It was six thirty in the evening. The incessant monsoon of Bombay caused delays that led to overcrowding of local trains. That day when Sara boarded the north bound train at Victoria Terminus, she was clueless about what the future had in store for her. She had left her present family to go back home.

At every suburban station, the train stopped and added more people to the already overflowing carriage. Sara was squeezed into the crowd and pushed towards the side of the carriage as people swarmed in. Their hands touched hers as she held on to one of the support columns. Tens of feet were already on hers, pulling her chappals both ways. The human touch that brought her utter disdain since the last four years continued to stalk her.

Overcrowding had made her suffocate. Sweat dripped from her forehead and stained her cheeks with kohl and smudged her face with dark red lipstick. Her tattered clothes, dusty brown face, long unkempt curls made into a half-bun gave her a rather swag like appearance.

When Sara looked at fellow commuters, some pretended to sleep; some looked out of the window when their eye met hers. Some groped her; some tried to peek inside her blouse. Some who seemed worried about her reached for their pockets for small change.

As the train slowed down at the last station with a loud metallic shriek of wheels, a middle-aged man stood aside her waiting to get down. When the train reached the platform, he was pushed by the crowd behind. He lost his grip on the door and was about to fall. Sara took a leap of change. She grabbed his hand firmly and helped him land safely.

As they both settled on the platform, he reached for his wallet and walked up to Sara.

“Here, take this my child.” he extended a ten rupee note.

She was immediately thrown back in time. Those were the days when twelve-year-old Sara used to accompany her mother to sell fruits and vegetables in a busy market on Linking Road. Since she was the most educated in her family, she helped her mother with the transactions and tendering exact change to customers. One thing she had learnt from her mother was never to beg. She could borrow or earn but never beg. But life took a sudden turn when Rashid Uncle, who used to frequent their stall, lured her to his room and laced lollies with sedatives. When she woke up in a dingy shanty, she could feel the intense pain biting between her legs. It didn’t take long for her to realise that she was sold to Rani Madam, the local pimp queen. Since she could work every day of the month, she became hot favourite among customers and in turn became Rani’s hot property. A couple of years later when the customers demanded fresh stock, she was sold again.

She traded multiple hands and was forced with a multitude of customers in red light areas for over four years. Some of her handlers even pinned her to the bed and administered testosterone shots to accelerate her hormonal growth. When one of her customers developed an affinity towards her, she gathered courage to confide her story and seek freedom. He was kind enough to plot her fake suicide during one of his visits and convince the pimp that that he would dispose of her body without a trace. He asked for a large sack that would fit Sara’s body, put her inside the sack and left. The next morning, he dropped her to the train station. She spent a week on the platform, living on leftovers and dropped coins, trying to muster courage and contemplating to take the train and go back home.

“Why are you giving this to me?” she asked looking inquisitively at the currency note. ”

“Thank you for holding my hand. I could have fallen into the gap.”

“You were peeping down my chest instead of looking at the platform”, she grinned.

He hastily buried the note in her half open wrist and dashed away.

The human touch no more felt disdainful. She was back in a world where flesh did not touch flesh only to satisfy sex starved perverts. She was back in a world where money was earned in return for goods or services, as a gesture of goodwill, or given as a donation, and not for illegitimate services. She had started to thrive in the world that she had seen from a tiny window. She wanted to live this moment.

Outside the station, she walked up to a food stall and ordered a cutting chai and a vada pav. She felt the soothing breeze in her hair. Unknown of the fact whether she will find her home again and if she does, will her mother recognise and accept her? The sky rumbled. She spread her hands like a bird wanting to take flight and welcomed the rains. Her tears were joined by the raindrops to create  small streams of happiness flowing through her cheeks.


The Treatment.

The rains lashed on the windows in a torrential rage. The rushing wind, blowing curtains and groaning patients in the ward created a howling melancholy that nullified the effect of anaesthesia on him a bit earlier than expected.

“Hold on. It won’t be long.” She said tapping his arm and removing the sphygmomanometer.

‘Remove this quickly, you bitch.” he stated in a rash voice trying to get rid of the instrument himself and flinging it away.

“You are a strange fellow.  I am just here to sign your discharge.” She maintained her calm.

“Where have you worthless guys got me?” He yelled, still in a trance holding his head in agony and pain.

“Well, you are disturbing other patients. Please remain calm.”

He gazed at her for a minute and submitted to her instructions “Hmm. Your face seems to be familiar.”

She ignored his stare and continued with her notes.  He attempted to sit back on his bed.  Intense pain oscillated in his abdomen

“Aarrgghh! What the f…? What have you filthy white coats done to me? All my nerves seem to be stretched.”

He held his stomach and sank back into the bed.

“We had to operate you. The police tortured you so hard that your internal organs were ruptured. “

“Those bastards hit me for no reason. Wait till I get out of this place.”

“No reason? Are you serious? Everyone in this hospital says that you are a habitual rapist.”

“That’s none of your business pretty. Take your stuff and get lost. “

“Yes I will go, but… didn’t you do it?”

“Did what? I just saw her. Got aroused.  Picked her up. That’s my usual piece of entertainment. But the slimy slut complained. She must have really deep contacts in the system. “

“Didn’t anyone report you before?”

“They must have. But I have my clout. My father is an influential person. Some refrain from complaining due to social stigma their reputation might gain. They also fear not getting married ever. “

“You don’t feel any remorse, do you?”

“Me? These girls are the ones who should have remorse. They commit mistakes by wearing short skirts and provocative dresses. I just help them realise…. “

“But the media reported that she was wearing her uniform on her way to school. ‘

“These school girls are ones who are inviting. Such smooth and creamy skin.  Soft and supple breasts.  Luscious thighs hiding cleverly under the folds of short skirts. I was just the hunter. I stalked her for many days. Nobody complained when she had fun with her boyfriend. When I took the advantage, they badged me as a culprit.”

“Your attitude has not shifted an inch. “

“What attitude? If you want to see my real attitude, then meet me alone, you hot stuff. I will show you my real power.”  He said mischievously, moving his outstretched tongue on his upper lip left to right.

“What power? Are you serious?” she grinned.

“Of course. Meet me once I am outta here. These injuries will fade out in quick time. “He smiled wryly.

Her grins had transformed into short continuous laughs.

“Nobody can even hurt me in the slightest fashion. “He declared.

“You should think before you speak. “

“What do you mean, bitch?”

“Remove those sheets and try to feel yourself below the belt, you son of a mangy dog. Then you would know.”  She said with a vengeance.

“Huh?” Fear crept up his senses as he scraped his hand down under.

He could touch and feel nothing. All his pride, his weaponry lopped off in precision. Angry and desperate, he began to beat his chest and cry incessantly.

“Now, control yourself. Else, the world would know that you are damaged goods. What would the society think of you? Who will marry you?”

“Stay quiet and drown in your remorse. This is a perfect treatment for animals like you.  Surely, some maniac would have boned a retard to pop out a scum like you. “She pressed her hand against his chest binding him to the bed.

“You pathetic f***ks, I will avenge this.”

“My darling, I had baked her favourite chocolate cake that day. But she chose to have sleeping pills instead.’ Her eyes moist as she mumbled to herself.

She flung his discharge papers on his face and began to leave.

Lightning opened up like a knot of white snakes in the charcoal sky, and thunder started to roll.

He kept cursing and shuddering, but she was already out of earshot.

The guide.

“The Guide” is a story of survival. It describes a scene in which a specialised search dog, trained to sniff out ammunitions and explosives, guides a patrol of soldiers through an infested area, to safety.

Thank you to the team of Spark Magazine for publishing my story.

A new beginning…


The nuptial night.

The erring rains.

His broken ankles made it a slow journey. Body cramps and abdominal pain made it lethargic for him to walk the two kilometres he initially traversed with his tractor. The scorching heat made the sweat ooze out of his frail body frame. He tried to soothe his parched throat by reaching out his tongue to the sweat that streamed through small trajectories on his wrinkled face.

The scavengers flew over his head, squawked and feasted on the carcases of his buffaloes. The smell of dead meat and old cow dung reflected in the air by the sun rays. What appeared to be his flourishing field was now a dead and barren desolated area. He had nurtured the piece of land that he had inherited as ancestral property as his child. He had seen it like his child growing from an infant to a toddler to an adolescent to a young man to an old swag.

Until four years ago, the rains sung melodies in his village. The showers bestowed prosperity on his fields and household. The showers sounded like the clinking of bangles and clanking of anklets making his and other children dance in the muddy puddles. He thought he had the riches for his generations. He flamboyantly celebrated festivals in the village. Every day was Baisakhi and every night was Diwali. His harvest of crops resembled an ever-blooming garden.

However, the happy days were short-lived. Last few years, the rains had been erratic. The rainwater harvesting project was yet to receive funding approvals. Until that time, his field was at the mercy of the rain gods.  He wished he could recite raag malhaar  like Tansen to ring in in the rains at his command. The village was scorched. His crops only needed a minuscule of rain for him and his family to survive and manage his loan repayments. Alas, for the second consecutive year, the rains played a truant.

Three years ago, unseasonal rain and hailstorm caused a significant loss of harvest.  The rain swamped away everyone’s home to make it’s own. The rain sang melancholy and screamed as it outflowed gulping down the villages in its path. His savings dwindled, and debts were ever increasing. Even the money spent on Godmen to bring in rains turned to be a vain attempt.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.

Global warming, increasing summer heat dried up the dams. Coupled with drought, his farm was converted into a worthless wasteland. The banks refused to give further loans. Cunning bank officers asked the Panchayat  (aka village council) to intervene. The head of the Panchayat colluded with the banks to ensure that bribes were paid to get loans, sometimes the bank officers asked for bribes on their own.Moneylenders charged extremely high rates of interest. Moreover, the conditionalities attached to loans were such that it proved impossible to avail loans once repayments on the previous loan defaulted.

He was blinded by the devilish force of prosperity and wealth so much that he never planned for any such adversities. Like an invisible dragon with dreaded teeth of terror and poison of hate, the rain had started to engulf him and his family.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.

Bottles of pesticide were beginning to gather mould. What was their use when there were no crops to protect? That morning, he shared a bottle with his family and chose to walk to his field. He couldn’t see his wife and kids suffer.

The thoughts of happy days reverberated in his mind as he reached his field, which now resembled a graveyard. He slumped to the ground. His brittle knees couldn’t bear his weight anymore. He landed on the field with the support of one hand. His palm scratched against the rocks to peel off his white kurta and brown skin.

The pain in his abdomen grew stronger and vacillated in his body. The blood that he vomited mixed with the dust. Finally, convulsions took over, and he transformed into the next feast for the vultures. Meanwhile, the anticoagulants had made his wife and kids lay in his home asphyxiated with a mouthful of froth.

Hopefully, the compensation guaranteed on his death will pay off the loans to banks and money lenders.

Only if the rains were seasonal and regular.

The Anti-Saviour.

It was awkward to work in a place where all you could see was people screaming and dying. One such person I was confronted with was Anita, a teenager, who suffered third-degree burns. The left side of her neck, face and hair were burnt to the bones. A spurned lover splashed a glass full of concentrated sulphuric acid on her. What remained was dripping flesh and charred bones. A beautiful girl, who was crowned Miss Photogenic in her college was permanently disfigured. She had become half blind, her hearing was impaired, throat toasted, and tongue burnt. Her soundless cries vented out as tears. A month and seventeen surgeries later, her senses didn’t improve. The pain was still a conscious throb. She could communicate only by writing. That’s how she gave all her statements to the law. Her family started living in penury. More surgeries were required. Her continuing misery and two-face visage made me thank God for the life he gave me. Her struggle was getting tougher. She was a courageous fighter, but she couldn’t let her family die with her.

During my routine visit one night, she gestured to communicate. I held a notepad as she wrote in broken letters ‘e u t h a n a s i a’. The ground shook below my feet. My hands trembled as I tore and trashed the paper.

“There is nothing I can do, Anita. The law doesn’t allow. They want you to live.”, I said with a thick throat holding her hand and slowly stroking it.  Her quiet cries filled the long silence that ensued.

Anita’s hollow eyes posed the same question every night. I knew how her intense pain crippled her bit by bit and I couldn’t see her suffer. One night, a sudden rush of emotions overpowered me. Fear and disgust tripped. Kindness and pity arrived. I injected a 10 ml air bubble into her drip and left.  Her perpetrator gave her a life sentence. I just ended it.

Since then, my conscience worked overtime giving me sleepless nights. Pangs of guilt left me cold making it difficult to move on.  One night at the hospital, I wrote my confession in an email to the Dean. Before I could click ‘Send’, I was startled by cries of Sonia. Her diagnosis reported cancerous growth of cells on the surface of her cervix. The tumour had grown, she bled abnormally and her pelvis throttled with pain. The virus caused heavy vaginal discharge, urinating issues, bowel problems, and a swollen left leg.

I took this as an escape route. Maybe Satan wanted me to save Sonia too. All she expected was an intravenous to melt in her blood and end her ordeal in a quick, painless and distinguished fashion. Again the law thought otherwise.  They wanted Sonia to die in agony. Continuous chemotherapy had made her fragile. Like Sophia, her struggle was getting tougher every day, but she wasn’t ready to give up. On one occasion, she finally whispered to me through her oxygen mask. “I don’t want to live.”  A deluge of tears spilled from her beautiful eyes. I knew how much distress she had bore. With weight on my chest and shivering hands, I removed her oxygen mask, sat back for a few minutes, placed it back and left.

By then, I had buried my conscience in its grave and wore a smile to work every day. For years, how many I don’t know, I continued to kill. It was agonising to see a four-year-old girl wailing because her innocence was assaulted, a recently married lady torched with blazes of greed, a would-be mother giving birth to a stillborn baby, and a 7-year-old bravely fighting leukaemia.

People know me as a doctor, a saviour, a guy in white coat, but in reality, I am a cold blooded murderer. Call it luck or the Devil’s favour, the law never got to me. But in my own court of justice, I can never acquit myself. I had a responsibility bestowed upon me, but I used my power against the law to sin instead of save.

We have a moral responsibility of keeping our patients alive as reflected by the Hippocratic or rather a hypocrite-ic oath. Are we supposed to relieve people from pain or let them die in agony? They are ready to see beautiful souls transform into dead bodies, but they are not willing to kill them with mercy. Do the lawmakers know how it feels when sulphuric acid is thrown on their face? What if their mother or daughter had genital warts that stung like thousand bees? Have they seen patients jerking with convulsions of oscillating tingles in their body? Have they seen them waking up at midnight, stuff a pillow inside their mouth to restrain their howls and avoid breaking other’s sleep?

Every night, fangs of agony inject poison of remorse inside me. My dead conscience nurtures nightmares of every killing. My hands shudder as I write this confession. No one, except you the reader, will know my ’sins’.

Okay, so where do I post this? I am here in some anonymous ward. It looks familiar. Seems as if I have been here for weeks or months. The door’s locked from outside. Why am I dressed in white pyjamas? Where is my coat?. My mind feels frozen. May be I have a condition. Oh, my eyes hurt. Maybe I haven’t been sleeping. There appears to be freedom outside this window. One big leap and I will join all those whom I killed and ask – Are you feeling any better? 


‘Homequake’ is to home as an earthquake is to earth. ‘Homequake’ is a story of two individuals, who try to make a home out of an apartment. However, life has some shocks and some surprises in store for them.




Neil’s head was reeling from a tiring work day. His hands ached and legs cramped from the long drive, amplifying the stress. The fragrance of lavender filled his senses as soon as he opened the door.  That was the one of her remembrances that somehow refused to leave the apartment.  Over the last month or so, he had become workaholic, an attempt to stay away from the recent memories. However hard he tried to forget, incidents of the last few months failed to evacuate his mind. His tears had dried up. Though it never showed on his face, inside him the skies were falling.

“This was once used to be our home”, he thought in distress and slumped on the couch.

Six months ago.

Neil and Sara had atypical arranged Indian wedding and a quick one as well. The families believed that there was no auspicious occasion for the next two years. Neil purchased an expensive city apartment for them to stay. He let go of his choice of a modest suburban apartment when he saw how awed Sara was by the joie de vivre of the city. He put in all his savings and stretched the limits of his home loan. The apartment was closer to Sara’s workplace and where her parents lived. He didn’t care if it took him two hours to drive to work. This little trouble was nothing for him compared to the magnanimity of love that he showered on her.

Together, they custom-made the sophisticated furniture, handpicked the elegant paintings, carefully chose the regal wall paint, selected upholstery that breathed fresh air, and thematically designed each of the three bedrooms to convert the apartment into a perfect love nest. Neil was submissive to every choice Sara made to make her feel contended. He found sublime happiness in giving in to her demands. Each room of their apartment was enveloped with their memories of togetherness. Her shapely figure, his brawn appeal. Her giggles, his smiles. Her coy glances, his flirtatious talks.

Four months ago.

Slowly, they fell into their daily routines. Both resumed their work after the honeymoon. Somewhere amidst the wheel of monotony, her love for him faded away and restrained emotions took its place.

One Sunday, while Sara was sleeping, her phone buzzed and Neil’s eyes latched onto a text message from her friend unknown to him, Riya.

“Are we on for today?”

The language of the message sparked his curiosity and made him unwillingly snoop on her phone. There were many sleazy messages and emails from Riya. Minutes passed by as he gathered his wits. He quickly marked the messages unread and shared Riya’s contact with himself. But Neil couldn’t muster up the courage to confront Sara on this. What if he was mistaken? It was out of his scope to believe that Sara would be bi-curious.

Next day, when he called on Riya’s number, a man answered. The ground beneath him shook. The messages and emails explained how deeply she was in love with another man, cleverly disguised as Riya.

From that day onwards, Neil began to lose trust in Sara. He discerned that they were growing apart in different directions. He used to look into her eyes, she used to look into his and quickly lower her gaze and start fidgeting with her phone. They smiled. They used to talk about the weather, places, people, things, just like strangers would do.  When he tried to come close to her, she either faded into a deep slumber or complained of a headache. He could sense a self-protective wall around her.


Neil lived a solitary life, for a purpose, unknown to him. He followed a routine like a robot. Wake up, go to work, return from work, eat dinner, drink, sleep. Their love nest had become a desolated apartment.

Another lonely night awaited him.  When he closed his eyes, he could still feel her lips on his. Then, the picture of her in their bed, with a stranger. Then, she laying dead in the same bed.

Two months ago.

Neil had come home to grab his id card he had forgotten to take to work, but what saw was his worst nightmare. His wife was with another man, under the sheets, in their bed, naked. He wanted to scream and shriek, but his voice was buried under his shattered heart.

‘How could things turn so drastically worse? Did she never love me? Was she two-timing me all the time? Was he same guy disguised as Riya on her phone?’, he wondered in broken thoughts.

As Neil introspected more, he was able to join the dots. Sara took advantage of his simplicity, honesty, unconditional love and belief. Perhaps she knew this man before their marriage and her parents never approved of him. There used to be occasions, before their wedding, where Sara wouldn’t answer Neil’s calls or suddenly cancel their dates. Many times, Sara’s phone would be busy, but Neil never questioned. His love was blind.

Neil was possessive about Sara. He never imagined her to be someone else’s. After that fateful day, Neil maintained the distance and never spoke a word to Sara. His wounds ran deep.

Sara asked for a divorce, in remorse, as if she knew somewhere in her heart that she cheated him. Their love nest had fallen.

One month ago.

Neil informed Sara via a post-it note that he will be away on a business trip for a two days. When he returned, he saw her dead, asphyxiated. The apartment had been ransacked. The cash and jewellery were missing. Neighbours and relatives were shocked to see such an end to what they thought was a fairy tale marriage.

Forensics were not surprised to find Neil’s hair in her nails and Sara’s bites on his hand. They just dismissed it for the quirkiness of a newly wed couple. Neighbours also gave an impression that all was well between the two.

The police ruled robbery as the motive and carried out investigations but came out, clueless about the thief and killer. Neil was stoic through all the inquiries and didn’t mention anything about Riya. He didn’t want to tarnish Sara’s image even in her death.

The love nest was irreparably crushed. What remained was a miserable apartment. The sophisticated furniture rotted, the handpicked elegant paintings were stained with cobwebs, the regal wall paint withered and upholstery gathered mould.


Another sleepless night tortured by her thoughts awaited him. His memories of the day when he last saw her flashed before him. He started the car and pretended to drive towards the railway station. Longing lust, lasting hate and persisted anger weaved a sinister plot in his mind. He parked the car at some distance. Leaving his mobile phone in the car, he walked back towards home. He knew the CCTV was under repair. He used his keys to enter. He made love to her one last time and strangulated her with her scarf. He rummaged the apartment and took the cash and jewellery, walked back to his car, drove back to the train station, and boarded his train. He disposed of the scarf somewhere along the journey. When he returned two days later, he raised an alarm.

Every day, the agony and guilt made him feel like a thousand snakes biting from within. That night he relieved himself of the despair with an overdose of sleeping medication. At least his soul could now wander peacefully.

Could the wounds have healed? Would anger have ceased to exist? Could the hearts be repaired?

The apartment was never destined to become a home. Instead, it shook and trembled under a quake of betrayal, deceit, and wrath, to finally become a grave.

Content Management: A Critical Enabler for Your Digital Business Strategy

A massive wave of digital transformation is emerging, and those organizations that can skillfully ride the wave will survive the game. To traverse these rather uncharted waters, it is imperative that organizations build up sufficient digital expertise.

Content management is one such enabler that empowers enterprises to maneuver through the digital transformation wave. Large organizations often spend millions of dollars and a lot of effort on managing content – both internal (such as policy documents) and external (such as marketing content). Maintaining, updating, and ensuring access to such content is both time-consuming and expensive.

This Executive Update, a publication of Cutter’s Data Analytics and Digital Technologies practice, presents a roadmap for content management.

This article is a Cutter Consortium paper authored by Amit Temurnikar. Cutter Consortium is a global business and technology advisory firm.

Click here to read the complete article.*

*The article can be downloaded after filling up a short registration form.