The curious case of a white sculpture

Bill hiked for three hours arriving at the mountaintop Himalayan valley.  The trail snaked through dense pine forests, shiny apple orchards, and fragrant lavender fields.  Surrounded by natural beauty, there stood a century-old temple.  Entering the temple, Bill noticed devotees praying in front of a white cylindrical sculpture.  The sculpture appeared similar to a black version that he had seen before, while traveling throughout this ancient country.

The truth followed.  Indeed, the original sculpture was made up of black stone.  Being on mountaintop, the temple occasionally would get shattered by lightning.  Afterwards, the resident-priest would collect carefully the multitudes of broken pieces from the dust of total destruction.  He would then re-attach the pieces utilizing molten butter as an adhesive.  In the cold environment of mountaintop, the adhesive would solidify quickly.  Several iterations of the process over past century created the current completely white appearance of the sculpture along with the myth of its invincibility.

 

 

By Sankar Chatterjee

 

Justice

Sam sat down, wishing she could disappear. Sighing, she tightened her scarf around her neck, a force of habit, and decided that Tony’s funeral was perhaps the one place where she couldn’t avoid talking to people—playing the grieving wife, on the other hand, would be more appreciable.

She saw the guests approaching, beginning with Mrs Gonzales, their sixty-five year old neighbor who hosted barbeques every Sunday; Emmett Hanson, Tony’s roommate in college and lastly, Greg Jackson, his partner at the NYPD. She still remembered the day when Tony had, for the first time in three years, allowed an outsider into their home. Greg, sweet Greg, as a symbol of gratitude, had brought a set of cutlery, somehow, having noticed the fact that Sam loved to cook. The set had included six plates and bowls, a ladle, several spoons and a knife and was heavily decorated with intricate oriental patterns, carrying a green colour.

Approaching the coffin, Greg glanced back at Sam, his eyes holding an emotion that didn’t quite border on sympathy for a grieving wife.

Instinctively, Sam tightened her scarf as Greg took a seat behind her. The priest began his sermon by stating how nice of a young man Tony was and what a shame it was that he lost his life—in the most brutal way—a swift cut to his neck; he stood no chance. Continue reading “Justice”

How to serve your fellow man

The virus had the entire community quarantined for so long, relationships were strained, to say the least. Couples married for 50 years and more were finding out that they didn’t get along so well now, or hadn’t gotten along well for quite some time.

With all activities canceled, staying home became a prison; all-be-it, a comfortable one. —The TV was working, cell phones were working, and yard work was always in need of attention. Thank God for the computer and the internet. In time, food became a problem. The monotony of eating the same foods, in the same surroundings, with the same person, 24/7, began to take its toll.

After months, when the virus had run its course, it became clear what had been happening behind closed doors—Those who emerged into the new day, had gained an exorbitant amount of weight. Their mates, however, did not emerge fat or thin. In fact, they didn’t emerge at all.

The pre-virus, town population of 6,000 had shrunk to approximately 3,000 inhabitants. These fewer, but fatter, people were a glaring testimony to what had happened. The survivors pooled their culinary knowledge, and put together an anthology entitled: “How to Serve Your Fellow Man”.

 

 

By Don Lubov

 

Wealth inequality

For several days, Ray was crisscrossing Morocco with his young guide Ahmed.  However, he had noticed that staggering wealth inequality existed even in this small country, ruled by a rich king.  A computer engineer himself, Ahmed could not find a respectable job with a good salary.  Near the end, Ray arrived in Casablanca.  He wanted to locate the specific bar depicted in the iconic movie “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart and Catherine Hepburn.  Instead, he got dazzled by the Hassan II Mosque, the recent wonder of the city.  An architectural masterpiece, it was built by the current king to leave behind his legacy.   The place can accommodate a total of 100,000 worshipers during a prayer session.  Ray learned that the final cost was close to a half billion Euros.

Ray heard Ahmed murmuring, “Really, for whom our country shed its tears, when ordinary people lack food and basic healthcare?”

 

 

By Sankar Chatterjee

Return of the writers

When Kafka woke from unsettling dreams, he found himself brought back to life. And he was pissed. He requested most of his works be burned upon his death, but they were not. “You better reincarnate Max Brod so I can give him a piece of his mind.”

Thanks to reanimation technology, the world rebooted some of the greatest literary talents. Shakespeare was, of course, the priority. He couldn’t believe the tourist trap Stratford-upon-Avon had become. But he got the biggest kick out of the fact his works were taught in schools. “People read my plays instead of performing them? What nonsense is this?”

Homer spent all his time listening to television. He loved the cartoon character that shared his name.

Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky were comparing. “Mine’s longer,” Tolstoy bragged.

The Bronte sisters got their own television talk show, and invited Jane Austin along for good measure.

Charles Dickens would spend the rest of eternity trying to watch all the adaptations of A Christmas Carol. “Did this world run out of ideas?” he was heard saying. His re-existence answered that question. Continue reading “Return of the writers”