Killer looks

7

Joana walks up to me as soon as I take my seat in the class the next day at school. “What did you do yesterday? Everyone seems to be talking about you. Andrew is furious. Don’t worry, he’s not here Yet,” she said leaning towards me.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t do anything. I am a victim just like Andrew. Before I could open my mouth, the English professor stepped in, “Get back to your seats, everyone. Today, we start with chapter four.”

Andrew comes rushing in with Sheena. They both stare at me. Andrew stood near me for a while before taking his seat. He kept his gaze on me all the time. “Let me explain after this class,” I whispered.

But the professor caught me speaking out of turn and, “Yes, Mr. Steve. You have something to share. Now don’t be shy. Speak up. I am sure everyone would love to hear your insights on the subject.”

I stand and I start, “Sir, I have something to share with Andrew. So let me do this right now. I…uh…Someone hacked into my Facebook account and posted something about Andrew on my behalf. I apologize but I am a victim as well.”

“Wait a minute. What is this all about? This is not a part of the subject. You may take your personal stuff outside the classroom. But not on my watch. Now sit down and pay attention,” the professor shrugged.

Of course, as you say, Sir. Now everyone knew what happened. I have to make an explanation to not only Andrew but Joana as well. It’s better that I delete my Facebook account and join the #DeleteFacebook movement just like Brian Acton and Elon Musk. All the fake news brouhaha is making me sick to the gut. Facebook has become a dangerous platform. It’s a spy watching our moves and monitoring our behavior.

This scenario reminds me of the Matrix film where Neo was living in a controlled environment until Morpheus gives him the red pill. This film represented a dystopian future where machines controlled humans by keeping them under an illusion, a false pretense. Another beautiful example is the dystopian novel 1984 by George Orwell. And this leads to the big question – the future of social media? Is the big brother watching us and dictating our moves?

This world is different and worse with Facebook in the picture. Let us crop that picture and make the world a better place. It’s #BoycottFacebook time.

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Which one is better?

Or which one do you like the most? Paragraph 1 or 2?

1

Sharon freaks out with Tom doing his dance at the supermarket. She asks him to stop immediately. This is not about her feeling ashamed at the act of her husband. But the insecurity she feels by associating herself with him. She is looking for an alternative for a while, an alternative to her present spouse. It has been tough on her not because Tom is a lousy spouse but because she is a variety seeker. Her relentless unadventurous life suffocates her. She is done with this marriage and wants to opt out. But how would Tom feel about it, she wonders. He has been good to her. They had some great moments together. But those are bygones, now the future matters and she is determined to move out of this mutual agreement signed four years ago.

2

Sharon had a great ceremony which put a ring on her at the Hilton hotel. She got hitched to her boyfriend of seven years. Tom was a good man and became a better husband. They spent a lot of time together outside of their work lives. They were known as the happy go couples of the town, making others yearn for their success. But this wasn’t supposed to last long. Everything comes to an end eventually. Sharon was a variety seeker and wanted some adventure. Tom didn’t seem like one after four years of marriage. It was becoming a drudgery for her, one she needed to avoid at all costs. Tom always used to make her laugh with his style of dancing. But one day, Sharon freaked out at the supermarket when Tom broke into one of his traditional styles.

Please leave your choice along with a brief ‘why’ in the comment section below.

Judy

4

Judy is back home with her baby. Peter won’t allow the baby to sleep in his room. So the baby is kept in the living room amongst a broken chair, a worn-out sofa, and an old dining table. Life was difficult for her earlier but it worsened now with the change in the attitude of her husband. Her mother-in-law is also against the baby. She doesn’t want it inside the house. She won’t allow it inside her room. The mother and her son stand together and so does another mother and her daughter.

Life is difficult when you are a homemaker. You suffer at the hands of your spouse, children, and other family members. You are taken on a ride by each and every one. Your family expects you to deliver at your best at their beck and call. You become a slave to their wishes and try hard to fulfill them. Life is a pain sometimes and a horror at other times. Judy was at the fag end of the rage of her husband and her mother-in-law. Now the baby arrives asking more of her. She’s burdened with the weight of her world which seems too big now.

Her spouse makes her sit by his side all the time when he’s at home. He makes a maid out of her by making her toil like a slave. She bears his tantrums and hears her name twisted in several ways – ‘Judy no Goody’, ‘Judy so Moody’, ‘Shady Judy’. Often he comes home and starts shouting at her relentlessly. She understands his frustration but why is she supposed to bear his brunt. Is she a ball ready to be kicked around? It is difficult for her to make a poker face and forget the exploitation.

Killer Looks

6

“How did it go? You seem to have spent quite a time at Joana’s,” my mother asked.

“I learned a lot. She’s really good at studies. She showed me some of her tricks.”

It was hours since I checked my messages. But I didn’t feel like doing it. I didn’t even check my social media feeds. I did change. I didn’t have my phone at the dinner table. “Where’s your mobile?” mother asked.

Life didn’t seem so bad after all without looking at my phone ever so often. Until I received a call from Andrew, “Man, what the hell have you written about me? Delete the post right now or else I will delete you from the face of this earth.” And he hung up.

I grab my new idiot box and run across my Facebook feed. Someone hacked into my account and wrote ‘Head to toe don’t mess with my bro’ with a picture of Andrew wearing a bikini. The picture seems to be photoshopped if I am not wrong. Who would do such a thing?

I delete the post immediately. There were too many likes and comments which I didn’t go through. Andrew was furious which made sense. I will apologize tomorrow and clear the air. Woah! Social media is a bad thing. I better become another Joana. Let me remove my online social presence. Anyways it drives one crazy. Sharon did it. She ended her life. It can’t get worse than taking one’s own life. Why isn’t the government stepping in? Why would they? They are gaining from our follies. Our online presence is their gain. They get a medium to play God and manipulate us by twisting our minds. I say no more. Let me speak with Joana. Maybe, we will start a movement, a revolution.

The yarn dresser

4

“My goodness! What happened to you, Sir. Should I call the doctor?” George uttered with excitement.

“That is not required. I am all right. I was black-handled by a reporter. Ready the bath for me,” I said.

“What’s black…handled, Sir? If I am not mistaken, you meant to say man-handled,” George said with a quizzical look making his old muscles raise his eyebrows ever so high.

“No, I know what I said and I mean it. I said it because I am black.”

“You shouldn’t think of yourself in that manner, Sir. Your color doesn’t affect the man you are,” George tried to reassure me.

But I argued back. “Oh, yes it does. A black is not seen an equal to a white. The history runs in our veins. I can see it in their eyes, the contours of their face, every movement of the 50 muscles in their face. I see it all. And I tell you it is still there. They still adhere to the past even if they don’t express it. It is there in their behavior. The slightest of movements tell me that they still do.”

“I am sorry to hear that, Sir. I thought the best of this world more than anyone else. I am surprised with all my guts. This is madness. This is the 21st century and things need to change.”

“Yes, it will. But I won’t be there to see it. Everything takes time. Take religion for example. It took years for each religion to be accepted by a wide population. Mankind is slow to adapt as can be seen from the theory of evolution. Everything in nature morphs from one form to another. So is our brain. It is elastic. We can change given time. Also given willingness. If one is not willing to change, then there is no point in his trying. It all goes to waste…”

“Absolutely, Sir. Your bath is ready. Allow yourself to rest. I will bring your dinner,” George went out with hurried steps and closed the door behind.

The yarn dresser

3

I was influenced by the topmost musicians of my country at a very young age. One of my inheritance was the music collection of my parents and grandparents. They were into all sorts of genres from jazz to hip-hop. I tried my hands at most of the artists. I spent countless hours each day of my teenage life listening to beats-fast and slow.

Led Zeppelin made the most impact on me. They may have copied most of their music from other artists, but they made it into something different. Their versions were deep. They were the pioneers of great British rock music after The Beatles and The Who. I personally don’t like The Beatles. They sound too soft. I am a variety-seeker and I find it in Led Zeppelin. They have tried many genres of music and I loved all of their ventures.

Music led me to dance. I learned various forms of dancing from the best teachers in London. Later, I taught my friends. They used to call me ‘dance crazy’ as I learned over a dozen forms in a year. Living in the cultural capital of the world, I was bound to be attracted towards arts.

George always supported me in whatever I did. I was a child living alone in a mansion from the age of seven. And George was my mentor. He never let me down by always being there for me. Furthermore, he taught me painting. He is a good artist. His wonderful strokes filled my life with wonder.

The yarn dresser

2

“I heard about some terrorist activity in London. Something to do with Russia. What happened?” I asked.
“There was an attack on an ex-Russian spy and his daughter. Sir, it is reported that the nerve agent attack will lead to a cold war. Mr. U.K. is serious and has threatened Russia with dire consequences. I wonder what will become of our great nation,” George said.
“Cold war? You really think there can be a cold war where they keep on threatening each other just in order to kill time. Instead of bullets and bombs, hollow words fly from end to end. Dreams of subjugation keep either side engaged for long. Anyway, what better things they have to do?”
“Absolutely, Sir. It would be foolish for any nation of the 21st century to start a war. The nukes at both ends will lead to massive destruction. No party will win,” George added vehemently.
“You talk of a great nation. You have talked about its great leaders. I remember one shining armor, Mr. Churchill I believe. Wasn’t he the one who murdered 4 million landlords in India? And why so? Just because he was vexed with this Bose guy. I mean was it a joke or was he really insane? He killed over trifles. Why kill others when…”
“Sir, let me remind you he is regarded as a hero, a celebrated one. You ought not to speak in a terse manner. You ought to respect him.”
“My respect is for people who are logical and reasonable. I can’t respect imbeciles. I am a rational man. When leaders get too much power in their hands, they go crazy. This can be seen in the history of all nations. We are no different. Give me power and see what I become. I will be no different than these Ponzi leaders.”
“Sir, you ought to calm down. Yesterday only, you had a blackout. It is not logical to get excited over this.”
“That’s why I like you. You are the only one who can really understand me and appreciate me for what I am. You are a true friend.”