The final episode.

It was a busy Friday afternoon, sure the weather wasn’t exactly warm but the winter sun still shines somewhat bright. The studio area was buzzing with crews, personnels and executives, all of them barking details over intercoms. The cacophony of this chatter was the root of the symphonies that aired every night, filling time slots, flowing out of television sets and dyeing the mundane life of run of the mill people with amusement. Years and years passed, the telly industry still tries to outsmart the audience using the idiot box. In a well lit and furnished makeup room Ed Greene, the showrunner of “The Late Night Show”, slouched over his recliner. The show had smashed record viewership figures and dominated all the demos for an era but now that era was waning. Ed sat, combing his thin, newly grown mustache with his frail fingers, waiting for his routine latte before the show. Staring at the pictures and awards that hung over his wall, Ed sat pondering about his contract with the network, the contract that would decide the fate of his show. He knew he’d have to smash it out of the park if he wanted to clasp the big money contract. He had smashed it out of the park many times before but it isn’t the same anymore. Ed’s letterbox which was filled with fan mail a couple of years back was now filled with reports from the network about dwindling ratings and complaints embarrassing the interviews and skits he performed by declaring them out of touch. Maybe he failed to click with the newer, younger stars or perhaps he was too out of touch with the common audience who used to cement themselves before their TV screens during his show timings. A thought consumed Ed was interrupted by Kris, Ed’s manager, assistant and real life sidekick. If Ed was the showrunner, Kris was the guy who made sure Ed could run smoothly. Kris came in the room with the coffee mug, handed it to Ed and gasped. He asked Ed,” What’s with the stache boss? You auditioning for some movie after shooting or something”. Ed moved two fingers across his curled up forehead and said in a dejected tone, “ I think the new look will be the talk of the tinseltown, who knows it might bump the ratings for the next two episodes”.  Kris waved his hand disapprovingly and said,“ Nah boss, we don’t do this kinda vanity very well. I’d suggest, get it shaven and we’ll be rolling in 15, so get ready for it”. Ed rubbed his knuckles and gave Kris a heavy hearted look, both of them knew that Ed had lost his magic and the show lined up could very easily be the generic crap they had been doing for quite sometime now. Kris said with a smug look,” Boss we got Linda Carter this evening, she’s the new face of the Mcnulty Movies. People will be tuning in, all you gotta do is the trademark Ed Greene straight shooting and smooth talking”. Ed sipped his coffee and murmured,”The trademarks haven’t been working for a while now, Kris, have they?”. Kris replied in a protesting tone,” C’mon boss, You’re the King of late night talk show hosts, what is the channel gonna do if ya think about leaving them huh?”. Ed spoke in a dry tone,” We ain’t got the network locked up like the old time, pal. Tell’em I’ll be on the stage in five”. Kris left Ed who was finishing his coffee while dangling in his chair. The cameras rolled and the spotlight was on Ed, he tried to light the screen with his charm and launched all the witty comebacks he got from his script writers. The curtain fell and Ed returned back to his makeup room. Kris came tip toeing and raised his thumb to Ed, claiming,” Boss, it was straight fire. I told you long live the king. Alright I got ourselves the evening snack” Ed asked Kris with a disinterested voice,” Do you think we’ll get renewed contracts after current one’s expire?”. Kris answered with a stuffed mouth, “Of course Boss, honestly all you gotta do is fill the next two episodes and then we can ask for sometime off the air. Maybe you can take a vacation and refreshen the mood. Then we’ll be back on the public’s screen jumping up and down”.  Ed responded,”Yeah, maybe absence will make their heart grow fonder”. Ed opened his culinary parcel and globules of taste laden curry fell on his bespoke suit. Ed Greene sat in his recliner with a curry tinged suit on and an inconvenienced look while Kris sat opposite to him trying to hide his instinctive smile. Ed asked Kris to go and fetch him some clothes from the props department. Kris returned moments later with a scarf , an overcoat, a cap and pair of trousers. Ed was amused by the total mismatched wardrobe collection Kris was handing him. He went to the changing room and appeared in his new clothes, looking like everyday joe, a face in the crowd rather than the famous Ed Greene. Kris remarked,” Boss, that’s how you gonna dress, if the network doesn’t offer the contract” and started chuckling. Ed spoke in a rebutting tone,” Kris, if I dress in these garments , you better get ready for the rags and tatters” and laughed it off. Kris in a recalling tone mentioned,” Boss, remember we planned on this skit, one day you can put on a disguise and interview common folk and then freak them out by revealing yourself”. Ed smirked,”Good old days, Kris. Hey wait a minute! We can parody that skit on the next episode. Inform my driver that I’ll be taking the bus to my apartments today, like a common man, working hard with his hands”. Kris laughed and complied with Ed’s instructions. This was gonna be a new adventure for Ed, stepping foot amidst his crew and his viewers. Wrapping the muffler around his ears and face, Ed walked towards the bus station at the edge of studios. He was jittering yet excited for this minuscule prank he would be playing on absolute strangers. He felt late evening winter gusts running across him and little drizzle, wetting the shoulder pads of his newly acquired second hand overcoat. A bus came to the stop and Ed boarded it. As he was about to sit beside the window, a husky yet feminine voice asked him,” Mister can I sit by the window if you don’t mind”. Ed turned and saw a scruffy short heighted lady, in her later sixties or early seventies standing there. Very politely Ed replied,”By all means madam, be my guest”. She sat on the seat and thanked Ed. Ed tried to start a small talk by saying,” Madam you’re a tourist or do you work at these studios”. The old lady replied,”No mister, neither I was here to meet a few of my old friends, in the diner next to the studio”. Ed said,”The Night Owl Diner used to be a pretty neat place back in it’s day”. Old lady replied,”Yeah, back in our day it used to be up and running, but even now they serve decent donuts and confectionaries”. Ed furthered the conversation by saying,”Is that so, I’ll have one tomorrow at lunch break. I work at “The Late NIght Show”. The old lady exclaimed with a mild amount of excitement,” You work in the ‘Ed Greene Show’. You got some on stage role or what? ”. Ed answered,”Nah Ma’am, I’m just a backstage script writer, complete pencil pushing job nothing on camera”. Lady asked further with more curiosity,”You must have met Mr. Greene at least ? ” Ed replied,” Yeah obviously, I have had the pleasure of meeting him time and again”.

Lady further questioned,” Is he a gentleman backstage or is it a gimmick for TV ?”. Ed replied,” He’s a pretty good guy, not as funny or good as he seems on TV but yeah he’s still a great person. Although he is quite stringent with off days.” Lady exclaimed,”Well he’d let you have an off for anniversaries , funerals etc.” Ed told her,” Never needed an anniversary off, madam. Still looking for the one.” Ed spoke this and smiled sheepishly. This statement rang a bell in Ed’s mind, after around a dozen on screen romances and for the frame flirtations, he never found someone he could actually spend time with. The lady commented,” Get yourself a puppy by the time you find someone suitable, dogs are nice to have around when you’re lonely”.

 The Lady somehow hoped to ask this question,”So is Ed Greene actually the lady’s man or is that on screen only?”. Ed absentmindedly answered,” Don’t know madam, Mr. Greene is pretty quiet about his personal life, the man vanishes after the shows”. The lady seemed to be a chatterbox and Ed seemed to enjoy her company. Both of these merry souls sat discussing and reminiscing their yester years. How the lady met her deceased husband in the Diner or how once in his Starting years Ed was refused for a writing contract payment while he had cancelled a few dates to complete his end. By the time they were finished laughing, Ed realised his stop was next on route. He asked the kind lady,” Madam, I’d like to invite you to the diner, perhaps next saturday at one. We’ll have some of those decent donuts and cups of coffee.” The lady replied,” That’s very nice of you Mister, but I’ll have to politely decline this”. Ed in a gentle voice spoke,” Well no problems, it was lovely chit chatting with you madam”. Ed stepped out of the bus and started to plod towards his residence. He reached his house, unlocked his doors and changed back into his own self. Stripping the garments and the faux identity he had dressed himself in. With a smile he went to his bed and slept. Next day he woke up and called Kris and said,”How’s the morning sunshine” and laughed it off. Kris picked his ringing phone and replied,” I’m doing fine boss, how about you, how did the bus trip go?”. Ed replied,” Nothing special, man. I dozed off half way through. Alright Kris gotta tell you something real important”. Kris with a sincere tone asked,” yeah Boss”. Ed told Kris,” Tell the network executives, we’re discontinuing and the last two episodes can be memorials from past years or something. Tell them that Greene’s real sick and won’t be able to make it.” Kris inquired in a puzzled tone,” Everything alright boss, you doing good?”. Ed replied jovially,” Never been better, old friend, one more thing send me the numbers of a few pet shops. I gotta get myself a dog”. Kris was partly confused, parts happy, his friend Ed had finally snapped out of the gloom and sounded like old days. 

Cults and their Mysteries

Greetings to my readers!

We often suffer in solitude, even though we survive in civilizations. It is an absurd dichotomy, but one cannot deny that most of us crave a sense of belonging. A sense of belonging alleviates the suffering and sparks a metamorphosis of solitude into solidarity. This sense of belonging however natural and instinctive, it may seem leaves an individual vulnerable to the evil that plagues our societies. This blog encircles the enigmatic and horrifying world of cults. While in most cases, I tend to take a high road and provide a disclaimer but this month I’d be inclined to help people question themselves if they feel trapped in such circumstances. 

Most of us have at least a rudimentary understanding of these shady organisations, but to properly paint this canvas, I suppose the definition is a must. Cults are collectives of individuals with a shared commitment to an extreme ideology often headed by a single leader. They are often associated with religion but are not limited to it, they can be fixated around political outlook, philosophy or essentially any subject which can conjure fanaticism. While one might be able to pinpoint the origin of one certain cult, it is virtually implausible to trace the inception point of this concept. At its core, cults are mere groups with certain characteristics tweaked to an extreme or groups with rotten fundamentals. Originally the word, “Cultists” was used to represent religious functionaries and people who maintained religious institutions. Over the years the meaning of this word has contorted and now it describes someone who is blindly devoted to unorthodox organisations. Most of the cults tend to portray themselves as shrouded into mystery but the reality is far from the truth, they have obvious red flags lined along their path of functioning. These features should make them conspicuous to even layman’s naked eye but they are seldom discovered or called out. Certain features that cults exhibit are as follows. Primarily cults look for excessive commitment, almost borderline exploitation. The commitment part is what fuels cults, the blind faith helps the upper management steer the simple minded lower members to any direction desired. Next, cults possess a rigid hierarchy, one that is almost too steep to climb. The hierarchy ensures that the charades and reality are at an equilibrium. Cults are almost at all times looking for potential recruits. A stunning majority of people who get inducted into these places are introduced via a certain acquaintance rather than a complete stranger. The next defining characteristic is that cults often claim to provide a coveted reward to its believers, either in the form of answers to life’s greatest questions or the assurance of a luxurious afterlife. Over the time they tend to influence their subject to such a degree that they showcase near inhuman obedience, almost no resistance to the ideology of the group however grotesque it maybe and a little tolerance for external scrutiny or internal disagreement. But quite literally the crown jewel of these defining features is that Cults are headed by one leader. There are some exceptions but it is a general trend in such organisations. For people who put their trust in such establishments of evil the gospel of truth must spout out of the mouth of this one particular mortal. These individuals who head these hydra like consortiums, one must never underestimate them. They tend to be possessors of undeniable charisma and vicious mean streaks at the same time. These narcissistic individuals can sway the mind of simpletons at the snap of fingers. Their domain is delusions and they can dabble in it pretty well. Once these persuasive people have housed their beliefs in the minds of hapless individuals they often hoard luxuries for themselves. Now these oligarchs, however high and mighty they may be, are in desperate need for followers and minions to pick the cheque for them. Just as the cults have visible characteristics so do their textbook recruitment systems exposit some tell tale signs. 

The first step is to locate a suitable target, cults prey on people who have a weak sense of identity and have hit a rough spot in their life or are struggling. People who are ignorant,gullible, unassertive and lack self confidence ease the process of indoctrination. Second step is to establish agreement from the target for a non threatening event, this can range from attending a meeting, going out for a coffee to discuss their philosophy. The purpose of this is to establish common ground. Step three is to generate positive association with the group, this is accomplished by showering the target with gifts and compliments, akin to seducing them further into the grips of cult. Step four is to showcase the prize of joining, cults will help you discover your own personalised delusion so that you get tempted to join their ranks. Step five is to affirm that you covet the prize, here they will repeatedly put you into predicaments and observe if you fall into the spot where they want you to. Step six is, shutting down dissent by threatening to withhold the reward. The moment they sense even an iota of resistance, they will threaten to shut you out of the league. Step seven is solidifying guilt, the purpose of guilt is to lift the leader to godly levels. Once you are feeling guilty, you lose your ability to disagree with them. Step eight is reinforcing this behaviour, once the cult is certain that you’re perception is moulded in accordance to their agenda they tend to reward and punish you based on your involvement in their deeds, so as to solidify the authority. Step nine, the complete indoctrination, this step concludes targets assimilation into the cult by stripping them of any identity outside the cult. Lack of individuality and more than often times funds and confidence, leaves individuals scarred and perplexed. 

Usually this cycle is broken when cults get busted by law enforcement agencies, which is an eventuality for such travesties, but it is entirely possible for members to vanquish the demons conjured by these cults and return back to sanity. But to vanquish these demons, one needs courage and warmth of some well wishers along with a clear vision. At the miracle moment, when the indoctrination is cleansed out, these hapless individuals are just common people capable and deserving of sympathy and another chance.

Note from Author

For more such articles on various topics, ranging from religion to philosophy visit my blog,” Makin’ Opinion”

https://makinujjwalrocx.wixsite.com/restlessripples

The Gentleman’s Attire : Tuxedos

Fabric that you drape yourself in, is the fabric that introduces you to masses. Importance of attire is often understated by the pragmatic part of society and overemphasized by the vanity worshipers, but in truest sense of all, your garments represent a considerable part of your personality and definitely affect your aura. Whether they set forth certain symbolism or your personal take on fashion, it is undeniable that clothing is an integral part of personality not only in a shallow aesthetic sense but also in a profound psychological way. Clothing deemed to be an intrinsic bit in the ideal image of a Gentleman, something that is idolized and coveted by many. Segueing into another avenue where attire is under spotlight are occasions, once in a lifetime or regular high society public affairs, the apparel you are accoutered in decides whether you are noticed by the right people or another face in the flock. The advent of novel fashion concepts like fusion fashion or Indo westerns and re innovation of ethnic wear, the consumer market might have been polarized but take it from a gentleman, the connoisseur’s choice remains Tuxedos.
Often recognized by a different name “Dinner suit or Dinner Jacket”, it is the standard dress code and a timeless classic wear for formal evening events. The Tux is a black, midnight blue or white two- or three-piece suit, tailored from fine fabrics like satin or grosgrain, with distinguished lustrous lapels and always worn with a white dress shirt. A diverse range of accessories like bowler or homburg hat, the signature black bow tie, glassy cuff links, burnished pocket square and a fancy cummerbund add to the overall impressive impact of a well tailored tux. A fine suit seems ungraceful if it is not accompanied by equally stunning footwear. A hearty quote from Forrest Gump describes the shoe situation aptly,”you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they going, where they been”. Now many gents get perplexed when they are off to buy footwear for a special occasion and minding you there is a stern etiquette that governs gracing a tuxedo. Take another advice from this gentleman, look for either the evergreen oxfords or the fancy pattern laden Brogues. But make sure that the foot wear should be invariably Black. Retreating back to the torso part, lapels are a distinguishing factor in tuxedo’s. This single feature defines and differentiates a tuxedos from regular formal business suits. The nitid lapels denote the celebratory aspect of this majestic garment. There is a wide variety of lapels, often depending on the couture you visit, therefore make sure you try more than a few to discover the one that compliments you the most.
Dress up often brings up a variety of deep seeded emotions to the surface. A considerable number of men do not possess the physique of a Greek God. They are either noticeably slender or pack a few pounds of plump. But tuxedo does not highlight these features of physique, it looks evenly magnificent on all body types.
World is a place of great variety , tuxedo is what makes you stand out in High class events. With this million dollar attire you can very well leave a graceful mark on gathering and impress your special one PS don’t forget a rose or orchid for them.

Judgement

As the sentient species of this world and conceivers of the idea of religion and culture, we are united more by similarities than alienated by differences. Almost all cultures from all around the globe have this idea of a fiery pit where sinners are flailed and purified of their vices. With variety of torture and range of punishments the evil beings here are presented with what they deserve. The atheists, realists, all the practical thinkers who deny this hell and heaven bullshit are almost certain that this nothing more than a gag concocted by the so called virtuous to scare the Heathen’s miserable and to keep the society stable. The judgement day is a hoax created to soothe the good Samaritans and nag the hustlers of society. The mighty are invincible in the world of living and so they remain after their demise. But what if God actually made a sin bin and souls are recyclable goods. Now folks lean back on your sofa and listen carefully to this modern lore of hell and its inhabitants.

The tale opens with an ashen sky and chilly weather which in an unlikely manner compliments the aimless journey of an unfulfilling life. Unfulfilling lives that often take solace in hedonistic acts to fill their neural cavities faux delight. Our protagonist or antagonist depending on what point of view the audience fancy is named Kevin and is the unsatisfied owner of a buzzing club in a posh area. The club fetches Kevin more than enough currency to live a stellar life but Kevin in his hedonistic pursuit looks for those underhand income sources. His secondary income is obtained by being a purveyor of illegal narcs to adults and pretending to be adults alike. But there is no honour among thieves, Kevin has tried to get his extra earnings by swindling multiple suppliers which has often resulted in him being the lynch pin to start turf wars. Everyone has their comeuppance served sometime or other, in one such attempt to swindle multiple parties, Kevin annoyed someone so much that he ended with three bullets in his body. Profusely bleeding in the dirt of his parking lot, Kevin could barely lift a finger and all he could focus was on endless and excruciating pain. Fading to eternal obsidian, Kevin opened his eyes in an enclosed surrounding with a dim source of light. Sitting face to face with a thin old man with spectacles on his face. Kevin was part terrified and parts perplexed, the old man wearing a vintage spectacle and what seemed like an old suit was the source of his terror but why he sure was pale and unsettling but not frightening. somehow Kevin gathered his wits and asked for a glass of water in his raspy voice. The old man replied your mortal needs are no longer required to be fulfilled. You shall be presented with what you’ve sown all your life son. Kevin was able to figure out where he was and without a change of expression accepted what old man  was about to present. In his unsettling voice the frail elderly gentlemen started with Kevin’s complete name , his address , occupation. Then he started counting Kevin’s sins and with each declaration a whip from out of nowhere stung Kevin right on his back. Every detail the old man presented Kevin equated to another whip. After completion the old man said to a petrified Kevin, some deeds that you’ve committed are appreciated here, all those innocent souls you tainted with poison you sell up there, we applaud your efforts to boost our economy. We now have an intresting proposition for you Kevin what would you accept an eternity of torture here and now or being back to earth and rectify your deeds. A tense looking kevin pleaded  to be taken back and  assured to live his life the right way. A coughing Kevin then woke up from post-surgery trauma in a hospital room. After that what Kevin made of his life depended on his free will.             

Stuck in the Elevator

It all started with that stupid project . Presenting a project with a stringent deadline is a bad idea.  A disaster management project with a deadline of two days is a disaster itself . I was together with her in it, just like Adam and Eve, a pair completely unaware of surroundings not to mention one with snakes . It was six in the evening , the loutish professors had left, school was completely silent . It took only few minutes to turn to eerie . A non seasonal rain started to pour , the weather was ominous. Another round of labor and copying fused with her constant plea to God for ending work and my constant sarcasm finally finished a chunk of work we had to share , the last column in to do list was fetch a couple of guide books from library on fourth floor . The only fair means to decide was stone paper scissors ,my luck favored me . She sulkily went , cursing me and her luck which was about to get worse. She climbed staircase step by step, as she went away, I thought about us rather than I and her. Were we supposed to be a couple, I was a short, thick rimmed glasses wearing , nerd and she was cute , bubbly, innocent girl. There was no match between cupcakes and black pepper . In moment of loneliness I texted her.

I –  Did you get them .

She – Package procured.

I – Cadet you have got nothing more than a couple of minutes to return

She – Dude , I’m on fourth floor, shortest way down is jumping right from the balcony.

I – Get down quickly.

She – I’ll use the staff elevator.

I –  Do it at your own risk .

She – Got it.

So now I was expecting her arrival but she didn’t appear , I checked the ping on my phone

She had texted me , the elevator had stuck.

I – congratulations

She – Get here quick , I’m claustrophobic.

I- On my way , btw which floor any idea.

She – third 

I – I wish you said first.

She – Move it , before I cry.

I – Press emergency button

She – I tried everything, stupid.

I – I’m almost there where is elevator supposed to be 

She – Adjacent to the washroom near CS lab

I – Do you hear the thud on door

She – Is that you 

I – Its supposed to be chairman’ s ghost.

She – your really stupid

I – heard that quite few times frankly

She – Get me out .

I – ya , once I get angry enough I’ll turn green and tear the door

She – you could just have referred superman rather than hulk

I – on a serious note , should I call cops 

She – go call watchman

I – Ms. Claustrophobic, you interested in sending me away forever

She – Dont go, don’t go pls

I – lets wait till electricity comes back and lift restarts

She – I got a better idea 

I – No we’re not playing truth and dare.

She – forget it

I – I should forget you maybe

She – if I die you ‘ll be haunted for rest of your life

I – girls never let me go , always sticking by me , even in afterlife

She – look dude, do something I’m getting uncomfortable

I – like what 

She – wait I heard something hitting the roof

I – is it the chairman’s ghost

She – I’m serious, I have started to sob

I – look , don’t worry

She – it’s trying to get in .

I- the metal is too thick.

She- I’ll die ,you go 

I – look if you’re about to die , let me confess something , I love you

She – it’s no time for a joke

I – believe me , I have loved you since the day I saw you

She – stop lying

I – you gotta believe me

She – are you serious

I- damn yes

I- first day when you sat with your friends, wearing a purple hairband . I sat parallel to you.

You never noticed me staring you . I got lost in your beauty. You were incomparable to any beauty I had ever known.

She – you still remember, tell me more

I – before exams when we were first introduced , you helped me with chemistry and I solved few of your maths sums. I did that so , we could have an interaction. First time in life , I felt shy.

She – How many more moments have you kept alive in your heart.

I – almost all.

She – they give me hope share some more.

I- I lost my heart again to you on trip , seeing you open haired and jubilant. Before that I might had a chance of  exit , but now there wasn’t one . The specks of earthy gold sliding across your hair and that scenery, I still live that moment again and again.

She – why did you never confess it earlier

I- I knew you had a crush on someone else

She – so

I – why did you not confess

She – same reason, it’s no use now , I have been locked here for like an hour now.

I – I m not going even if it’s one lifetime.

Suddenly lights switched on , elevators door opened in slow motion  . She came out having marks of tears rolling down her cheeks and hugged me and said we would never part our ways. I separated her from me and told her it was nothing more than a psychological trick to deviate her attention, I meant nothing of it and typing made it more easy  , no facial expressions, no emotions. She cleared her throat and thanked me , we left premises and I dropped her at her residence, we bid farewell.

I could never stand up to my real emotions , masking them with insecurities and hiding insecurities with false confidence. I have no rational explanation for this , these are the moments when line between fiction and reality blurs