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Grey

Years ago, when the master musician brought the air alive, the magic of the flute touched the Blind Prince’s heart. He cried, as a never-felt-before emotion gripped him. The floodgates opened where the light never reached, and he wept and he laughed and he gave no reason.

It was the happiest day of his life… until today.

Today, the spell in the air was much more potent.

Today, he was filled with unadulterated joy.

Today, a princess had agreed to marry him.

---

In another castle, in a faraway country, the Young Princess was deaf to the drumbeats.

Years ago, a travelling storyteller had narrated the tale of a young girl married to a goat and sacrificed to save the kingdom. In her heart, she knew she was the girl and she was the goat; she was the story and the story was her and the knowledge made her hide in her room and cry through the night.

It was the saddest day of her life… until today.

Today, the glamour shattered at her feet.

Today, she was one with darkness.

“Your groom is blind,” her brother revealed.

A single teardrop wet the mehndi that was refusing to dry.

---

Meanwhile on the roof of the castle’s tallest tower, the Young Prince was huddled in a corner, unable to move.

Three days ago, the Crown Prince of the mightiest kingdom in the east wanted to marry his sister.

Today, she’s the Blind Man’s bride.

Wedding or War, they said, and their father chose the former.

They gave her no choice, so she made her own.

Today, his precious little sister adopted a blindfold, never to take it off.

In another castle, there was a dynasty that had snatched away his happiness.

In another age, the Young Prince swore, he would exact retribution.

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A/N: This is inspired by the story of Dhritarashtra and Gandhari from the epic Mahabharat. Should the prince be automatically 'ineligible' just because he's blind? But then should the princess be 'convinced' to marry a stranger without any knowledge of a major part of his life? Gandhari's brother, Shakuni, is believed to have plotted the great war just to take revenge on the Kuru clan -- but is he just a loving brother, more than an evil mastermind?

Oh, and this is an entry for Week 3 of therealljidol. Do leave a comment -- constructive criticism is welcome!

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EDIT: Did you like what you read? Then do consider voting for me here (I'm in Tribe 1). Also, do read the awesome entries by other participants and vote for every entry you like!

The Missing Stair

It was one of those stories no one in the newsroom joked about, ever.

A young student in the city had apparently committed suicide. All of 19 years old, she came here to study from a faraway state and was now lying dead in the mortuary of the General Hospital. Her parents didn’t understand the world without their daughter…

Her friends, though, understood enough to go after them.

The Monsters.

The ugly, hypocritical Monsters that believed it was their birth right to police her body.

The Monsters who called themselves educators of young minds, but in reality were simply autocrats running after money and power.

“COLLEGE STUDENT COMMITS SUICIDE”, the headline screamed.

“HANGS HERSELF IN HOSTEL ROOM”

“GIRL’S FRIENDS BLAME COLLEGE MANAGEMENT”

The anchor assumed a sombre expression just as the camera she faced went live. “We begin today’s show with the story that has left the entire nation shocked. A college student ended her life early this morning, apparently by hanging herself from the ceiling fan in her hostel room. Following this terrible incident, her friends and fellow students, who are blaming the college management for her drastic decision, have gone on a rampage… The visuals on your screen are of the classrooms that were vandalised by the students today… We now go across to the live news conference by the city police investigating this case…”

The police confirmed what the channels had been reporting all day. The young girl was ‘caught’ kissing her boyfriend by one of the teachers, who then took it upon himself to drag her to the college Dean. Dean and Professor then screamed impossible things at her. Slut, they called her. Was she there to study or to prostitute herself? Why didn’t she simply book a hotel room if this is what she wanted to do?

(Conveniently, of course, the interrogation never included the other ‘guilty party’. The boyfriend could not be a slut, could he? Boys will of course be boys…)

“Was she sexually assaulted by her teachers because they wanted to ‘teach her a lesson’?” a reporter asked.

“We cannot confirm or deny that at this point,” the Commissioner replied.

“Has a suicide note been found?” asked another reporter.

“We have found what appears to be a note written by the victim. Forensic exams are underway,” the policeman said.

For the girl in the newsroom, barely two years older than the victim, this story was like a hammer striking her heart, repeatedly.

She didn’t say much though. The 8pm debate would air in a while. The panellists would speak. The visuals of the broken classrooms would play on loop. Her friends would yell for the cameras. Who knows, the parents might even cry on air… It was what they called ‘a good news day’, after all…

But when he spoke, she snapped out of her cynical contemplation.

When he uttered those disgusting words, she yelled out the first ‘Fuck you!’ of her professional life.

“What the fuck was the management supposed to do? Sit and watch while she behaved like that? It’s their job to discipline girls like that! If she was weak enough to kill herself, if she couldn’t face the truth about herself, why blame the management?”

“Fuck you!” she screamed. “Who the fuck are you to say she can’t kiss who she wants to?”

“The Western ideals of girls like you -” and those were the last words she heard.

She jumped out of her chair and almost ran out of the control room.

This was it. The last straw.

The slime ball that couldn’t speak to a woman colleague unless he was staring at her breasts had no right to character assassinate anyone.

The 40-year-old man who routinely gave unasked for shoulder massages to new recruits should not throw stones at anyone.

The missing stair in the newsroom needed to be fixed, and fixed now.

For the first time in her professional life, she knocked on the door marked ‘HR’.

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A/N: This is an entry for LJ Idol, Season 9. 'The Missing Stair' is term coined by blogger Cliff Pervocracy in 2012. Do read the original post here. As for my post -- this is both fiction and non-fiction. A young student did commit suicide, a few years back, because she was harassed by her college authorities for kissing a boy. As insane as that sounds, it happened. And on a day that a man who led a mob to attack young women for daring to enter a pub almost joined the political party poised to win the general elections in India next month -- well let's just say 'moral policing' was on my mind and that's what inspired me to write this.

EDIT: The poll for week 2 of therealljidol is up here. If you liked this post, do consider voting for me. And do read the amazing entries by all the other participants and vote for everyone whose work you like!
After I banged the door shut, I ran down the stairs and rushed into the street like a maniac. I walked and ran and walked and walked and finally! Finally, that taxi stopped and I hopped in and reached home and ran up the stairs and opened the door and banged it shut and reached the mirror.

I looked at myself for a full ten seconds. And the ghost staring at me burst out laughing.

When I went to the shady liquor store yesterday and bought all that beer, I had no idea this is what today would look like. No, not even when I cleaned the house or called for food. Not even when you came in after claiming you couldn't make it.

Oh you flirted so well all evening! You were so nice and sweet and hot and caring. I was so charmed when you decided to take the party to your place when we ran out of beer. When Monopoly came out and it was just the three of us, I was really enjoying myself.

Really.

I don't know when I fell asleep though. I don't know when you had an arm around me. I don't know why we didn't kiss and why we groped.

And I don't know why, ten minutes later, you were with her.

And I don't know why, when you looked at me looking at you, you pretended like you couldn't see.

"Is this a joke?"

No, you couldn't hear me.

And I couldn't feel me...

My legs were the only things that worked this morning. And my mirror.

My new mirror. Brand name: Jayus.

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A/N: Hello! This is an entry for LJ Idol Season 9, week 1. I never did introduce Surpanakha -- she's the demon who dared to lust after the gods in Ramayana and for her crime, they chopped off her breasts and nose and ears. Yup. All because she wanted to be liked. She didn't die though -- she's alive and she lives here now. I'm her caretaker and sometimes, I am her and she is me and we're all just fine. The gods are always after us ugly demons though, but I believe that Surpanakha will beat them some day...

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So two things happened.

I realised that the only way to 'enjoy writing' is to, er, write.

And I came across LJ Idol.

So here I am, new to Livejournal, new to LJ Idol -- and signing up officially! Let's do this thing!