A life captured

Rakesh was a simple man working as an administrative assistant in a private company. His job used to extend from 8 AM to 7 PM everyday. He was one of those guys who comes first and leaves last. He was one guy whose absence really crippled the entire office. He also happened to be the lowest paid employee. His peers in other companies were making at least twice his salary. He never opened his mouth to ask anything since this was his first job 20 years ago when he graduated. His gratitude combined with his timid nature would cause him to freeze even the thought of asking a raise or changing a job.

Just when you think that this was his life at work was tough , his personal life was even more depressing. He got married to a woman older than him by 5 years. Shaila had got divorced after couple of months of her marriage. Shaila managed to charm Rakesh as he was her neighbor.  Rakesh being an orphan only help speed things into a marriage. Shaila always liked to keep control over everything including Rakesh. This was to the extent of the color of underwear worn by Rakesh and his daily expense were controlled by her. He used to get his daily “bata or pocket money” every morning from her. This included  his bus fare & 2 teas in the tea shop near the office. He was not good looking but Shaila was and this was enough consolation for him to feel gratitude.

His life was split or rather splattered across his house and office in a sad manner. His only solace is on Saturday’s when he works only till 2PM. Then he walks over the beach close to his office and spend time in the beach looking at the children and waves till 6PM. Then he walks back to serve his term in the house.

One weekend as he sat down on the beach looking at the waves his hands were playing with sand. Suddenly he felt some object. It turned out to be a rickety old camera. It looked pretty rusty. He played with it until somehow he felt it came to him. He put it in his pocket. Then as the sun was setting he started to leave home. He always liked the fat woman who used to sell corn always look at him pleasantly. He would feel the need to buy something but never had the money. Her smile used to stay on his mind. So to please her he whips out the camera and points it her and clicks with a sound coming out. She gives a big smile in return. Even though he knew the camera was not working at least he could give her a moment of happiness. He kind of did the same thing to the peanut seller and the dog which always walked beside him from the beach to the bus stop. He was never sure why the dog walked with him but it always did. The picture he took of the dog was just to make him feel happy to the extent that he felt those images were inside the camera. He went back to his dreary life as the bus came as he looked forward to the next weekend.

The next weekend came as he walked and sat down at his regular place on the sand he got lost in the waves. As he was looking around the beach appeared strange than it ever did. He could not place a finger on what was actually wrong. He tried hard to look around then it dawned him and he was distraught at the sight that met his eyes. He could not find the corn selling lady or the peanut seller or the dog. That was what was really missing. All the things which cared from him in the beach were gone. Why? How? what happened? He was distraught that the things which gave pleasure to him were nowhere to be seen. He asked around in nearby shops and other hawkers. He was shocked to hear that all of them including the dog had died last Monday on the same day. He was shattered and the earth under his legs gave way. He dragged himself.

That night as he continued to rue over the small things had gone away. How is it that all 3 died on the Monday? Was it some infection on the beach, if so others should have got it? How a dog could be affected by the same thing which affects a human being. They all died a natural process it seems they went to sleep and never woke up. Strange indeed, then something a weirder thought dawned on him and he felt his body go into a shiver and was sweating profusely. His thought went to the camera. He pulled from his drawer and held it in his trembling hands. He saw a small inscription on a label. He took a magnifying glass to read it as he scraped away the dirt and rust. There it read-“With this capture the life that you want captured forever”. He dropped the camera and his heart literally stopped and his head into a spin he lost consciousness and fell into the bed.

He was woken up by the morning alarm and all things came back. First he thought it was a dream and sighed a relief only to realize no it wasn’t. He could not believe that he had taken the lives of all those with this evil camera. Is it a coincidence or is he just imagining things? He was hoping that was it. But there could be only one way to check it out. Try it.

He walked out into the balcony of his house with the camera in his hand. He looked around to see what could be his test guinea pig well he found one. Actually the thought bought a smile to his mouth. It was the neighbor’s dog which used to bark incessantly not letting him sleep. He suddenly felt a strange sense of power he always wanted in life. He took the camera looked at the animal which caused him sleepless nights and clicked. Nothing happened. He went back to his life of Shaila and office work.

The next day he woke up and hurried to the balcony. He got a lump in this throat as there was a small group at the neighbor’s house. He slipped on his shirt and rushed to the neighbor’s house. He heard the neighbor sobbing-“I don’t what happened Brownie had a normal dinner and did not have any illness. When I woke in the middle night I was surprised to see him continue sleeping and not get up to give me a happy bark which he usually does. I thought he must have been tired, little did I know that he had died”. He was inconsolable as the dog had been like a child to him. But all Rakesh could feel was a strange sense of happiness, power and control. He now had the power to do what he wanted. Just then a scream pierced his ears “Rakesh, you useless man what are you doing down there? Come right now and clean the bathroom I need to take a bath”. He turned out to see Shaila in her full ruthless form of anger and power. He turned at her and a smile came across his face. He felt relief.

John the Inspector of police of the area where Rakesh was staying got out of his jeep. He remarked to a constable who had just walked up to him-“What anything unusual?” . The constable replied – “Nothing sir seems a heart attack but have asked for ambulance to take the body for post mortem just in case”. John walked in to see Shaila lying on the sofa, he continued into the bedroom to see Rakesh also in same state. Suddenly a wail sailed through the house “That stupid man can’t just die leaving me alone”. John turned around to see Shaila at the bedroom door looking  at Rakesh’s body with all her wrath.

As John finished his formal set of questions the ambulance arrived to take the body. Rakesh’s body was put on the stretcher and taken away. Shaila sunk into the sofa the one person who she thought she could live off was no more. But then she also felt a strange love for the guy who worked/lived for her. She looked around the room and actually missed him.

She recalled how she had been watching TV last night till late. Then she was disturbed by mosquitoes biting. She called out to Rakesh but as he did respond she realized he must have slept off. She went into the bedroom to get the mosquito cream and could not find it. Searching for it she opened  Rakesh’s shelf to find a rickety toy camera. “Hah this man never grows up , look at him having a toy camera. No wonder he has never got anywhere in office”. She points the camera and giving the title “The most useless man” does a mock click. She tossed the camera and took the mosquito cream. She went back to watching TV.


  1. Quote

    Brilliant story Kumaran. I was strongly reminded of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone. Superb storytelling. Way to go.

  2. Quote
    Kumaran said March 28, 2012, 10:20 am:

    Thanks Sukumar for the encouraging words.

  3. Quote

    Nice plotting and the climax was a real twister. Thought the wife would get it. Good one.

  4. Quote
    Kumaran said March 28, 2012, 3:10 pm:

    Thanks Kannan

  5. Quote
    Kumaran said March 28, 2012, 3:13 pm:

    It is interesting that “Black & White” a short film https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIfKr8dZACE is on similar lines. But can’t see the full movie at youtube.

    Thankfully my story is not a commercial one other it would be plagiarism controversy. 🙂

    Thanks to Sukumar / Sudhakar Manivannan for pointing it out.

  6. Quote

    For a while i thought it was the Tsunami

  7. Quote

    Awesome twists. First thought was she would go. Then thought that he had shot himself to make it appear like she murdered him! Proved me wrong

    Gripping, intriguing and the right length.

  8. Quote

    I initially thought the story is progressing in the Darna Mana Hai way ….but the end was good. Great narration and this is my first comment in your blog

  9. Quote

    good one..kumaran..koncham serial + koncham english thriller partha feeling..bold effort..keep it up sagalakala vallava..

  10. Quote

    Good one, interesting till the end..

  11. Quote
    Kotta Srini (subscribed) said March 30, 2012, 5:07 pm:


    Great story and well put. I didn’t know you had a story teller lurking in you. Waiting for more stories to come…


  12. Quote
    Sreedhar said March 31, 2012, 10:26 am:

    very nice story Kumaran. Great job.

    I have some of those cameras on sale, if anyone wants it 🙂

  13. Quote

    Nicely written! Very absorbing! I too thought that the wife would get the last shot 🙂

  14. Quote
    Toney Joseph said March 31, 2012, 1:40 pm:

    Wonderful story great story flows like from an very experienced story writer

  15. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:27 am:


    Thanks glad that it moved you so much. 🙂

  16. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:29 am:


    Your “right length” commment helps thanks. I did not know whether this was too long or short. Considering I called it a short story.

  17. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:30 am:


    Thanks for making comments. It is actually the words/comments which become the motivation to do more.

  18. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:34 am:


    Thanks da. irundalum “sagalakala vallava..” konjam overa illa. 🙂 🙂

    Reminded me of a comment in tamil where someone will to Livingstone “varungala indiya janadipathi vazhga!!”. 🙂

  19. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:34 am:


    Thanks. glad you found it interesting.

  20. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:36 am:

    Kotta Srini,

    Thanks for encouragement.

    In fact this is my second story. The first one is this http://www.sastwingees.org/2010/08/29/the-world-we-lived-in-2/

  21. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:38 am:


    Thanks for the nice words.

    Just make there are no mosquitos in the house with the cameras around.

  22. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:40 am:


    Thanks. I was hoping if I can lead it a particular direction and swing it.
    I did have a doubt maybe this was cliched luckily it does not seem so.

  23. Quote
    Kumaran said April 1, 2012, 6:41 am:


    ** flows like from an very experienced story writer **

    Very inspiring words. thanks.

    Now I have a reputation to live upto. 🙂

  24. Quote

    Good plot story.. i thought the theme could be ‘with great power comes great responsibility’ and Rakesh would go on to change the world, playing epic, intelligent mind games with those in power.. several dreams come true.. and he could pass on the legacy to Rakesh2.0, so that the character becomes ‘a phantom’, a man who has won his own death… but it went towards a ‘sudden death’, which was nice too…

  25. Quote
    Kotta Srini (subscribed) said April 2, 2012, 12:20 pm:


    The sudden twist in the ending reminds me of ‘No Comebacks’


  26. Quote
    Kalpana said April 5, 2012, 4:12 am:

    Hi Kumaran,

    I was so reluctant to read your story. I was thinking… oh Is this one of his one more “How to” lectue kind…Finally decided to sit down and read .. Well.. Iam glad I did.
    Nice and fast moving thriller kind. “No comebacks”. Yes every moment is “No come back”.
    Treat it like your last day.
    I wish there is a camera to kill the inner animal nature of humans and peace everywhere.
    I am sure the man in the story wouldn’t have killed himself anytime. But as you say, sleep is the complete freedom and rest for our soul from this deadly world. Atleast the wife gave him that if not any thing.
    Keep going…. I promise I will start a fan club.

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