Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The Power of Tarot

                                          The Mystery Unfolds...

A Tarot deck contains 78 cards and these 78 cards hold millions of secrets!

People usually ask - How does Tarot work? What is the whole process like?

The straight answer is­­ – each card contains an image. It may show men, women, children, objects, nature, animals, expressions or some form of energy. And the Tarot reader has to understand the meaning and significance behind each image.

But as you go deeper, it becomes important as to how these cards relate to each other and what types of links exist between them. But the most important part is the intuitive interpretation of the significance of a particular spread. (For the uninitiated, what I mean by a spread is the particular way in which cards are laid for a specific reading. For example, it may be a three card spread or a five card one or a horseshoe spread or a Celtic cross depending on the nature of the question and the treatment it requires.)

The intuitive understanding is the most stellar part of a Tarot analysis. Therefore, the reader has to be a person endowed with a strong intuition. He also needs to be capable of a cool and calm reflection because you don’t carry out a reading in a disturbed state of mind. So, someone into prayer and meditation with a serene disposition has the right frame for this very interesting and intriguing job!

Recently, a married couple who were on the verge of separation approached me for a final overview of the situation and when I told them that despite all that had happened, their basic bond was still very strong, they were in for a shock. And as they gave frank and honest communication a chance, the misunderstandings melted away and the relationship soon stabilized.

But had they not consulted the Tarot, their relationship was as good as gone because through this mysterious science, they came to know a few facts about their life which were still not clear to them! This then gives you a lot of satisfaction that is, being in a position to help people understand themselves better. And as they understand themselves better and can see more clearly, they take better and sound decisions.

So, we come back to the original question?
How does it work?
Firstly, you build the question into the cards during the shuffling. In more contemporary terms, it is like customizing the cards or tuning them into the spirit of the question.
Then, as you proceed to read a spread, the imagery is so rich and diversified that it serves to throw light on multiple issues or multiple dimensions of a particular issue with its deep symbolism. It hides so much yet it reveals a lot!

And there are so many common threads in the ocean of collective unconscious that within no time, light begins to shine on different facets of a problem bringing in much needed clarity and insight. And we would do well to remember that both the client and the reader bring their own energies to the table which give a distinct flavor to every session.

Moreover, if there are any rough corners still left out, your intuition smoothens them out in a non-intrusive fashion. And deftly linking all the cards like the sparkling diamonds in a necklace, the final interpretation emerges akin to a magnificent story delving into the past, present and future, handling the finer aspects like a master storyteller with everything connected and leading to the ultimate outcome.

Once a reading has been handed over to the Querent or discussed with him, he would do well to read it a couple of times to grasp its full import and then offer his valuable feedback for either validation or further investigation.

And there is always a surprise or two, waiting for the client. For example, when a particular client was desperate to know what he should do in a certain situation, one of the cards he pulled out was ‘The Hanged Man’ which is a major arcana card of surrender. This meant that he was not required to do much at that point of time but be in a spirit of let-go and allow things to take their own course of action. So, this constant urge that life is not happening the way we want it to happen, this urge must be taken care of especially when ‘The Hanged Man’ appears in your reading.

Thus, life has this tremendous ability to surprise us at every turn and your Tarot reader points out such astonishing turns to you in an amazingly accurate fashion! You don’t go to Tarot to ask yes or no questions. No, Tarot is not meant for that. It is like a friend or an elder to whom you go for advice when you find yourself in a challenging situation. It gives you a bird’s eye view of the whole scenario and you become aware of many aspects of the issue which were earlier unknown to you.

The Tarot confirms certain things and opposes others thus giving you a balanced view where you become capable of taking the right decision. Moreover, the universe keeps sending you signals with respect to what is to come but our minds are so preoccupied with our constant chatter that we almost always fail to see or observe these omens, least of all understand their significance. Tarot has the power to make you aware of the missing links in your jigsaw puzzle.

And what is life after all? It’s a sum total of all the decisions which you have taken till now and would continue to take in future. While bad decisions stink, good ones are full of fragrance. And Tarot ensures that you reach out for this fragrance by gaining more and more clarity about where your life is going, be it your career, relationships, business, health or your spiritual journey.

So, I invite you to come and embrace the Power of Tarot and give your life a glimpse of new possibilities, fresh insights and awesome beginnings.

Note: The author can be contacted for a Tarot reading at nectarmks@gmail.com

Friday, 11 January 2019

An Ugly Face

Sameer rushed into the stuffy cyber cafe and looked around.

He was fair with light brown eyes and a cute chubby face. A lean cut below his lips disclosed that his early attempts at mastering the art of shaving were not yielding good results.
The cafe  interiors were painted in red and yellow while the small wooden cubicles bore a brisk white shade.
All the machines were occupied except one in the right corner.
He closed in with his heart pounding against his ribs and sank in the chair like a dead weight.
A few quick clicks and he was already at the bank site.
Some more hits at the keyboard and a message prompted him to enter the credit card number.
He took out a shining black card out of his pocket and examined it tensely.

He had stolen it from his father’s wallet in the morning while the later was out for his customary morning walk. The old man was scheduled to go to a friend’s place thereafter for breakfast.
This was the gap he needed to make the payment. 

He had also casually picked up his father’s mobile which was lying on the dining table. After all, he would be required to delete the ‘Transaction successful’ message! That would give him a breather and he could plant some more lies afterwards at his convenience.

Actually, he had lost a cricketing bet to a friend last week.

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon, a bit warm as he had lazed around in the college canteen with his gang, staring at a plasma screen hanging from a wall. There were loud whistles, shouts and claps at every run scored and every wicket lost. India was batting and he was sure as hell about its win. But a studious looking guy, wearing round rim spectacles didn’t seem to agree with him.
‘It’s South Africa all the way man,’ he said in a derisive tone, pushing back his glasses from the tip of his nose.
‘Come on, this game belongs to India!’
‘Bet?’ the studious looking guy thrust forward his hand challengingly.
There was a moment’s pause before Sameer made up his mind.
‘OK,’ he said as he clutched his opponent’s hand tightly.
‘How much?’
‘Two thousand.’
‘Make it five.’
‘OK, done deal.’
They struck their knuckles together one last time and turned their attention towards the screen again. The match had a nail biting finish, not meant at all for the weak hearted. But in the end, India lost.
‘I told you,’ the winner buzzed proudly, ‘now keep your words and transfer the money to my account.’
‘I need some time,’ Sameer said dejectedly.
‘How much?’
‘A week or so.’
‘Right buddy, let it be next Saturday then. But no more extensions, right?’
The guy chuckled maliciously and stormed out of the canteen.

The time raced by quickly.
He could neither lose his face at college nor inform his father about it.
So, he took the easy option out.
And huddled inside that congested cyber cafe, he pondered over his next move.

As he was so engrossed in his thoughts, a young kid, smeared in blue paint with a tiger cloth covering his loins, slipped inside the cafe. His hair was formed in to a bun at the top of his head and a silvery necklace ran around his neck with a rectangular mirror fixed in the center. He was carrying a small iron bucket which displayed a photo of Lord Shiva.

The owner took out a few coins from his desk drawer and tossed them into the bucket. The boy moved to other cubicles, collected his share and in the end, landed up at his desk.
As Sameer dropped a coin inside the bucket, his eyes traveled over the boy’s blue skin and then rested on the rectangular mirror hung around his neck.
He saw an ugly, dark face with long white teeth staring back at him.
He gave a start and rubbed his hands over his face frantically.
‘What’s the matter sir?’ the Shiva alike asked him with concern.
‘N…nothing,’ he stammered, stuffed the credit card into his pocket and staggered out.

When he reached home, his father was already there.
‘Where had you vanished?’
‘Papa, I…I need to tell you something.’
The old man looked at him carefully.
‘You seem to be tense.’
Sameer wiped off the beads of perspiration on his forehead with his sleeve.
‘I lost some money to a friend in a bet.’
‘In a bet?’
‘And to pay him back,’ he struggled hard with his words, ‘I …stole your credit card.’
He pulled out the card out of his pocket and placed it on the table.
His father gaped at him, his mouth slightly open. ‘Have you made the payment?’
‘But that’s what you wanted to do!’
‘When someone lies, he turns ugly. That’s what happened to me.’
The clock struck ten.
‘How much was the amount?’
‘Five thousand.’
‘Go, pay it.’
‘But papa…’
‘I said go.’

Half an hour later, as he stepped out of the cyber cafe, he again ran into the mini version of Lord Shiva.
‘Are you all right sir?’
‘Oh, yes!’ he said jovially and sneaked in to the mirror slung around the boy’s neck.
Someone fair with a chubby face smiled back at him.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Timeless - One Minute Short Film



A spacious apartment. JIMMY, 7, fair with blue eyes, sits at
the dining table,unpacking a small cardbox. KATE, 40, slim
with black hair, plonks next to him,watching him intently.

                         So, this box contains the most
                         exquisite watch in the world.

                        Grandpa showed it to me last time.

He pulls off the tape with his tiny, pinkish hands.

                        That was two years ago. Your
                        grandpa is no more now.

                         His helper, she has sent this box.

                        Poor woman!She had no choice.You
                        would neither eat nor sleep. You
                        just wanted that one thing.

Jimmy culls out a bulky wrist watch from the box. It sports
a worn out, brown leather strap and a scratchy glass dial.
He fiddles with the crown,the minute hand starts slithering.

                       See, I told you!

Kate stares at him in confusion. The doorbell RINGS.

                       Mom, I miss grandpa.

Kate purses her lips in despair and leaves.


Kate enters, a bit exhausted. Jimmy sleeps peacefully on a
large sofa.The old watch sits pretty on his wrist.He holds a
photograph tightly.It shows


She touches Jimmy's face softly.

                       This indeed is the best watch in
                       the world.

Jimmy smiles in his sleep.

                                                                                                         FADE OUT.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

How to Write a Novel

So, you want to write a novel! 
Let’s go into the nuts and bolts of it.

·         Remember, it all starts with a good idea. Something with a fresh twist or a new perspective. Once it catches your fancy, mull over it during your long evening walks, daydream about it while you catch that train and roll it over your tongue with a cup of strong coffee till the time it invites you and whispers softly in your ears: Hey, I am ready to be born.

·         Make sure that your idea has sufficient depth. After all, you are going to develop it into a draft of at least 60,000 words. If not, you may consider writing a novella or better still, a short story.

·         Write a detailed outline first and make sure that that your novel is well structured. Apart from the classic beginning-middle-end definition of the structure, there are many other aspects to be to be taken care of. I have written in detail about this particular aspect at 

·         Your beginning has to be appealing and catch the reader’s attention from the word go. Equally important is your ending which can be either open or closed. You can get a few more tips on this part at 

·         From the outline, move forward and write out your first draft. Be spontaneous and don’t check your creative impulse. Just carry on.

·         Your protagonist should be a go-getter and doer. Don't let him be a passive character. His goal should be clearly defined right from the beginning. And don’t try to make him perfect. Let him be a lovable human being with his own set of flaws. He may also have shades of grey and instead be an anti -hero. You can read more on this subject at my blog post 

·         Your hero is as strong as your villain. So, work on your bad guy and ensure that he makes your hero’s task as difficult as possible. You may also decide that your villain redeems himself towards the end.

·         Apart from the main plot, you may work on a few subplots as well which support and associate with the main plot. But there is no need to overdo this aspect.

·         Similarly, you have to develop a supporting cast of characters but let it not be an aimless crowd. Work on each one of them till the time they all stand out distinctly be it their physical appearance, their manner of speech or their idiosyncrasies.

·         Keep your first draft away for a while. Then, come back and start that most important of activities, that is, editing. Keep doing it till the time each and every sentence shines like a mirror and you are satisfied with the outcome. You may also like to reorder your scenes for better effect and may be, delete a few to cut down unnecessary flab.

·         This is also the time to start working on the book description. This is something which usually appears on the back cover of your novel and generally, it is the first thing that a reader notices about your writing. If it appeals to him, he buys the book straightaway. I for one decided to create a video for book description of my first novel ‘Babysitter’ in addition to a textual description.

You can watch this very interesting video at

·         You would also be required to take a few decisions like whether you wish to publish it as an eBook or as a paperback edition or both. I decided to publish ‘Babysitter’ as an eBook initially and kept the option for a paperback edition open once the novel started doing well. Here is the link for my eBook:

·         Last but not the least, writing a novel and getting it published is just one part of the game. You should now gear up to market your book as well. We would discuss this issue in one of my next posts.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Ashes - A Short Film



DAVID,40,plump and unshaven,lies on a black couch,eyes
closed.He frequently runs his tongue over his lips.

MARIA,35,fair and slim,wearing a white coat,sits next to him
on a revolving chair.She scribbles something on a notepad,
puts it aside and observes her patient with concern.

                    Hello,are you there?

                    Yes doctor.

                    Tell me what's happening.

                     I am having the same dream.

                    What do you see?

                     I see...a soldier.


David rushes along a black top road, PANTING.He stops to
catch his breath and glances sideways.

A huge soldier scoots towards him menacingly,sporting only a
loin cloth.A visored helmet covers upper half of his face.He
brandishes a large oblong shield and a curved sword.

David bumps off the road and enters a dense forest.He dashes
through thick foliage, the soldier on his heels.

Exhausted,he reaches a hill top and stares down into the
deep valley.He hears some FOOTSTEPS behind him.He turns.

The soldier stands at an arm's length.He gapes back into the
valley.He is trapped.The soldier strolls up to a heavy,brown
box lying nearby and TAPS it twice with his sword.

                    Open it.

David gawks at the box, his eyes full of terror.

                    Wh...what's inside there?

                     You can see yourself.

David staggers back.             

                     I know you want to kill me.

                     I can never kill you.

David now stands at the edge of the valley.

                    I don't trust you.

                    Don't move.

                    I hate you.

As he steps back further,he rolls down the yawning gap.His
SHRIEKS echo.The soldier runs up to the edge and SHOUTS.



David lies on the couch,SCREAMING.Maria holds his shoulders
and shakes him vigorously.

                   David,wake up.I say wake up.

David sits up on the couch with a jerk,GASPING. Maria hands
a glass of water to him.He GULPS it down in one go.

                   Feeling better?

He nods.

                   So this is the dream that rattles
                   you every night.

                    I see that soldier every hour
                    now.It's so scary - to see yourself
                    die.It's such a torture.

                   Why does the soldier say he can
                    never kill you?He chases you with a
                    sword,doesn't he?

                    He looks all set to stab me.It's
                    because of him that I slide into
                    that gorge.

Maria paces up and down in the room for a while,then halts.

                    Does the soldier resemble anybody
                    you know?

                    His face is half covered. 

                    But you hear his voice ,don't you?

He closes his eyes,then holds his head with both his hands.

                  Oh, no!

                  Come on,tell me!

David slowly rises and slithers up to the window.A dim
sunlight illuminates his stony face.

                   It's...my father.

                  Your father!Where is he now?

                   He's no more.

                  When was that?

                   He was in army.He died fighting
                   during Vietnam war.His body could
                   not be traced.

                   And where did he live?

                   In his native village - quite far
                   from here.My grandmother puts up
                   there now.
                   Six months back, I got a message
                   from her.She wanted to meet me
                   urgently but I could not go.

                  Since when are you getting this

                 For the last six months.

David turns sharply and grabs Maria's arm.

               You mean to say all this is

               You must visit your father's
               village immediately.There is
               something waiting for you there.

David gapes at her with his mouth half open.


David works his way through the narrow lanes of a small
village.Some passers by look at him suspiciously.

He stops in front of a two storeyed building and knocks at
the door.An old woman,70,opens the door and stares at him.


A spacious hall with wooden interiors.Young David's
photographs with his parents adorn the walls.His father
appears to be a well built, radiant young man.

David steps up to a photograph and covers the upper half of
his father's face with his fingers.


The soldier chasing David,his face half covered by a helmet.


David bites his lips.His GRANNY approaches him.

             I know what's troubling you.

David spins around.

            Your father comes in my dreams
             also.I need to show you something.

Slowly,she mounts the stairs.David follows her.She enters an

and opens the window.The diffused sunlight falls on a heavy,
brown box kept on a table.She touches the box softly.

            Open it.

David shudders.

           Come on son,you got to do it.

She hands a heavy iron key to David.With his hands
trembling, he turns the key inside the socket and lifts the

He stares down at a brass urn,it's mouth sealed by a piece
of bright red cloth.

          These are your father's ashes.

David CRASHES like a log into a nearby chair.

            Six months back,two military
            officers came and handed over this
            urn to me.I could touch my son
            again after twenty years.

Her eyes well up with tears.

           They wanted to conduct his last
            rites with full military honors but
            your father had always been against
            such ceremonies.So,I refused.

A white pigeon lands on the window sill and COOES softly.

           As per our custom, his ashes have
           to be immersed in the river which
           flows next to our village.

David gets up and takes the urn out of the box.He clutches
it tightly to his chest and starts CRYING uncontrollably.
Granny holds his arm and leans against his shoulder.


David sits in a wooden boat,holding the urn.An old man rows
the boat to the middle of the river.David rises, uncovers
the urn and releases his father's ashes into the water.

Suddenly,he notices the soldier standing near the bank.The
soldier takes off his helmet and smiles.It's his father.

He waves affectionately at David, turns and disappears into
the woods.

                                                                          FADE OUT:


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

What Are You Waiting For?

We all are waiting for something.
When I finished my schooling, I waited for a good college.
My future depended on it.
After that, I waited for a good job.
I had to prove myself.
Then, I waited for a beautiful and mature girl, someone who could handle me.
Together, we dreamed of a family.
Soon, our young daughter joined a kindergarten school. 
And then, a senior school.
In turn, she wanted a good college for herself and a well-paying job too.

How life keeps repeating itself!
I always wonder at it's cyclical nature!
How we keep moving from one milestone to the other.
And all that is worthwhile happens as we travel from one check-post to the other.

But what happens once you reach there?
You start looking for something else again.
Cars, homes, careers.
Status, power, money.
You desire everything.
And when you reach there, once you get it - your mind starts wandering again.
It starts desiring and dreaming.
It again starts waiting.
But what for?

It seems that cars, homes, jobs, power, money or status are not what you are actually looking for.
The thirst is for something else.
The wait is for something else.

As my experience grew richer, and I witnessed different colors and shades of life, I fathomed that what I really wanted to know was this : Who am I and what is the purpose of my life?

Gradually, I realized that while we might all look different externally, we are exactly the same from inside.
And so are our capabilities.

I began to feel a kind of oneness with the world and the people around me.
I was not separate.

With this, a number of maladies like anger, jealousy and hatred, began to leave me.
And these were replaced by understanding and compassion.
If you are one with the world around you, then who would you be angry at?

As for the purpose of my life, I realized it through my passion.
Whenever I picked up the pen, I felt a kind of intensity and involvement which no other action garnered for me.
After finishing a piece of writing, I felt as if I had gone beyond all my boundaries.
I felt light, like a bird exploring the boundless sky.

Now, as my experience turns deeper day by day,
I feel that  my wait is finally getting over.
My thirst may finally be quenched.

And I may finally transcend all my limitations.
Because that's what the heart desires.
And that's what the whole business of life is all about.

And that's what I have been waiting for.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The White Napkin

It was the first thought that struck her as she woke up.
He was gone. And soon, this house with all its memories would be gone as well. It was the strangest feeling ever.
She glanced at the empty wheel chair.
His half paralyzed body, sunken eyes, dark lips and an expression that remained suspended between despair and false hope– everything came alive for a moment.
She went outside in the garden. The red old hibiscus smiled back at her. The still delicate mango tree swayed gracefully, its soft green leaves rattled by a mild wind. She remembered how she had once planted the young sapling in the brown earth while he managed the watering can.
She stared at her house for a long time – a solo, white and blue, hut shaped bungalow in South Goa against the backdrop of Sahyadri Mountains. River Sal flowed at a walkable distance. The next house was around five hundred yards away. In this faraway world, one could exist as if he did not.
All this was set to fade away as she had already sold the place to a Gujrati businessman. Once he was gone, she did not have the heart to live there alone.
As she strolled up to the mango tree and ran her hands nostalgically over its stem, the events of last three months began to unfold in her mind like a fast paced movie.

The first time he had mentioned a combination of barbiturates and muscle relaxant to her, she could not understand. After all, she was not a doctor, he was.
A renowned orthopedist at Mumbai, he had met with a terrible car accident one dark night while returning from a social get-together. His wife died on the spot from a severe head injury. Both his legs were paralyzed and his right arm got badly mauled.
From thereon, he vegetated.
It was a fall from grace for a medical practioner of his stature. As someone who had spent all his life mending broken limbs, he had most of his own body shattered and rendered immobile.
Perched permanently on top of a wheel chair, he was always dependent on somebody or the other for his daily chores be it using the toilet, washing himself, eating or even going to bed.
Gradually, he became quite restless and irritable. He shouted and found faults with everyone around him.
‘Don’t think I am an idiot! I can do it better than you.’
Soon, they all got fed up and left.

That was the time his daughter decided to leave her studies and take care of him. She was merely sixteen at that time but her presence reassured him. He did not feel belittled by her efforts.
Quite mature for her years, it was her decision to move to Goa where she could keep her father away from the judging eyes of people.
The seclusion and the deep sea calmed him down. The ever present frown on his forehead slowly melted away and was replaced by a faint smile. But at the same time, an abysmal feeling of guilt secretly started eating into his guts.
As the young girl would push his wheel chair laboriously in the evenings along the blue waters of Cavelossim beach, he would stare at the distant horizon and remark, ‘My own life has no meaning but I have spoilt yours as well.’
On all such occasions, she would bend down and kiss him tenderly.
‘I love you papa.’

But his heart would ache every time he saw a girl her age walking with her boyfriend, hand in hand, laughing and kicking at the sea waves.
‘Oh God! Is she meant to slog at this damn wheelchair all her life?’
The torturous possibility would flash across his mind a thousand times.
Even though he rarely shared his innermost concerns with her, she knew what was troubling him. But she had learnt to live her life one day at a time – the future her father was worried about simply did not exist for her. However, she had started noticing a sudden tightening of muscles around his eyes which for some reasons frightened her.

She particularly remembered the day he had announced unceremoniously, ‘We have a guest tonight.’
‘Yes, an old friend. She is just curious to find out whether I am dead or alive.’

The friend in question was a graceful surgeon in her early fifties. They had studied medicine from the same institute. Melinda was a widow and settled at Mumbai. She had some property at Goa which she visited every now and then.
She arrived in time and shook his left hand warmly. She had a sour and sweet voice and spoke like a school principal.
‘So how are you tiger?’
‘Tiger?’ he laughed, may be, after a century. ‘I am no tiger now, just a poor lamb.’
‘And how are you, my pretty woman?’
‘I am fine aunty.’
‘Your father tells me that you are the most devoted daughter in the world.’
‘Are you serious?’
‘Of course I am. You can ask him if you like.’
They both turned towards the wheelchair.
‘Golden words are never repeated,’ he chuckled merrily.
‘Come on,’ Melinda threw up her hands in the air, ‘don’t be a snob.’
‘No, I am not.’
‘Aunty, tell me, what would you like to have?’
‘Wine,’ he butted in on her behalf, ‘red wine. Am I right madam?’
‘Yes sir.’

As she sipped her wine, she explained that she was there to attend a conference on Euthanasia.
‘Really?’ the pretty woman exclaimed, ‘I have heard about it before.’
‘Sure you have. It’s something that concerns each one of us.’
‘But it’s still illegal in India, isn’t it?’ he asked curiously.
She relaxed back in her chair. ‘That’s correct but the ethical dimension of the question is quite important. As per the dictionary definition, it is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. The choice is generally exercised by the patients who are terminally ill.’
‘But aunty, who are we to decide whether a person should live or not? This life is nature’s gift to us, the way we have no control over the act of our birth, the act of dying is equally inevitable.’
The old woman appreciated the force of her argument with a nod. ‘But how justified we are in prolonging a man’s agony, knowing fully well that he may never recover?’
‘It’s very easy to say all this. But when that someone is your mother or father or a friend, you would keep your hopes alive till the very end. Won’t you?’

Her father interjected. ‘Ladies, that’s the right or wrong of it. But Melinda, I want to know how it is actually performed.’
‘Methods differ but the one I know about is where first an injection is given to render the patient comatose, followed by a second injection to stop the heart.’ 
‘And how does it actually work?’
Anybody could see that it was too basic a discussion between two experienced doctors.
‘The patient usually dies as a result of anoxemia caused by the muscle relaxant.’ 
The youngest participant in the discussion had by now realized that the discussion was being held solely for her benefit.
‘Would you have some more wine?’ her father asked Melinda warmly.
The conversation then drifted towards one Mrs. Molly Fernandez who had bought a cashew field nearby.

From that point onwards, whenever he glanced at her, his eyes had only one appeal.
She would immediately shift her gaze every time it happened.
She knew that she could not help him in this mission.
More than twelve years had passed since she had moved to Goa.
Every day she got up, she had only one goal – to keep him going.
She knew he was failing.
She also knew that she won’t be able to evade his plea for long.

It happened that evening.
She was pushing the wheelchair along the beach when a young boy waved at her. She went up to him and touched his red, chubby cheeks tenderly. The toddler beamed back at her, his hazel brown eyes full of wonder.
From that distance, she saw her father trying to pick up a white napkin that had slipped out of his hands. He could not. As he lugged at it again, the wheelchair toppled and he crashed into the silvery sand.
Horrified, she sprinted up to him and helped him back into the wheelchair.
He was breathless. His wrist had got scratched and a string of bright red droplets glistened on the top. A thin layer of tears marked his eyes.
That day, his sheer helplessness struck her quite bluntly.
That day, she could not evade his eyes.
She knew he won’t be able to pick up that napkin even if he carried on for another twenty years.
He sat there staring into the deep blue sea that seemed to stretch up to infinity.
Then, without turning, he caught hold of her hand and pressed it against his lips.
‘Please,’ he whispered, ‘Melinda would help you.’

What she received from her a week later were two small bottles and a syringe neatly packed inside a grey tin box.
If she gave this box to him, she would be assisting him.
She would help him end his suffering forever.
‘Are you being selfish?’ a part of her demanded.
After all, it was going to end her suffering also.
But all she could conclude was that her father was as dead that day as he would be a couple of years later and the white napkin that had slipped out of his hands at the beach, would always remain beyond his reach.
However, she lacked the courage.

As time passed, she willed herself into thinking that she had never received any such parcel. But one evening, as they were leaving for their customary walk, he reminded her.
‘Which box?’ she pretended, her voice cracking.
He just looked at her, an ocean of love brimming in his eyes.

As she pushed the wheelchair along the beach, golden sunlight from a setting sun surrounded them from all sides. The child with chubby cheeks was there again and waved at them energetically.
Soon, it turned dark.
It was a moonlit night. They were near a shack where a row of plastic tables had been arranged along the sea shore, each table showcasing a burning candle at the top protected by a glass cover. A soft romantic number played in the background. A small group of revelers danced around a bright bonfire some distance away, others sat on the tables.   

They moved beyond the shack and stopped.
The flickering candle lights were still visible, the music faintly audible.
She hugged him tightly and started crying like a small baby.
‘You can’t go like this,’ she sobbed, ‘I would be left all alone.’
He patted her back fondly. ‘I would always be with you my child, always.’
He wiped off her tears with his fingers and held her face between his hands.
‘Won’t you say good bye to your papa?’
She managed to smile through her tears.
‘Good bye papa. I’ll miss you.’
‘I’ll miss you too.’

With hands trembling, he opened the grey tin box and took the first shot in his right arm.
The sea waves roared as if angry with the world at large.
As his eyes began to close, he took the second shot. Slowly, his head tilted to one side and he drifted into a deep sleep.
She turned the wheelchair and pushed it forward.
As they passed by the shack, a gallery of fireworks began to explode overhead. A large array of skyrockets rushed up and busted into multi colored flames, cracking loudly. The crowd clapped and hooted merrily, someone whistled.
It was celebration time.

Three months later, as she handed the keys of her bungalow to a fat Gujrati businessman and moved out, she saw Melinda approaching her from a distance.
‘You are a very courageous girl,’ she said, holding her hands.
‘Am I?’
‘Yes, and compassionate too.’
A hired van was parked at the gate.
The driver was busy loading her luggage into the boot.
As he lifted the folded wheelchair, he examined it with suspicion and scratched his face. ‘Do you really need it madam?’
She nodded. ‘Yes, I do.’
As she slipped into the back seat, she glanced at her home one last time.
There, she saw her father, dressed in a white, luminous garment, standing near the mango tree, smiling and waving at her affectionately.
A solitary drop of tears ran down her cheeks.
She waved back at him and smiled.                    

He playfully flashed a white napkin at her which he had finally managed to pick up from the beach.

The Power of Tarot

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