blood. Hospitals are macabre places with blood in pouches, corpses in cold storage. Do they have zombies walking the hallways?” Cyrus pointed to the blood pouch attached to a drip.

“Sleep, dude. The Count is in Transylvania if he ever lived. Shall we parcel Malik to Transylvania to catch him?””
“Yeah, good idea,” Aryan said with a smile and closed his eyes.
Cyrus left the hospital ward.
“I hope you are not the one .. Cyrus .. I hope so.” Aryan muttered and went back to sleep.


Jennifer was worried. Something was bugging her. She opened her laptop and googled – Shekhar, Cyrus, Tara, Aryan … That was it! She made a note and called her Uncle who lived in Kochi.
“Hello Uncle!”
“Jennifer Mole. How are you?”
“I am fine uncle. I have something important to tell you.”
“Yes Mole, tell me.”
“Not over phone uncle. I have sent you a message. The hash key is SCAT.”
“I will read it beta. Take care.”
Jennifer hung up the phone.
“Urgent .. going to Kochi .. c u soon” - She sent a sms to Cyrus.
As she was checking out of Hotel Tulip Star, she saw someone familiar waiting for her in the hallway.
“Going somewhere ..” Cyrus said.
“Yes. I am going back to Kochi.” – Jennifer picked up her luggage and starting darting out.
There was a sudden jerk in her arm. Something was holding her back.
“I won’t let you go!” – Jennifer looked in his blue eyes. A chill ran through her bones as Cyrus fixed his eyes onto hers.


Malik’s phone beeped.
He read the message, kick started his Bullet and within 15 minutes he was standing in front of Aryan’s apartment. He wondered how he had missed interviewing Aryan when he was investigating Roohi’s case.
He took a skeleton key and jimmied the lock. “Why would Cyrus search this place?” he asked himself.
The house was turned upside down. He entered the study room. There was no computer, TV or any medium of entertainment. Just an old clock with immobile hands hanging on the wall. A couple of chairs were scattered in the room near a table. Bookshelves with some books on them, others thrown on the floor near the shelves. He wore gloves and started picking up the books and reading the titles.

Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of “Brainwashing” in China, The Psychology of Mind Control, An evolutionary psychology perspective on the origin of Dattatreya cult

Not the usual kind of books that a young man reads, thought Malik. He drifted towards the study table. Aryan’s notes and research papers were scattered all over the place. Six copies of the best-seller Mind Freaks by Aryan …. was also kept on it. Malik called his driver. Together both of them gathered all the notes and the books into neat heaps. Malik’s phone beeped but he ignored it. Both the driver and Malik took Aryan’s studies to the car and left.


What happens next?

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Spellbinders: Chapter 7 – Relationships

Team: The Spellbinders

We are a team called The Spellbinders. We are collaborating and writing a story for the Blogadda challenge “Game of Blogs”.
Here are the links to the previous chapters:

Chapter 1 - Room number 4 by Ankita Singhal
Chapter 2 - Table number 4 by Bushra M
Chapter 3 - If Looks Could Kill! by Ryan Fernandes
Chapter 4 - The Flower that Never Bloomed by KunalBorah
Chapter 5 - The Elephant Parade by Sunita Rajwade
Chapter 6 - Chance Encounters and Changed Plans by Bhavya Nandakumar

We were strolling along the edge of the backwaters of the Kovalam beach, a mile long crescent shaped paradise. This white sandy beach offered an endless sight of coconut trees. The atmosphere was sensual and our souls were longing for freedom from conventional restraints.

An old Vizhinjam Lighthouse was eerily standing on a rocky promontory. Its intermittent beams was rendering the beach with an unearthly charm. With this high rock promontory and a calm bay of blue water, this beach paradise created a unique aquarelle on such a moonlit night.

Her long flowing sundress,
Hair floating with the breeze,
Shimmering light falling on her dusky skin,
She was glowing like an angel, or was it like Madam Dracula, considering her taste for black lipstick?

She was not like other women, soft and angelic.  This girl had a bite.  And Cyrus discovered he had a taste for the unconventional.  He wanted to experience the bite. 

Jennifer, his chance meeting with her had been brief and full of promise.  He wanted to explore more.  Would he ever meet her again. 

He stirred restlessly and went back into the dream …

And lingered on the butterfly tattoo on her right arm. He bent down to kiss the arm and she turned, those kohl smudged eyes naughty.  Will she kiss me, he thought.  She smiled and bent her face, her expression giddy, mischievous, and seductive all at the same time.

Oh my God, I am in love ...

“Bhaiya, Uthiye!”
“Wake up Cyrus Bhaiya! Our plane has landed.”
Cyrus woke up with a start.  Little Roohi was standing on his lap.

“Roohi get down now. The plane is about to land in Mumbai, buckle your seat belt beta.” – Tara grabbed the little girl, gave her a hug, holding her close to her heart. She was still scared, protective, the momentary pang of nearly losing her daughter fresh on her mind. She would never let it happen again.

Roohi held Cyrus’ hand while they were checking out of the airport. She felt that finally she’d found an elder brother to look after her, to give her company.

“Cyrus, why don’t you come to our place? I’ll introduce you to my husband and we can have dinner together.” asked Tara.
 “Sorry Ma’am, but I have to attend a wedding tonight otherwise my dad would be furious.”
Tara shivered thinking about Darius.
She was tempted for a moment to tell Cyrus about the bond they shared.
She shook her head.  No. Not yet.  May be never.

“Here’s my card. I’ll come and meet you, li’l champ, someday.” Cyrus handed over his card to Roohi who tucked it safely in the little purse she carried.

He smiled as he saw the careful way she put the card away.  He ruffled her curls and said, “Okay. Now I have to leave. My driver is waiting. See ya. Bye.”

Tara gave him a tight hug. “Thank you for saving my daughter’s life. She is the most precious thing I have got.”
“Maam, you are lucky to have a loving family.”
Cyrus bid farewell and walked away, wearing his earplugs.
Tara smiled.  One day Roohi would be older and she would do the same.  She stood there watching him walk towards the exit until he got lost in the crowd.

Someone tapped her shoulder.
She turned.
“Shekhar!” Tara turned pale.  She was surprised to see him at the airport.  He normally forgot to pick her up.

Shekhar had a furious look in his eyes. Tara, completely unaware that she was the cause of his annoyance began to tell him about the entire event.  “You know in Jaipur this young man …”

“Just stop it Tara. Enough is enough.” He shouted at the top of his voice uncaring about the scene he was creating.  “At least you should have been careful not to carry on in Roohi’s presence.”

The fight lasted all the way home.  Once they reached the flat, Tara walked into the bedroom and locked the door.  Shekhar sat down at the desk and stared at the computer.
Roohi stared at the locked door and then at Shekhar’s face, grim in the light which the computer screen emitted. 

Roohi sadly went into her tiny room and curled up in bed.  She hated to be back home.  No one loved her.  Maybe she was the cause of all that fight. 
She loved her parents.  Maybe if she went away, they would be happy.
Maybe …


Cyrus went home unaware of the strife his presence had caused in Tara’s family.  They had a beachfront property, nothing but the best for his father.  The huge house was empty.  He was used to being alone, that did not bother him.  He went to his room where the card stood prominently on the table, with a short note from his father, “9 pm, in your best suit.  Don’t be late.  My secretary will send you the gift.”

Yes Boss, he thought with a wry smile.

The Bawa family seemed to be important to his dad, he briefly wondered why.  Then he dismissed the thought.   He did not want to know.  It was best not to know, that way he could live his life without getting involved in DD’s plans.

He got into bed and slept.

Consequently he reached the wedding around 10 pm.  The party was in full swing.  The hall was tastefully decorated.  The tables laden with food and waiters were circling around, with trays of alcohol.

He walked to the stage, handed over the gift and picked up a glass of white wine and found himself a chair at an empty table.  Normally he timed his presence well.  Two glasses of wine, a small snack, three photos for the wedding album and he could leave.

He took a sip and was pleasantly surprised.  The wine was excellent, just the right degree of coolness and it was dry.  The way he liked his wine.  May be he could stay for a third glass.  In a slightly better frame of mind he looked up and saw svelte figure drawing close to him.

“Hi” – she said softly.
He looked up. He could not recognize the woman but the eyes seemed familiar.
“Yes?” he said.
“We met at Kochi,” she said with a smile.
The smile was very familiar.
“Jenny!  Jenny with the black dry blood lips!  Jenny the vampire girl,” he said with a laugh.
“I don’t have fangs,” she said, with a chuckle.
“They would look good on you,” he said.  His evening had just gone from boring to excellent.

To know more about all the authors of this story and for suggestions, Join us here

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at
#CelebrateBlogging with us.  

TEAM MEMBERS – Ritu LalitFarida Rizwan, Ryan FernandesBhavya Nandakumar, Ankita SinghalBushra MKunal BorahAnkit MahatoDeepa Dutta & Sunita Rajwade

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Kalpana-1 is the first dedicated meteorological satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organization using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on 2002-09-12. Originally known as MetSat-1, the satellite was the first launched by the PSLV into the Geostationary orbit. On February 5, 2003 it was renamed to Kalpana-1 by the Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in memory of Kalpana Chawla—a NASA astronaut who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

The satellite features a Very High Resolution scanning Radiometer (VHRR), for three-band images (visible, infrared and thermal infrared) with a resolution of 2 x 2 km, and a Data Relay Transponder (DRT) payload to provide data to weather terrestrial platforms. Its mission is to collect data in layer of clouds, water vapor and temperature of the atmosphere.

I made this GIF of half-hourly data using the images procured from the website of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. 

Text Source : Wikipedia