Category Archives: Character Sketches

Cafe Conversations: Murder, Karma & Morality

Scene: 3 friends at a cafe.

Characters: Sonya sits on the sofa, hair pulled up in a bun, dressed in white cotton top and loose pants, feet up on a chair.

Avinash lounges low in an armchair, and frowns at Sonya across the table, mulling over their conversation.

Jai sits next to Avinash, struggling to understand the conversation.

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Jai (to Sonya): So, you’re telling me that even if you murder some poor innocent chap, you know, take his life… then just because you don’t have a conscience, you’ll get away with it?

Sonya: I’m not talking legally here. Ethically, yes.

Jai: But why should you get away with it? Murder is wrong; it’s the highest degree of evil. You’d be taking someone’s life.

Sonya: Assuming that I am able to carry out the perfect murder, you know, one where I take care of the body, and no one ever finds me. Then if I have absolutely no guilt, what happens to me?

Avinash: I’m sorry; these are just a lot of assumptions. We have a legal system in the first place, to punish wrong-doers and to make sure there is free will. One person does not have the right to take another person’s life, and he should be punished. As simple as that.

Sonya: Free will? (Snorts loudly) There is no such thing as free will.

(speaks agitedly, waving her hands) When you’re a child, they preach you these things, ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’, or, ‘Anything you set your mind to, if you work hard for it, you will get it.’ So naïve! Humans have always believed that on a specie level, they are free. That their actions are resuts of their own grasp over the way they should lead their lives. But that in itself is such a micro, narrow and yet a superior sense perception to this gift of life.

You know what, let’s NOT get into that argument.

Jai: Save it for another day. Coming back to this murder discussion, my point is, I believe in Karma. So even if you, Sonya, are really a perfect-murderess who has us all fooled with your charm and personality – (Sonya takes a mock bow) – someday, you’ll have something bad coming your way. It’s the universe’s way of setting things right.

(Waiter comes up with their coffees)

Avinash (squinting at Sonya): I can just see it. I bet she already has bodies stuffed into the water duct on the terrace of her building – no wonder that place has creepy noises at night. It’s haunted!

(The waiter throws them all bewildered looks and goes off)

Jai: I agree. She’s devilishly deceptive, plus there have been nights when no one knows where she was and she wasn’t home…

(Jai goes into his dramatic zone)

So one day… she just gives in to all her pent-up, dark, evil, angry, twisted thoughts… puts on some scary, gothic makeup, stashes her gun in her…uh…

Avinash (with big eyes): Where? Where DO you stash your gun, Sonya?

(Sonya rolls her eyes at him)

Sonya (laughing): Look. Karma is just correlating good things against bad things that have happened to you. Maybe the bad things were just bound to happen to you, like the result of a random probability distribution. And because of your conscience, you end up assuming that it was because of something you did!

Jai: That’s crazy! It’s just plain crazy to imply that Karma can affect only those with a conscience. Someone without a conscience is already a bad person – I say ‘bad’ because we seem to be assuming the world is split into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ things happening to us – but then, my point is, such a person, through his immoral character itself, is leading an unhappy life. A person cannot survive on committing evil deeds in society; even ethically, the very society he feeds on will make sure he pays.

Avinash (starts clapping): Well done, my friends. Both very good points. I half agree with both. But… I’m afraid I need proof. Proof, in the form of the highest degree of evil.

Jai (solemnly): I do have an acquaintance I wouldn’t miss terribly if he disappeared from the face of the earth. In fact, not a lot of people who would miss him… (looks at Sonya) I vote thee for this highly esteemed task…

Character sketches

I’ve come up with a man. I mean a plan. To write about my man. Or to write about my need for a man. Or to write about weird men. And women.

Maybe I’ll just write. I could title it ‘Nonsense.’ Here goes Character Sketch #1. (Cuz I can’t sketch.)


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I somehow managed to come up with this. (Click on pic to check out this cool guy when you can)

The first time I laid eyes on Pandu, I was reminded of a really tall, lanky frog. He had bulging eyes and wore round specs. We met at a free seminar on beetles by some renowned entomologist. Pandu sat on the seat next to me and snored loudly. Although it was quite entertaining, after a while I poked him hard in the ribs. He jumped, looked at me, then grinned, winked, rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue, all at the same time. One could see he was quite mad, and I got the sense we would get along just fine.

During break time, I gobbled up 3 sandwiches and was gathering up my bag as I swallowed the last bite, when he appeared at my side, an entire foot taller than me, not counting the crop of curly hair sitting atop his head. I opened my mouth to make up an excuse about having to dash somewhere, when a tomato slice popped out. Solemnly he caught the tomato, and plunked it back into my mouth. Wordlessly he proceeds to sling my bag over his shoulders, and lead me out the door.

Turns out, he had attended the seminar thinking it was on the Volkswagen species (he has a mad fascination for cars). But I thought it was an honest mistake, could happen to anybody.

Pandu didn’t talk much, but when he did, the words came out a little slurred, especially around the ‘R’s, like he was always a little drunk. He cracked dumb jokes, and sometimes whole minutes went by before he realized you aren’t laughing with him. He liked his peace time, and was easily accused of having attitude and being rude. But most often than not, here was a goofy person who was bound to make you laugh.

He really was a crazy one, and yet oddly talented without even trying. He was also a magician of sorts. He would clap on, clap off, like Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty, and the lights would come on. He could moonwalk and break dance like he was Michael freaking Jackson, and sometimes it was like he had no bones. He could eat with his hands tied behind his back. He’d look at the food, and a long tongue would shoot out and gobble up the food.

His hair was altogether a magician’s mystery. Few people have dared to put their hand in his hair, not knowing what to expect. Things camped in there, and I have pulled out lice, rabbits, and pigeons from in there. One day I even got my hand stuck, we had to call emergency to get my hand un-entangled.

Fascinating creature, Pandu.