Category Archives: literature

The Sculptor and the Sandman: A novel as much about psychosis as about the human condition

Last night I somehow got inspired, brushed my manuscript that was written about 6 yrs earlier, and in a span of just 4-5 hrs was able to create a sell able paperback book out of it, all thanks to new publishing tools like the Of course, the manuscript, had been read/ re-read, revised and edited by me, all these years, so I’m sure the quality of the product would be great.

Some of you may be aware that I write prose and poetry and have a poetry focussed blog called The Fools Quest. Perhaps, the right place to promote my novel, The Sculptor and the Sandman, would be that blog, instead of the mouse trap; but then again, that novel is as much a piece of fiction, as it is a psychological treatise- my view of what psychosis is, how it manifests and what some of the triggers may be. The tale is grounded in my undersantding of the psychotic condition and I am sure that my readers with exclusive interest in the psychologcial aspects would still find reading that novel worthwhile. Of course, I know that many of your are multi-dimensional, and value arts, as much as science, and reading the novel would be an artistic pleasure in itself- even when not being bogged down by the psychological aspects and the truth or falsity of my depiction of the psychotic condition – the novel can be enjoyed in its own right . Reading it may also help you connect with me on a different level- exposing aspects of myself that were never apparent while reading the mouse trap.

As always I would love feedback, reviews etc and would sincerely request that you give the novel a try. The paperback edition is priced at $10.80 and a downloadable version is priced at $2.50; I am sure it would prove value for money and you will end up buying further copies for your friends and recommending it to others. It is at present just available at , but soon will be available at all other major stores like

You can read an excerpt from the novel at the site and here is the blurb from the back cover:

The sculptor and the sandman is a fable set in the India of the twenty first century. A tale of passion, obsession, madness and rebellion, the story revolves around how the protagonists move in and out of madness, competing as well as caring for each other, and how their life becomes inextricably twined with that of the narrator, a coconut water vendor.

A tale in which episodes of frank psychosis seem more understandable and reasonable than the unbearable normality of everyday life, the tale is a grim reminder of how misunderstandings and malice work together to weave the different strands of our life together and how silver linings are present in the darkest of clouds hovering over the horizon.

Seen from another perspective, the tale documents different approaches to find meaning and value in this modern world, a world devoid of absolutes. One approach may seem more absurd and futile than the other, but perhaps it is not so much about the ‘right’ value system or frame of meaning, as it is about the need for ‘a’ value system or a frame of meaning- to each his own cross.

Please, Please, Please do read the novel (for that you’l need to buy it!), share it with others( if you indeed like it) , recommend/review it on your blogs and do send me comments, either using this page, the lulu reviews page etc or by directly sending your comments to me at, even if the comments are not positive or encouraging. Any feedback is much better than no feedback. Depending on the feedback, I have the sequel to the sculptor and sandman already in draft stage but I need some reassurance as to whether the efforts are worthwhile and whether  there is a need and appreciation for this type of writing.

Ig Nobles, good Science books and good banned books

This is just an FYI post regarding a few things I found worth sharing.

First on, there happened recently, an Ig noble prize ceremony and the recipients included Dan Ariely, the author of predictably irrational, for his research showing that expensive placebo medicines work better than inexpensive placebo medicines. Other interesting researches honored include research showing that coco-cola kills sperms and that playing sounds that gel while eating something (like ocean waves while eating turkey) make the food tastier. Also some research that shows that exotic dancers earn better at the peak of their fertility cycle. to me all of this seems very interesting and rational research, but let us enjoy the spirit of the Ig noble and not start using coca-cola as a contraceptive.

Next, we have a list of five great and worth reading science books by readwriteweb: While I have read GEB, the others are still on my reading list especially Stuart Koffman’s book At home in the Universee and Complexity by Waldrop. would love comments from my readers as to how they have found the above books, and what additional books they would suggest.

Finally, to celebrate the banned books day, Time recently published ten most banned books and it seems I am quite perverse in my tastes because some of the best books that I have read, and which are my fondest, belong to the list. The list includes 1984, Brave New world, Lolita and The Catcher in the Rye , all of whom I simply adore. I was surprised to find children’ s books like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter series included there, as having read and enjoyed them, I couldn’t imagine why they could have been controversial. Now, I know from where to choose my reading titles. Next on my reading list I know why the caged bird sings.

Love and bond

The blogosphere and the news tabloids are abuzz with the latest discovery that Vasoprassin may serve a similar role in humans as it does in prairie voles, when it comes to pair bonding. While , it might be true that ‘if you love someone , set him free’ a more strategic and evolutionary sound strategy is to keep him bound in a pair-bond. The females do this, by somehow , releasing Vasporossin in their partners brain and when this vasporossin binds to its receptors in the Brain, it leads to more bonding and pro-social behavior by the male.  

A recent PNAS paper has implicated the vasoprassin receptor gene alleles for some variation in the marital bond. Read the excellent Not Exactly Rocket Science post for more details. Interestingly the gene variant , while conferring lower marital bond probability, also ups the risk for Autism. The mechanism underlying this must therefore be social – as social difficulties in Autistics may be related to this. This leads to the interesting hypothesis that people with Psychosis may have a stronger version o this pair-bonding receptor gene and thus may be less prone to depart ways, once a pis bond has been formed, and this may explain why despite low chances for procreation, the genes for schizophrenia may be carried out as the limited number of offspring’s are more heavily invested in by parents due to a stable pair bond.
But I digress, let this Post be about Love and what better way to celebrate that with a ‘Prairie voles in Love’ poem by Scicurious!

Overcoming the Monster- Indian style!

Thanks to Vaughan, I spent a greater time of my day researching the ‘basic plots’ that are behind all good stories. Regular readers of this blog, would know that I am a sucker for ‘five basic’ or ‘eight basic’ anything (with a variation that ‘seven basic’ is also accommodated as, as per my theory the eighth basic may be on a different qualitative level and thus likely to be missed!

The original Mind Hacks post was regarding Levitin’s new book that claims that there are only six basic types of songs: Friendship, Joy, Comfort, Knowledge, Ceremony/religion/ritual and Love, but I strayed from the main course and started savoring the eight basic dramatic plots served by Dennis Johnson: Cinderella, Achilles, Faust, Tristan , Circe, Romeo&Juliet, Orpheus and the Irrepressible Hero (The FOOL anyone?) (all but the last named after famous characters). It wasn’t long before I was reading ‘The Seven Basic Plots’ by Christopher Booker.

The seven basic plots Booker outlines are : Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage & return, Comedy, Tragedy and Rebirth. while I’ll most probably write more on the topic after reading the whole book , I would like to comment now on the first plot: ‘Overcoming the Monster’ .

In this, typically a Hero is pitted against a monster, whom he slays to win a princess/ treasure / kingdom etc. While reading this plot, two famous Lord Krishna myths immediately flashed before me:

The first is the myth of how Satrjit’s Mani (pearl) came in possession of Jambvant and how Krishna fought and defeated Jambvant to defend himself from the false theft accusation of the pearl. Now this is no ‘traditional’ overcoming the monster myth as Jambvant is no monster- rather he is a revered chiranjivi being. Also, Jambvant is not killed, but gracefully withdraws from the fight after realizing the ‘god’ nature of Krishna. Howvere, like traditional ‘overcome the monster’ plot, there is treasure guarded and a princess (Jambvati , the daughter of Jambvant) married after the defeat. This time another princess (two marriages!) Satyabhama, who is the daughter of the King Satarjit, is also married to Krishna. Krishna, of course doesnt take the pearl (treasure) buts ends up with two wives! So some form of the plot is there, but not in its entirety. Also, the whole narrative is pre-ordained as Krishna saw moon during inauspicious time, so the take home is that there is no real evil or fight involved – it is all Maya or illusion!!

The second ‘overcoming the monster’ myth is again from Krishna myth. This time the monster is indeed really monstrous-a big, venomous serpent called Kaliya, and like traditional story the kingdom and the common people are troubled by this serpent; but in this case also no death of Kaliya is involved: he is just tamed and sent to a different place; also it seems Kaliya was there because of fear of Garuda, so again Kaliya per se is not ‘really ‘ evil and all is Maya.

I like this circularity and ‘fictional maya-like’ view of things of Indian culture very much and I am sure the other plots would also have been similarly adapted by Indians: circular and without any ‘real’ ‘evil’ lurking around.

My first book published!!

No, its not a Psychology/ Neuroscience book….It is a poetry book and I have self-published it , online using ‘If I were a book . com’. The poetry book titled Songs to Soothe Your Soulcontains sonnets I wrote during my college years. Maybe someone would like to psycho-analyze them!!

The site offers chance for getting published in the real world , but for that to happen readers have to read the book and rate it highly so that publishers would bother to have a look. SO my personal request to you all to go on the site, read the poems and rate as you like it!! I’ll also be adding a link to that book in my sidebar.

By the way, this is just a taste of things to come. I have written a book title “The Sculptor and the Sandman“, which is psychologically inspired and focussed on delineating the psychotic and schizophrenic experience and how that may differ from other world views like that of a rational scientist (may having ASD). So watch this space for more info on that!!

Of Love, Friends and Animals

Continuing the trend set by Mixing Memory of starting the new year on a light and literary note, I would like to post a short story I had written way back in 1996, as an assignment in my creative writing class, and as a response to an assertion by my teacher that great literature usually involves good, complex and structured use of vocabulary and grammar. I was a rebel at that time and if she had made the opposing statement that simplicity is the essence of good literature would have come up with a radically different short story that would have had complex grammar and vocabulary:-)

PS: This story has relevance to the new year and is an imaginative account of trying to come up with a plausible scenario of why an unfortunate, real accident, as mentioned briefly and in passing in a newspaper report (The Times Of India dated 2/3 jan. 1996), took place.


“Coming along?”

“Not today.”


“Two reasons. I can do it better …”

They laughed and understood.

“…and I’m going to meet her.”

They couldn’t pity him over this.

Jealous? Of course! They were his friends. He was leaving them for her.

“She doesn’t love you”

“I love her”

The three word reply settled the matter.

“We won’t go to the circus. We’ll follow him.”

They were his friends. They were young.
They could not be avoided.


Long hours of waiting. Does time have a meaning? Hasn’t this happened
before? Indeed, the 30th of Dec. comes every year. Which year are we
talking about? Does it matter? Not really!

And the place? Its familiar enough. Some inhabitants are wild. Some
docile. He soars towards the sky. She composes a symphony. He kills the
weak. She cheats and lies. Courage, Power, Deceit and Care. How are We
different from Them? They ought to call Us a Zoo. NO. We created
words. It is our right to call them Brutes. On second thoughts We are
different. We make Friends and We Love.

“Hello! Waiting for long?”
“I can wait for years.”
A crane stood on one leg in the pool nearby.

She smiled. “Like all the other things?”

He could not find any hint of scorn in those words.
Love not only Blinds, It also Deafens.

She walked away. He followed.

They found themselves in front of the King.
Suddenly the world seemed to go into the reverse gear. They could feel
themselves in the cage. The tiger was moving around freely. Her eyes
rested on the beast admiringly.

She is not even looking in this direction.
How will she ever know?

But even when she was looking this way, She didn’t notice
the garland.

She is clearly not in love. Then what Blinds her?
Bats are never found in zoos.

“I brought this garland for you.”

“I want to marry you.”
A faint trace of smile. Derision, most probably.

“At our wedding I’ll give you a star-studded garland. I’ll
fight the gods for it.”
The smile broadens. Contempt, definitely.

“I can do great things for you.”
I don’t know maybe but I feel I can.
“I can even kill this tiger.”

Laughter. Pure, uninhibited laughter.

Screechhhhhh.chii.chii.grrr.grrrrr. A monkey jumped. As if to
synchronize, the tiger growled. The garland fell from his hands.

Scream. An involuntary, impulsive response. A natural reaction.

He was at heart a coward.
Every Man is.
Bravery is just an euphemism for foolhardiness.

Some people are different.
Her eyes flicked only briefly.
So what? That doesn’t justify this. Why should she laugh at him?

“You’ll marry me! You who kills the tiger and plucks the stars! Oh
coward! I am a tigress. If you have the courage to garland a tigress
then dare propose.”

The garland was crushed as she walked over it.
So was his World.
And his self confidence.

Now he knew he couldn’t. He was a coward.

“Oh coward!”
The words echoed from all directions. Some creations of his mind.
Others uttered by his friends.

They were his friends. They had followed him. Now they wanted to
destroy his boastful spirit once and for all.

“Oh coward!”
Those words were magical. His friends were making full use of


The friends spent the night together. They drank. He drank. More from
necessity than for pleasure.
They were happy and made plans for the New Year’s Eve.

He wanted to drink more. They didn’t allow him to. The wine cost a lot
and his share had been used up.
But things like that don’t count in friendship.
They didn’t want him to be sick.
That was the real reason.

He couldn’t sleep. But was he awake? Hard to say. Definitely not

How could the sun ever rise again? And yet, somehow, morning dawned.

He remembered some money he had borrowed from them.
Moreover he returned it.
A new day had begun. He would have digested the liquor by now. So they
allowed him to drink more.
And he did. He drank it all.
Not only the liquor, but the taunts and the humiliation.

But there exist limits. He reached a stage when he could drink no more.


Nobody, nothing obeys his commands now. Neither the tigers nor the
stars. Not even his own feet. They take him to places. Places he would
never want to go.

But wait. He is not alone .
What follows him is not his dishonor but one of his friends.

“Why am I standing here ? Is this tigress really brave? So am I.”

His friend couldn’t help laughing. He was also drunk. Out of pure
“Oh Coward ! If you have the courage to garland a tigress then
dare propose”
He mimicked. It was not only funny, it was also somehow

The object of his ridicule could not hear any words he said.
Yet the words were always the same.
He could hear them whether his ears were listening or not.

His eyes enjoyed greater freedom.
Tigress … garland … She … friends.
Suddenly, the garland was in his hands.
Everything grew blurred except the tigress.

I am not a coward. Even if I am, I won’t prove to be one.
I’ll garland you honey, just like this tigress.

Security-men, wire-fence, moat, cage door. They’d lost their meaning.
Something else also lost its meaning and was turned into a ball of
torn flesh and blood.


That night, New Year celebrations rocked the city.

She went to the party, unaware.
They drank and enjoyed themselves.

Their friend would not have liked them to ruin a New Year’s night of
revelry. His being dead didn’t mean that his will shouldn’t be obeyed.
So they laughed and enjoyed themselves. They even saved some money from
their drinks to put an obituary next day. After all, they were his friends.


Do let me know if you would like to read more of my stories. A happy new year to you all!!

Predicting the future and the Phillip K Dick association

There is a post at Mind Hacks on Phillip K Dicks and how he makes use of psychology in his novels. That post made me curious as to who Philip K Dick was and to my surprise I discovered that many of my most-liked movies like Paycheck and Minority Report are based on his writings. Also that some movies on my hitlist like Blade Runner are also based on his novels. Amazing indeed and I hope to read some original works of Philip K dick soon. Would like to find out if the readers of this blog too find his more-or-less gripping account of predicting the future in Minority Report and Paycheck enticing.

Zen and the art of rapid change management

This is an article I finished recently comparing management of changes with Rafting experience. Tagged under Management, general and Rafting tags and not related to main theme of this blog which is psychological in nature:-)


I had gone some 2 yrs back on a maiden River rafting expedition and while I was reminiscing about that trip recently I came to realize how that experience had some valuable learning that could be applied to Management especially most relevant to management regarding rapid changes.

Co-ordination and teamwork: For starters, rafting demands harmonious and synchronus coordination between all rafters ensuring that all rowing movements by individuals are in perfect synchrony to the one in front and the one behind so as to enable the raft to make maximum possible movement and in the required direction. This much is apparent and trivial.

Unknowns and unpredictable: Then there are the current/wave directions and strengths that have to be dealt with and these are obviously unpredictable and uncontrollable. These are not unknowns also, as they can be discerned some time well in advance by an acute observer so as to adapt the rowing strategy accordingly.

Different stratagem’s based on changing priorities/external realities: There are different possible rowing actions and strokes and the guide who is watching the river current/waves keeps instructing the rowers to change movements on the drop of a hat, taking into account the way the wind/water is currently drifting and determining what actions would best ensure movement in the right direction…. and this is all very short term planning and maneuvering. The guide does not bother with very long term foresight into what the current/weather will be 5 hrs down the line. For taking into account unknowns that were not apparent, he would rather rely on advise of weather department and not take an expedition on the day bad weather conditions are forecasted. The guide himself actively uses an instrument situated at the back of the boat to keep steering and doing course corrections.

Apparently discordant behaviors in time and space: Not always everyone is rowing in the forward direction only. Sometimes the people in front and those in back have different instructions and rowing movements. Sometimes people on the left and those on the right have different instructions. Sometimes people on the right are REQUIRED to STOP rowing and rest and ensuring that only left rowers row, to ensure correct behavior and direction. Not all rowers need to understand why they are required to make the required actions on a particular time for ex just revering their rowing direction whereby one moment they were rowing forward and now they are rowing backwards,, but with experience they start getting insights that if they do follow the directions religiously they are better off keeping on track towards destination despite apparent short time backtracks or seemingly impossible currents which they though could not be navigated.

RAPIDS or Toppling Points: The most feared (by some) and awaited (by others) are the moments when the boat needs to navigate past the RAPIDS or areas in the river bed where there is a sudden change in river-bed depth, leading to turbulent local currents on the surface. These are avoided if possible, warned beforehand to all rowers, closely watched by the guide, forewarned to everybody that everyone needs to navigate with all their strengths during and prior to the Rapid crossing and special Tips given to each to ensure that neither the boat topples nor individuals are thrown off-board.

The Rapid Dynamics: In Rapids, though all who are rowing need to row with all their strengths, yet it is not the classical case of ‘all hands on the board’. The guide himself keeps watching, getting ready for action in case the boat topples to ensure that boat bumps back up, that all the oars that are needed for rowing further downstream are intact and not lost by the individual rowers to the water and above all to ensure that everyone (though they have life jackets strapped) are brought back on the boat as soon as possible. Also, most importantly, some people who are normally involved in rowing are asked to stop rowing, move to the front of the row and are required to strategically position themselves in the front of the boat, leaning towards the most forward point in the boat and putting their weight in the front, so as to reduce the impact of the onslaught of wave. These should ideally be people who have most weight.

The Thrill of Toppling : The most amazing insight was the revelation that some of the people most knowledgeable about water and rafting, good swimmers and experienced rafters, were also the ones who would most often ‘engineer’ the topples while navigating the rapids. Just like there are well known ways to avid the boat from toppling in the rapids, there are equally well known counter actions to engineer the topple. One straightforward, and apparent by now, way is to ensure that few like minded people lean backwards at the time of RAPID concentrating weight towards the back. No problems with that, one does get a different experience while the boat is turned upside down and one is floating by ones own in the water, and these people being good swimmers and all, would also be the ones who would put the boat back, et fellows on board and get a kick out of it in all ways: the thrill of topple and the subsequent opportunity to play the savior.

The Perils of Toppling
: Some people who have been exposed to that ‘drowning’ experience for the first time, though realistically there was no real danger with life jackets strapped, are left shaken with that experience. For them those 2-3 minutes in water, with water churning at great speed, chaos all around them with all team members floating by themselves, the boat and their guide himself in water turned upside down, some of them not knowing how to swim or even to keep afloat the water correctly with life jackets, with taste of water in mouth, over eyes and nostrils, those 2-3 minutes are very real to them and represent a reality that is not apparent to the more seasoned rafters/ swimmers. The guide of course is normally aware of this and so he avoids topples at all costs, but the more adventurous experts amongst the crew somehow never realize the repercussions or effects they may have on others. Some of those shaken by the experience react extremely with not going on a rafting trip again ( I am not one of them:-)…though unfortunately I have not managed to go on another rafting trip after that…in any case my raft had toppled but it was a genuine toppling….it was 2 of the other rafts which had the ‘engineered’ toppling.), others are just shaken to the extent that they dread the RAPIDS much more than is needed, while still others are barely affected and even enjoy the thrill- the most effect on them being some time sitting ideally recovering from panting and all, and getting back to rowing again.

Toppling: The Damage Control: The guide ‘inoculates’ the rafters (non-swimmers esp) against the bad version of toppling experience by encouraging them to float in water by themselves while the waters are calm. this ensures that they are exposed to the ‘real bad world’ and the exposure is under conditions that are not threatening. This also gives the guide time and occasion to instruct and observe whether the rafters know the correct way to stay afloat using their life jackets. More than anything else it ensures that the rafters are not nervous, but more towards being confident, when they face the rapid, or are actually thrown into the water. Also, early warning and special maneuvering, as well as very clear communication on severity of the rapid that is coming, the realistic assessment of toppling chance, and the assurance of rapid recovery ensure that not only the toppling probabilities are minimized, but the toppling experience is of a different degree.

Celebration/Relaxation/ Dangers of Rapids all the way: When the waters are calm one can relax and sing and have fun (you are supposed to have fun all the way) , when the current is strong it is not expected that you still keep rowing with all your strength, it is ensured that not many rapids follow each other on a particular course and there is ample scope for the team to recover its strength, stamina and composure before being asked to face another rapid. All said and done, rowing is an activity that demands immense physical activity from each team member- one needs hard work all the way —especially in rapids- and one also has to ensure that the hard work is done in a smart way (is inline with the directions of the guide). There is no simple trade off here between hard work and smart work. Hard work needs to be done smartly. If after exposing a rafting team to a volley of rapids that is never ending, and observing that the boat has toppled on 1 or 2 occasions, we conclude that rafters are either not working hardly or smartly enough and need to change strategy (may do more smart work than hard work) (or on a different note conclude that guide is incompetent, having a whale of time and maybe instead of doing the ‘overhead work’ needs to ensure that all rafters including himself and the ‘weighty’ ones are all the time exclusively involved in rowing- and rowing hard) and if we wonder why the rafters are finding the rafting experience not exactly enjoyable and not too keen on signing in for the next expedition or why the toppling is becoming more and more probable with time, then maybe we are missing something that should be apparent.

The Genesis of The Mouse Trap

I first wrote a draft story titled “The Mouse Trap” in the year 2002. As expected, it is still in the draft stage:-) and I look forward to finish it within the lifespan of this blog:-)

I took it as an apt illustration for my CogSci blog as I believe it hints at my other idiosyncrasies : interest in astrology or occult, interest in literature and above all interest in the battle of the sexes!!

So am starting the blog with snippets from the still-in-making short story that inspired the name of this page.

( I was delighted recently while watching a movie adaptation of Hamlet and it dawned to me that Hamlet had used “The Mouse Trap” as the name of the play he staged for his mother and uncle. What a co-incidence that I refer to Hamlet’s famous line “To be or not to be…” In this story)

So here are excerpts from the short story:


The Mouse Trap

The mouse lay in that room, unaware of the cat, never fearing that cats could exist and gently bringing magic to the lives of other mouse, bringing a smile on their face and moving around a lot in all the other rooms, making friends and whiling her time away. Whenever she had a lazy afternoon all by herself, she felt so selfish and miserable at her selfishness, that she made up to it, by moving around a lot with all the other mouse on the next day. But this evening was one of the days when she was exhausted from her constant caring about other mousses, and was feeling a bit indulgent (and a byte more selfish and guilty).

She saw the cat and she closed her eyes, for she knew that if you close your eyes cats do not exist. She was pleased at her intelligence and opened one eye slowly and surely to check if the cat exists. Of course it did…and it was all the more nearer. She started dancing, desperately trying to lift her blues and manage her emotions in the face of crisis. She knew this was a wheel of life and if she was so close to being eaten, in some time she’ll be back to lying lazily in the sun. What goes up also comes down. And being the Just one, she thus justified, her guilt when she was enjoying the sun….

“Well you know, you are such a handsome and big cat. Don’t you think you are doing something wrong by attacking me?”

The Cat was flattered” Oh yes! Yes! I am big…no doubt about that. But….u r so beautiful, don’t you think it will be just right that cat as big as me should have a mouse as beautiful as you”

This was firm logic, and the cat could not deny it. Besides, she was pleased on being called beautiful “ you see its like this….you need to eat me…and I need to run away….your attacking me is fine on your part, on the other hand wont it be unjust if I did not defend myself”. She had already sized up her opponent and was all thrilled by the competition that and conflict that lay ahead After all “Isn’t it the competition that makes the Victory worthwhile”

The cat stood there amused, seeing her take arms and move from one corner to other and then he noticed that there were two exits, close-to-each-other from the room. He positioned himself, such that if she took either of the roots, he would be able to reposition quickly and she will walk straight in his jaws.

The mouse saw the two doors and knew that safety lay behind them and no matter which door she chooses, she will be safe and victory was all hers. Yet she could not decide which one was better. She closed her eyes, and moved first towards one door and then towards the other and kept doing so till she forgot whether she was in front of the left door, or the right door, or the wrong door, or the door that was left. So she stood in deep trepidation (& meditation), and realized that the issue involved were really simple…it was whether she wanted to be eaten or not. Once she realized that, she moved straight out of the door that was in front of her.

Meanwhile the Cat who had been repositioning himself, each time she moved one way or the other, had got a much needed respite during her time of meditation and to overcome his own confusion had rested in the middle of the two doors ready to catch her whichever way she took., but he was so bored up by the time she made her mind, that he dozed off to sleep, and she went past him confidently with her eyes closed and straight to another room, where there was a party that was going on and she forget all about the Cat as she started dancing once again.


The cat was furious and wanted to chase her all the way to the room in which the mice were partying, but he knew that she would have become quite popular by now, and he’ll have to face an army of hostile mice, so he ventured forth to a room that looked as if it had been recently overhauled and transformed. The mouse was still bus peeling off old plasters and repainting them with another hue.

When she saw the cat enter, she was already on her guard. But she knew she could never be defeated, nor could someone know better how to handle such a situation. But she was not sure whether it was a cat or a dog in cat’s clothing.

“Stop there”, she thundered, “Are you cat or dog ion a cat’s clothing. Fear not me, for if you are a dog, you need not cover yourself, but if you are a cat indeed, I ought to know your motives for entering my den.”

The Cat didn’t reply. He just purred. Then he said in a lame voice “I have come to kill you”. It sounded so funny. He was sure the mouse would laugh. But the mouse stood there with the stern look in her eyes. “You cannot fool me. That is not the real reason. Come on. Tell me. Out with the truth.”

The cat didn’t say anything but started advancing. The mouse suddenly pulled a rabbit mask over her face and said in a seductive voice” Why do you want to eat some stupid mouse, when a rabbit is available”….as the Cat advanced towards the rabbit, she again pulled a mask and this time she was a frog “ Frog, I’m sure you know , are a delicacy…and more tasty than rabbit or rates…but tell me what do you want”…thus she kept him confused, pulling masks of different shapes and sizes…and she never waited for an answer. Suddenly, it appeared as if she was transformed and had finally decided to trust the cat and let her steam out. She broke in a passionate discourse over “How mice keep fooling themselves that cats are after them, while all cats want to have is some fun” and speaking so she leaped in one Jump and ( by this time she was almost in reach of the cat), gave him a passionate kiss on the lips. The Cat felt weak in his knees, and found his entire grip melting away. And in no time the mouse had run herself to safety in the next room. And she stared from there towards the cat with an ominous look in her eyes. The cat shivered form the apprehension of things that were to come and decided to go elsewhere.


The Cat darted into the next room and found no one. He was about to leave, when something fell out of the ceiling.

“Oh dear me! What were you up to?” the cat started advancing even as he drawled.
“I was pondering over the mysteries of the sky and what better ways than to climb onto the ceiling and gaze at the sky. I suspect, a thunderstorm is coming tonight”
“Isnt the room covered, I see a ceiling instead of a sky.” The cat was advancing all the time, keeping her engaged, but yes he was cautious and even reluctant, for he was not sure what he was doing here. He wanted to ask the mouse the same but he said instead” What did you find in the sky?”

“Oh! I couldn’t see the sky. There was a cobweb in the corner of the ceiling and I got caught up in it. I had to first walk through all the myriad of threads of that web and only then could I move on. I hope you understand.” The Cat’s expression didn’t look any close to comprehension, so the mouse explained” The web of our life is made up of mingled yarn –that was said by Shake Chilli, and he was so right. Sheikh Chilli had a way with webs…”’…the mouse continued backing away inch-by-inch as the cat advanced and this infuriated her, for she was getting distracted from her prime task of explaining all the silken threads she had discovered and how they gave meaning to life, by this constant bewilderment on who the cat was and what he wanted from her? Suddenly, she stopped mid-way, with an unfinished thread still hanging in the air, as she exclaimed, “ you are a Cat and you are out to kill me”, the matter so settled, she was now at ease , and stopping her retreat,, once again got immersed in her web.

The relief was mutual. For the Cat too, reassured of his motives, did not find any room for hesitancy now and pounced on her in one leap. She had finished the excited narration of her discovery of how the sky indeed exists (and how she had accidentally discovered it one day…and had forgotten all about it until she remembered it today) and how you just have to touch the ceilings to listen to the sky and so on and so forth…but seeing that this was not having any effect on the Cat, she decided to go on the offensive. For she thought it highly unjust. That a Cat should kill a mouse and on purely Ratatarian grounds decided to intervene. Though her concerns were limited to the rats that inhibit this earth, she didn’t mind pulling a few cats out of her bag to save Ratanity. So she pulled forth a litter of them and started her discourse

“Why don’t you form a group of Cats and to feed each-other, decide to die by draws! That would make perfect sense…alone you may never be able to feed yourself, but as a part of a big group of like-minded Cats, you will be able to solve your problems! We do the same for rats here. I once discovered a prophet who told me that we must all unite to redeem ourselves and from that date I have been bringing like-minded rats together and spreading his message of truth…Of course being an inventive little mouse I had once built a safety-trap to escape from Cats. And I can easily save myself and escape to safety, but how can I forget all my other brethren who will perpetually live in danger of being attacked by the Cats and all you lost Cats who would be in danger of losing their souls by eating more mice. I am not afraid of dying, for dying is just as certain as sunset and sunrise. But I get saddened when I think about you. Don’t you realize you have eaten enough mice and now is the time to go to Haz? So listen to me. Do not do what the real you doesn’t want to do, and reflect whether 10 years from now, you will feel good or bad about all the mice that you have eaten and the Haj pilgrimage you have not taken.

“To eat or not to eat, that is the question,
Whether it’s nobler in the stomach to suffer
The stabs and pangs of outrageous hunger,
Or to take a Haj pilgrim instead,
& by getting stampeded, end them”
I am such a fan of Shake Chilli u know….So think and think deeply…Its all in your hands… how do you want to feel 10 years from now”

“I’ll just like to feel not hungry” said the Cat in a miserable voice, for he was starting to feel the pangs of conscience and hunger at the same time.

Just when he was about to put her in his mouth, she suddenly enquired quite innocently “why do cats have whiskers? Funny you never notice things of importance unless they stare you in the face” and she was so tickled by her joke that she laughed at her own naivete and broke into a smile that was graced by all the stars in the sky.

The cat was lost in her smile (for it stretched form one corner to the other (of her mouth) and then to his astonishment continued spreading further until it filled the whole room and enveloped him too. Thus as the smile kept spreading and turning and embracing him, he found himself caught up in it and felt a bit lost in all those dazzling loops), when she brought him to his senses by repeating the question on whiskers.

“Well….ummm” the cat muttered trying to find an answer.
Suddenly, a bolt of lightening hit the ceiling and a crack the size of two eyes appeared in the ceiling. The mouse shrieked a cry of excitement and jumped from the Cats paws to take a look at the skies. What she saw drew her towards it with such a force that first her head, then her neck, and then her stomach squeezed through that tiny space, and disappeared from the Cat’s view, until finally as the last of her tail disappeared, the Cat was again brought to his sense by her departing words “The Cats have whiskers, so the good mouse can see the sky. And the sky is beautiful and worth seeing, and I’ll comeback after counting all the stars….and then her voice got lost and she became so fascinated by the sky that she forgot all about the Cat and the mouse trap.



PS: Endgame: Can someone identify which sun signs the 3 mouses refer to? The original idea was to depict the typical courtship behaviour and attitudes associated with a Sun Sign.