Wednesday, August 18, 2021

3D photocopy


A faded pale-blue washing machine was first thing he noticed as he opened the door of his not so small store. It was not in use from past couple of years and was placed close to the door. He came there to create something useful out of the clutter of unused things and to spend his afternoon lazily or somewhat productively. Ahmed viewed the dusty, dingy and gloomy area which had the cluster of items. A wooden bed with a broken leg was standing near the wall, on its one leg a dented bucket and a mouse trap were hanging. Three lamps of different sizes, non functional table fan, his child’s tricycle as he has out grown that age, a medium sized drum which has a hole on its side were lying on the floor. A huge wooden box handed over by her granny as an ancestral furniture was lying in dusts as his wife considered it ‘An old fashioned item’, two card board boxes one above the other were hoarded on it blocked his view to the rest of the room. He took small steps removing cobwebs, moved in between all those precious junk which they have accumulated over the years. He saw an old monitor piled on the CPU, keyboard was slanted on the monitor, a small stool of no use was put upside down on the monitor, a radio whose knob was missing was set in between the rods intersecting its legs, a small metallic container out of which scratched CD and tapes were peeping were positioned on the radio by a skilled person. On the top of pile of old magazines and a few books with two fuse bulbs were set on the radio. He was amazed as well as amused whether all these items could be stalked again in the same manner if removed. His thoughts were distracted by the flattering of a bird on the window. The broken window pane allowed the free movement to the new tenants.


Although he took a few small steps back even then the bird screeched and flew away. Two tiny black spotted balls in the shelf seemed to be the giant obstacles in his plan to create the best out of waste by constructing a rotating fire pit out of the perforated tub of unused washing machine. He planned to give it to his eleven years old beloved wife on the Valentine Day because he didn’t have enough money to buy a pleasant gift from town market. Monetary predicament gave way to creativity! He took out a screw driver from his jeans hip pocket and unscrewed the bolts on all of its sides very slowly without disturbing the unborns. While he slowly lifted the plastic body of the washing machine leaving the tub behind, one of the eggs from the nest slipped into the tub. He removed the cover, stalked it on the cardboard box as it was the only place vacant in the store, took out that egg and placed it back on the not so well knitted twigs. Removing the agitator he noticed one more egg in the tub of the same size, same color and same shape. He put that also back thinking he might have not noticed the falling of the other. To his utmost surprise there was one more egg, a replica! He had to stop placing eggs in the nest as it couldn’t hold more or the bird couldn’t rear more or both. His surprise transformed into confusion as he started filling the dented bucket with spotted eggs.


The perforation of tub converted air energy around to produce a 3D photocopy, an identical copy of object that touched the embossed penny sized bottom. As soon as the object was taken out it produced the replica by changing kinetic energy of air into potential energy of the object by creating thin layers which are joined together to get desired shape and size. The negative charge is generated in the tub which broke inert nitrogen gas molecules of the air to combust hydrogen gas and then rapidly combine with carbon dioxide to form a new compound nitrochyoxide which had a unique property to give the same physical properties like texture, color, shape etc. of the object removed from tub and its by-product nicra that sounds more like a name of cute girl than a chemical compound was utilized to give the desired chemical properties of the object from protein to choline. Not only the outer appearance like color, texture, size, shape but also the inner composition like albumen and egg yolk with each and every minute detail of original work was replicated in 3D photocopying with a light speed hence the  human eyes couldn’t grasp duplicating process.


Unaware of all these chemical reactions happening in the tub but fully aware of his financial problems which were raising their heads like a cobra after he lost his job in recession time as Senior Marketing Head in Kore Moto Corp., a leading company in Auto Sector. All his savings drained out slowly and gradually and he had to take loan to meet his family daily requirements. He was clenched in the strong jaws of not the poverty actually rather credit system of banks offering lucrative offers before taking loan thereafter forcing to pay high interest rates on loans which were almost impossible. In despair of non loan repayment he was disheartened. He came into present when he found there was no space left to place egg in the store. Everywhere in the store on the wooden box, in the huge drum, on the upside down stool, in between the radio knobs, on the pile of magazines and on the space between two bulbs and even on his child’s tricycle seat he had placed the tiny eggs. His head spin on the thought of standing in a huge nest filled with hundreds and hundreds of eggs. He was physically as well as mentally tired. He took a handful of them, walked in the open towards the kitchen, crossing not so big compound of his house. He asked half sadly half confusedly to his wife Nargis to roast them or to toast them.


Although he had a bath in the morning, however to remove dirt and grime that had accumulated on him during his new expedition in the store, he went into the bathroom. Till he cleaned himself, his obedient wife prepared the delicacy. She plated the unshelled boiled eggs on the lettuce leaves, garnished them with a small sized broccoli floret in the centre and finely cut zigzag edged tomato, looking more like a flower on the sides, above it she sprinkled some grinded black pepper and a mixture of canola oil and lemon juice on it to satisfy his eyes as well as his tongue. A good meal to calm appetite along with tensions!


“Beautiful n Delicious!” Ahmed praised her after eating a bite that was too small for his mouth and a smile appeared on Nargis’s face. 

“Like me!” She winked a little to make his man happy.

“No. Not at all.”


“More than you!” This time he winked. Both of them burst into laughter.

No sooner than did he finish all the nutritive islands with trees and flowers on his plate than an idea hit his mind to sell this delicious dish in the Saturday Night Market. There was only six hours left to start. He gave necessary commands to his wife to prepare more salad, boil one bucket of eggs and he went out to make the necessary arrangements for selling the product in the busiest market of the town.   


In less than half an hour from commencing Ahmed’s whole lot was sold out. He rushed back to home, collected more eggs, asked his wife to cook more and to prepare more salad as quickly as possible. He returned to the selling point with the freshly prepared food to earn some more marginal profit from ‘Colorful Islands’ on plate. The couple worked enthusiastically, repeating the process to make their newly invented dish a ‘HIT’. While counting money he felt the utmost fatigue gripping him that have accumulated over the constant working hours i.e. gathering eggs, selling them, collecting money and overall organisation and winding up on closing of the market. Satisfied he placed them in the built in safe, returning towards bed he looked at his wife in red sheer nighty that was sleeping on the other side. Her loose curly hair were falling on her face which was glowing like a full moon behind thin layers of scattered clouds even after all those physical weariness. Her face was as fresh, pure and white as EGG! At this very moment he realised that his tiredness had crossed all boundaries, now he must take rest. He was about to close his eyes then he recalled that today was Valentine Day, needed something special like every year for his wife; this year to construct a rotating fire pit idea had to be dropped in order to obtain 3D photocopy of eggs and the money making thereafter. His mind was so much occupied during the whole day that he forgot what he should not forgot. Now, when he had ample of money to buy gifts for his beloved, he was left with no strength to go to market to purchase some chocolates of her favourite brand or a decent dress for her or just a fire red rose. He came closer to her, removed a curly strand of hair from her forehead and planted a kiss assuring himself that he would buy a decent present for her tomorrow morning.

“Only one!” His wife’s passionate voice astonished him.

“I will buy more gifts for you.” He said which surprised her wife.

“O, you are such a lovable darling!” She locked him in her soft arms and whispered “Actually, I said only one kiss!”

He shocked, she rocked!


Soon, the olden golden washing machine evaporated the financial crisis in his life like the camphor exposed to air. By selling the best quality eggs at the cheapest price; in the town, he became famous as ‘Egg Guy’. He repaid his loans and constructed one study room for his son. One sunny afternoon, while cleaning the tub, the soap slipped from his hands as he lifted the egg to clean that emboss point. Soap hit 3D conversion switch. What a coincidence! To his little surprise, now soap cakes were produced in spite of eggs. On the sufficient production of soap cakes required for the whole year even if they used them liberally. Now the town better knew him as ‘Soap Guy’!


Soon he was bored of soap business, a saturation point came when he couldn’t make more money whereas he yearned for more and more. To find out the technique to produce the 3D photocopy of the desired object, he passed the egg on the same path on which it had fallen some days back, followed by soap which fell from his hands accidently. He repeated it uncountable times till he got the correct time calculation between the removing and placing of the object in order to change the previous object with a new one to be photocopied. Doing this for long hours, bending at stretch into the washing machine without any break caused severe pain in his lower back although it was forgotten or rather washed away in the wave of happiness of his new discovery.


Earlier in the town he became popular as ‘Egg Guy’ and now he was better known as ‘Soap Guy’. Whenever he was fed up with the business or faced some problem that couldn’t be overcome or noticed a decline in sales, he started a new business by changing the object which resulted in his changed status as ‘Pen Guy’, ‘Chocolate Guy’, ‘Ball Guy’, ‘Tomato Guy’, ‘Spoon Guy’, ‘Lady Finger Guy’, ‘Lipstick Guy’, ‘Bread Guy’, ‘CFL bulb Guy’, ‘Mouse trap Guy’ and so on…….


Although he was making good profits but his greed intensified for more and a little more. Prolonged bending and sitting resulted in dull back aches which he ignored like the dust on the computer screen. His fatigued body needed more rest than what he was actually taking. To make more money might be more than what he required to live a happy life; he yearned to start a business with good profit like selling petrol or wine or something that can fetch really good returns to him. Moreover he was tired of all these businesses with marginal profits. He repeated the same trick with that of egg to produce the replica of petrol, but totally failed. Other liquids like diesel, kerosene oil, milk, fruit juices, soft drinks and even different branded wines he experimented to get the desired outcome but he couldn’t get desired results. 3D photocopying could be done to only solids and not to liquids as in liquids, the molecules had greater freedom of movement and lack the binding force like that of solids which resulted in structural rigidity and resistance to change in volume and shape. These two major essentials for getting a 3D photocopy were missing in liquids.


Several years passed even then his daily routine was the same, bending into the tub to collect 3D photocopied objects.  One summery afternoon, he stooped a bit more to pick the object, all of a sudden, he felt piercing pain in his back. He shuddered. A few coins slipped out of his shirt pocket which was bulging due to his profit making. The back pain was so severe that he paid no attention to the chinking of coins. He sat down on the floor of store which was not cleaned since couple of years. ‘Dirt keeps thieves away’ was his motto. Every time his wife wished to clean it, he stopped her by making this or that excuse. The ache was unbearable even then he couldn’t call anybody for help else his richly secret might leaked out. And then thieves or robbers might loot his washing machine which was otherwise worth throwing in the dustbin. To relieve pain he lightly pressed his left palm on his back. With age his eyesight became poor, he glanced the area with blurred vision. He found that instead of getting rid of any item from the store, there were two more additions after his discovery of 3D photocopying - one was used tyre of his son’s bike and other was his busted football. Smartly rather very smartly, he buried his new discovery of 3D photocopy washing machine in one of the silent corners of his heart and didn’t reveal it even to his life partner. He could have become famous overnight with his photo on the cover page of all the leading magazines and newspapers. All the main channels showing exclusive coverage at prime time about him and his washing machine but, surprisingly this was not in his top most fifty desires. His wish was to make more wealth from it and become the richest person of the world. Then if the whole world came to know, he would be delighted.


Moving his left arm, using the full sleeve of shirt, he wiped the sweat drops on his forehead. He could easily afford air conditioners in this dingy dainty store and could work comfortably in hot climate without perspiring. A fan, a table fan at least he could have here. But no he was miser as well as smarter to keep everyone far off. He made a little space by moving the junk aside, lied down and closed his eyes because of pain or fatigue or both. In less than a minute he was fast asleep. 


When he woke up, he felt that pain radiated towards his right arm. Instead of taking proper medication and rest, he returned to his work. He bent down to pick the objects which have fallen accidentally from his pocket. Using his left arm he searched for the coins. Taking out more coins than that which had fallen in, elated not only his mind but soul as well. His body shuddered with a burst of perspiration around his arms, upper lips and groin. He paid no attention to the freshly increased salty wetness on his body. Although a bit irritated he was though in the ecstasy of joy for the production of coins from his magic machine he forget the increasing pain. He realised that he was a big fool who was wasting his time and energy on trying making 3D replica of liquids instead of trying on coins. He kept collecting the coins till all the boxes and utensils were filled. 


Late night, when he was entered the bedroom; his wife complained “Today is Valentine Day. You didn’t give me any special gift, not even a rose! Earlier you used to celebrate whole day with me; watching movie, dinning out, shopping and what a wife can desire of…..Sweet Nights!!” 

“At that time I was not that busy now I am!”

“If you were so busy then at least you could have pluck a crimson bottle brush flower from our garden which is in full bloom these days and wished me.” She taunted.

“I am hell tired.” He felt the intense pain arising in the shoulders while lying on the bed. “If you like the flower so much then why don’t you go and pluck one for yourself?”

He retorted, hiding his aches which would only add fuel to the fire.

“I am talking about your time, your attention. In the past month you haven’t attended any social function or late night party or watched good movie neither on TV nor cinema hall or gone to amusement park for fun.

“I was busy.” He didn’t have the strength to fight with his tigress.

“Busy in what? Getting older fast! Huh??  She pointed at grey hair in his head, stooping back and sullen eyes with dark circles under them.

“In making profits.” He said opening his eyes forcefully fighting with pain or sleep or both.

“What will you do with it?”

“I do not want it for myself. I am earning it for you and my son, Rushwan.”

“We have repaid the loan, constructed a decent house and saved sufficient money for the future. I have wardrobes full of clothes and jewellery.” She turned around and opened her wardrobe to show him and a blue colored top slipped from the above shelves on her. She caught it. The falling of that piece disturbed the alignment and all the stacked tops in front row fall on the ground. “My wardrobe is over flowing with clothes. It can’t hold anymore. Moreover if you don’t have time to look at me then what is the use of wearing all these clothes and jewellery? For me your time, your company, your one glimpse is more important than all these materialistic things.” She gathered them from the floor and folded them.

She closed the cupboard, turned around and found him asleep. She sighed.


Collecting coins made him richer as well as greedier. He replaced the coin with the highest denomination currency note available. Constant bending to pick the objects from tub without doing any regular exercise caused a little bend in his back and his speed of doing work slowed down. He had to bend a lot to take out something from the tub and he worked at a snail's pace still could make more than enough money from that magic tub. He was working his butts off! He moved less out of store to avoid useless arguments with his wife.


More days passed till one day Rushwan entered the most prohibited area of the house, the store as his father had not come out to have his meals from past two days. On his mother repeated requests he arrived here otherwise he disliked this place because of it untidiness and his father’s abusive screams. In childhood days one day while playing his ball came in this direction, Ahmed scolded Rushwan so heavily that he never dared to go near it. Even now that shouts were fresh in his mind and he was bit scared because his father shouted at him if he ever did this. He covered his face with the handkerchief as of irritating odour and dust. In dim light he could only view two feet one with slipper in it and other without it hanging outside the perforated tub. The upsides pose left him in bewilderment. He must have fallen in it because of losing his balance on excessive bending for picking up something from the bottom of tub, Ahmed’s son assumed. He took the body out of not only tub but also from dark and dingy place. His father was dead already. With the help of his neighbours the son cremated the body.


On returning home he decided to clean the store, the dirtiest place of the house and washing machine and each and every part of it. He was shocked to see one more corpse just like his father in the machine; his father never revealed him the secret of 3D photocopy. He buried it, found more, buried that too and found one more. All accumulated wealth drained in the cremation and burial ceremonies till he was left with no money. In rage, he buried the washing machine along with the replica. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


 Life is just like a train journey, continuously moving sometimes slow sometimes fast! Moving incessantly is a natural phenomenon of train same is with life. With passing time, the travellers change, new passengers board in whereas old passengers get down on reaching their destination. Similarly in life, one meets new persons and parts with others. Life is such!

Smriti, a beautiful gal in her late twenties loved to travel by train, her joy got doubled if by chance she met someone known in the journey, time fleet so swiftly while chatting when the destination came, when the journey is completed, went totally unnoticed. After buying the ticket, she boarded in the train, placed her luggage on the upper birth, took out ‘The Lowland’ by Jhumpa Lahiri from her handbag and started reading it. The engine’s whistle blew, train moved slowly, picked up the speed and reached the next station, and she didn’t come to know as she was absorbed in reading about Subhash and Udayan – two fictional brothers. Pushing each other, hurriedly people were getting down from the train and those who wished to get on the train were almost throwing their bags from the windows to reserve their seats and were thrusting themselves inside the train from the doors as they couldn’t enter from the windows with grills fitted in between. The noise disturbed her and she raised her eyes from the book to look at this hustle and bustle. Amidst this, she heard a familiar voice, “Hey, you here?” She instantly turned her head in the direction of sound and found Komal, her old batch-mate standing there. In few years, her silhouette had completely transformed from a slim girlish body to a fatty aunty. Her long plait like a black cobra had now taken a shape of a beautiful round bun, light jewellery of gold was novated into huge sized artificial jewellery, small bindi on her forehead had grown bigger and was shinning more. She had put on weight but her lovely smile was the same as in the college days. It had broadened with the time!

She asked, “Didn’t you recognise me?”

Smriti smiled and stood up. She hugged her friend tightly and after arranging her bags on upper birth with great difficulty they both started chatting about their college, about old friends, about movies, about this and about that. In conversation with Komal, she came to know that presently she was doing a job in private company, her husband had a business of wooden furniture, resided in a rented flat in Bhiwani and now she was a mother of two cute twin boys. These days they were constructing their own house in Delhi and to supervise the work, she was going there.

Komal asked, “So, what are you doing these days?” 

“I have recently joined my family business of designer jewellery.” Smriti replied.

“And what about marriage plans?”

“After some time, I will see! Right now, busy with some big assignments from U.S. and Europe.”

“You are going to be thirty soon, even then you are delaying it. Will you get married when you have grey hair and only a few teeth in your mouth and will not be able to see your groom properly without wearing spectacles?” She teased her.

“It’s just like that!” Smriti looked here and there to change the topic but couldn’t find a suitable one.

“Is there someone whom you love?” Before Smriti could say anything Komal uttered, “Didn’t I tell you about my love? How I met him? How I had a great time with him? Which gifts I bought for him? I didn’t hide anything from you. And see, you are not sharing anything. Say something, who is he?”

“Somebody.” Smriti didn’t want to disclose at this stage of her relationship but Komal was too eager to know.

Komal fired questions at her, “What he does? What is his name? Where does he live? How is his personality? Is he fair coloured or dark complexioned? Is he tall or short in height? Is he bald or have long hair? Where did you meet him? Did you converse with him on various aspects of life? Did you go with him to watch an English movie and have a corner seat? The last question she whispered, “Did you have sex with him?”

On seeing silence of Smriti, impatiently Komal said, “Tell me I can’t wait any more.”

It was rather impossible to escape from the questions of Komal so Smriti started narrating her story somewhat reluctantly, “Dristi, who was in my stream in M.Sc., on her b’day, I met him. He was fair, handsome and a strong and sturdy person. On that day, he was wearing navy blue colour coat and pant.”

“A featherless peacock!” Komal laughed not so loud on her own joke.

Smriti didn’t like her comment as the beauty of peacock is because of its feathers. She didn’t express her resentment but continued with her story, “He was meeting everyone decently. He sang the song ‘My heart is fleeting!” in his melodious voice.

“Oho, so he is a cuckoo as well!”

Smriti’s anger busted, “Stop comparing him with birds. You can compare him with some celebrity like Michael Jackson, Enrique Igless etc.”

“Phew! In the first meeting you went crazy about his face and voice.”

Smriti nodded. “Later I came to know from Dristi that he was working in a multinational company and earning a good pay package. Like youth of our country he too wished to go to a foreign land.”

“Then, what is the problem in getting married?”

“His elder sister will get married after three months. She will flewto Canada after marriage. All her in laws are NRIs. He is busy with the arrangements of her marriage as well as Visa. After that he will think about his marriage.”

“How much property they have?”

“He has his own house and two three shops in a shopping mall where foot fall is quite good.”

“Does he reside in your city?”

Smriti smiled and said, “Then I wouldn’t have wasted so much of time in taking only seven rounds around the fire with him.”

“Then where he lives?”

“After he got the job, he shifted to Pink city, Jaipur. He is presently residing in house no. 20 of Mayapuri Colony.”

“You are telling me the complete address as if I am going right now to meet him.”

“You told me about him but you forget to tell me his name – his identity!”

“How can I take his name? In our caste, girls are not allowed to speak husband’s name, sounds quite orthodox but we are like this.”

“He is not your husband. Right?”

“Hmmm…ok. I will tell you something interesting about his full name that it begins with letter ‘L’ and ends with letter ‘L’.”

“Are you talking about Lalit Mittal?” An elderly person sitting on the opposite birth said whose eyes were sorrowful and red. It seemed that he was crying hard from past few hours. Hearing this Smriti was about to fall from the seat only if Komal was not holding her hand. Smriti nodded and couldn’t utter a single word because of tornado of questions arising in her mind. She was starring him without blinking. May be he read Smriti’s mind and explained, “I am Lalit’s uncle. And I am returning back after attending his funeral possession. Yester night he died in a car accident. It will be better for you to forget him.”

All of a sudden, Smriti’s life came to a halt. The train stopped. He got down from the train, might be he had reached his destination. Smriti’s all dreams were shattered. She was feeling as if a strong earthquake had destroyed her house before it could even be built up.