Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Brothers

Mr. Ontoya nervously paced up and down in his one-bedroom flat at the third floor of Manfred Towers, Johannesburg, South Africa. He'd just received news that his brother had escaped from Central Prison and was coming for him. As he walked to and fro, his friend the police commissioner Mr. Gordon called and asked him to calm down and the police were taking control of the situation.

Tim Ontoya was a linguistics professor at the University of Johannesburg. His brother, Njubwe was a corporate chief of a local company. Ontoya was very close to Njubwe that they always called each other own to symbolize their brotherhood. While Njubwe was married to a girl named Bridget, Ontoya preferred to stay single and have fun. Three years before, in a freak accident, Ontoya had unknowingly crashed into Bridget's car while making out with a student of his. The accident had killed Bridget and Ontoya and his "girl-friend" fled the scene.

Ontoya hid the matter from his brother and tried to use Mr. Gordon's influence to remove all the evidence from the place of accident. Njubwe was so disturbed by this that he almost tried to commit suicide, but was stopped by Ontoya from doing so. Njubwe was then sent to a rehabilitation center to recuperate with Bridget's loss. For 2 months, Njubwe was doing fine, when one day, he suddenly disappeared from the center without any trace. All the efforts made by Ontoya to find Njubwe were in vain.

One day, Ontoya was waiting in his flat for Mr. Gordon's visit when Njubwe turned up through his bedroom window holding a knife in his hand.

Ontoya : Own !!! Where were you, and why are you holding a knife in your hand ???

Njubwe : Don't act sweet you piece of dirt !!! I know what you did to Bridget.

Ontoya (Frightened) : What ??? What are you speaking own ???

Njubwe (Angrily) : Don't call me that !!! You've betrayed me !!!

Ontoya (With a stammer) : But.... But.......

Njubwe (Interrupting, tears rolling down his eyes) : I heard you speaking on the phone with that police friend of yours. How could you do that to me ???

Njubwe held up his knife, ready to strike...

Ontoya : Please, don't.... I did it for your well-being.

Suddenly, the door opened, and three police officers stormed in, followed by Gordon. Apparently, someone had seen Njubwe climbing up the window of the towers and had called the police. They attacked Njubwe and over-powered him. During the arrest, Njubwe was smiling throughout and said to Ontoya, "We'll meet again."

Almost a year and a half had passed since this incident and the very mention of Njubwe's name sent chills down his spine. Now that Njubwe had escaped, Ontoya was frightened for his life. He closed all his windows, and started to frequently see through the peek-hole of his door observing for any signs of Njubwe. Gordon had put two police officers in patrol near his house, and they were standing in the entrance of Manfred Towers carefully watching out for Njubwe.

Three days after Njubwe had escaped, Ontoya was still afraid for his life. The two officers became good friends of his and were regular visitors. The next day, Ontoya received a knock on the door, and through the peek hole, Ontoya saw that one of the police officers were standing with his back exposed. Something about the scene did not seem right to Ontoya and he took the reserve pistol that he always kept for security and opened the door.

The police officer turned front, and revealed himself to be Njubwe !!!

Njubwe : We meet again, betrayer.

Ontoya : Own, please don't hurt me. I am really sorry for what I've done. We can talk this out. Trust me.

Njubwe : No, talking doesn't solve anything. You have to die.

Ontoya : Don't do this own. Otherwise, I have to take drastic steps.

Ontoya held out his gun & pointed it towards Njubwe.

Njubwe (relaxing himself and straightening up) : Go on, kill me. I know you won't. Because fate wants us to live as brothers, even though we are not having the same parents.

Ontoya was scared now. What Njubwe had said was right. They were not real brothers. Their fate entangled them to be like brothers. Both Ontoya & Njubwe were the last surviving "Pure" members of the Zuoh Tribe that originated in North Africa. All the other members were either "Impure" or dead, which removed them from the tribe altogether. Pure members had parents who belonged to the Zuoh Tribe, and were allowed access to all the tribal practices and customs. People who married other tribals were considered as impure people and were banished. In order to keep the Zuoh rituals and customs secretive, the impure people were given a secret herbal medicine which removed all their memories of the tribe.

Due to the stringent rules of their community, only Ontoya & Njubwe remained. Ontoya loved the Zuoh language so much that he started teaching the language at the University of Johannesburg. Zuoh was a complicated language which required 16 years of rigorous practice for mastery.

Ontoya : If we die, our entire community and culture dies with us, own.

Njubwe : Let it die. After all, nobody cares about us.

Ontoya & Njubwe were always at loggerheads whenever they spoke about this situation. It led to frequent fights and debates between the two of them.

As the atmosphere between them got tense, both of them pointing guns at each other, a knock on the door was heard. Njubwe turned around to see when Ontoya all of a sudden, reached out for his pocket and took out a small stick with holes at each end. As Njubwe turned to face him, he aimed the blow stick at Njubwe & blew at it. The dart hit Njubwe's exposed neck and he fainted. Ontoya went to him and whispered in his ears,

"You shall forget everything about Bridget"

The herbal medicine which was given to the impure members had the power to wash out the memory of anything in the brain. Ontoya had used it as a last attempt at saving his community. Technically, Njubwe was impure as he'd married Bridget, but Ontoya helped him regain his pure status by using the herbal medicine. The doors were broken down and police emerged. But Ontoya asked Gordon to leave the premises and that everything had been solved between them.

As Njubwe awoke from his hospital bed, Ontoya was sitting by his side.

Njubwe : Own, what happened ??? Why am I in a hospital ???

Ontoya (Happily) : An accident took you to a coma and you've been like this for over four years, Own !!!

Njubwe : Even though we are having different parents, we are truly brothers !!! Thanks a lot for taking care of me, Own !!!

Ontoya (Tears emerging from his eyes) : Please promise me, whatever happens between us, we'll never turn on each other, ever !!!

Njubwe : Yes, Own. Nothing can separate us !!!

Note to the Reader :
Due to the advent of other languages, our own languages die. And with that, our entire customs, culture and traditions are lost. We must learn to respect them and pass it on to the next generations. Or else, the same situations that the heroes of this story undergo, will happen with our future generations. This story was meant to convey this idea in a simple manner.

Disclaimer :
All characters are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Stalker

7.30 am

11 hours later, the fateful event was going to happen.

The man kneeled down near the bush, hiding from plain sight. He was wearing a brown shirt and blue jeans, with a 6-D Canon camera hanging down from his neck. It was almost time the lady emerged from the house. As the man waited impatiently, the sun smiled in the sky and clouds were moving along like herds of sheep. A cuckoo was singing in the background, and the man was getting angrier every second.

7.45 am

Suddenly, the doors of the house opened, and two guards came out, inspecting the environment cautiously. The man further tried to hide near the bush, while the lady came out after giving a kiss to her powerful husband. The man took photos of the whole scene from his hiding. The lady walked down the stairs hurriedly alongwith her fully suited bodyguards into her car which set forth.

The man stood up, and ran towards his moped parked nearby. He'd bought the moped two years ago, feeling that it would help him swerve through the huge amounts of traffic. He rode it fast, taking a different route than the lady's car in order to prevent suspicion.

9.00 am

9 and a half hours to go...

The moment the lady came out of her car, the massive crowd of children rushed towards her asking for her autograph as she walked into the school auditorium escorted by her guards. The man watched at her from a corner of the auditorium, all the while taking photos of hers from his camera.

The lady began her speech and was speaking about how children play a big role in determining the country's future. The man was disinterested in all that she was saying and quickly started munching a bar of chocolate taken from his pocket.

9.50 am

Almost 9 hours for the unexpected event...

The lady got down from the stage after a big round of applause from the crowd and started signing autographs. The man struggled through the crowd of fans as he tried to get a clean view of her. His feet were spraining and sweat was trickling down from his fore head.

The lady was then escorted towards a big dining hall where she was served with the finest dishes. The man stood outside the window, sadly eating the piece of hamburger he'd bought on his way towards the school.

10.30 am

The lady went in her car to the spa as the man rode on his moped, silently stalking her from a distance. He reached the place earlier and was leaning down on his moped. The lady emerged from her car a few minutes later and went into the world famous spa. The man clicked pictures of her as she walked.

2.30 pm

5 hours were remaining...

The lady came out of the building, her skin glowing under the sun and her face looked even more brighter than before. The man was still standing near his moped, his knees shaking due to tiredness and his fore head full of sweat, which made him look like a construction worker who'd spent hours working under the sun.

The car driver began the car and the lady was on her way to the house. The man was now riding his moped slowly, but managed to keep in pace with the lady.

3.15 pm

The man parked his vehicle in the same place he'd left in the morning and went towards his hiding. The lady arrived and went into the house. He went near the windows of the house so as to get a clear view of the lady. The lady began to move here and there, as the man clicked pictures of her.

In less than three hours, something the man had never expected was about to happen.

6.27 pm

The two daughters of the lady arrived in their car as the man hid in the tree nearby. The lady came out of the house and greeted her daughters cheerfully. The man was reminded of his own little daughter who was 4 years old, but he felt unhappy that his wife had divorced him when their daughter was only 6 months old. That was the last time he'd seen his daughter.

Minutes from now, the lady would make eye contact with the man. As she kneeled down to converse with her daughters, she gazed at him clicking photos of them. The man suddenly felt a cold feeling gripping his heart as he realized she was looking at him. For a few micro-seconds, they made eye contact with each other. The lady quickly stopped staring at him and concentrated on her daughters instead.

6.45 pm

As the lady went into the house with her daughters, something vibrated within the man's pocket. He took out his cell-phone and read the name "Patricia" on its screen.

He answered, "Hello !"

An pretty much robotic voice replied, "David, we need the photographs NOW !!!"

He asked with a stammer, "Um, where should I bring them ?"

Patricia said, with anger in her tone, "You know the drill, David. Same place, same time, nothing more, nothing less."

Before David could say anything, the line was rudely cut off. He kept the phone in his pocket and hurried towards the place where he always met Patricia.

7.58 pm

David sat on the stool, drinking a can of Coco Cola, holding the memory card of his camera enclosed within a small cover in his other hand. A rather attractive woman emerged from around the corner, wearing a suit which made her look even more beautiful. David had always wondered why such a woman had never married in her life. He held out his hand to throw the can into the dust-bin nearby, when someone commented,

"Looks like you've quit your drinking habit, David."

David threw the can and stood up, "Yeah, high blood pressure makes you take such decisions."

Patricia's lips curved into a smile, "I've always loved your sense of humor !!!"

David kept the memory card onto Patricia's hand and said, "See ya tomorrow, Pat !!!"

8.15 pm

Drops of sweat trickled down David's head and wet spots could be seen in his shirt. A large crew of people were standing in a long queue behind David, as he held out his I.D. card which read,


He went for his moped after completing all the security clearances. He felt satisfied since it was the 38th day of his tenure as the official photographer. He avoided being seen by the First Lady as it made him feel like a stalker. Many of his photographs were taken to capture the most unseen, realistic moments of the First Lady and they were appreciated worldwide. As he reached his home, he went to bed early to get enough sleep for yet another tiresome day ahead.

Note To The Reader :

This story was inspired by an episode of the National Geographic program, "INSIDE". This was written to convey to the reader that, "The collective hard-work of a large number of people results in the success of an individual." The U.S. President is a very powerful person, but behind his success, the hard work of many people remains unnoticed. This story has shed light on one such person, the official photographer of the First Lady.

Disclaimer :

All characters are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead, is purely coincidental.