All posts by ranganbiswas

I am a human being trying to understand ridiculous human ways. I just came across a lot of beautiful views in the process and am trying to sum them up using a device used to record data visually

The Night at the Cottage

I have never been able to remember even a single situation where I may have felt scared. I could not even imagine what fear felt like until I visited that unfortunate place on that fateful day. So many years have passed still the series of incidents that took place that night haunt me till this present day.

It happened at a time when monsoon was on its way out and autumn was moving in. It used to get cold in the evenings but the showers had not stopped entirely. My girlfriend, after weeks of nagging, was finally able to make me take a break from work to take a trip with her to somewhere calm and quiet, away from the noise of the city. I had found this cottage for short term rent in the coastal town close to our city. It was off season which meant less number of visitors and we liked it that way. Both of us preferred avoiding crowded places . I booked the cottage for that weekend. We didn’t know back then that staying there for one night would become a lifelong burden for us.

We started early in the morning and reached the place before noon. The cottage sat right amidst trees and shrubs which gave a green hue to the surroundings and the blue from the sea made our journey absolutely worth it. I called the caretaker who fortunately for us was nearby. He came quickly and welcomed us inside. The cottage had its own kitchen, two bedrooms each with an attached bathroom, a drawing cum dining room and a guest washroom. The back of the cottage opened up to a narrow stretch bounded by green shrubs and other flowering plants, the path leading up to a deserted part of the beach. It was simply beautiful.

The caretaker was supposed to cook the food for us and leave for the day. Everything looked nice but there was something that distressed me. The moment we entered the house, I felt something was watching us and not in a good way. I felt uneasy and disturbed.

We went to the beach after freshening up. I hadn’t noticed earlier there was a tall and thick dead tree at the end of the path. There were no leaves or flowers on its branches but still they looked laden under some invisible weight.

The feeling of being watched stopped as soon as we crossed that tree overlooking the beach. It felt as if an immense burden was suddenly lifted off my chest. I didn’t understand what happened then or before. I confessed about the uncomfortable feeling to my partner and she admitted even she felt it. We brushed that thought aside and spent some quality time with each other. Soon, we forgot about that dreadful feeling altogether. We returned to the cottage after a little while. I started feeling the weight on my chest as soon as we crossed that tree. I even stopped to have a good look at it but couldn’t gather anything.

The caretaker had prepared our meals for the day and left. We had our lunch and felt this need to take a nap. The weight was wearing us down. It was almost sundown when my sleep was broken by a sudden noise. As I regained my senses and sat up, the sound seemed to be of someone running about inside the house. It was absurd as there were no localities around. I thought maybe it was the caretaker’s kid and as I turned my head to look at the time I saw a pair of eyes looking at us. Those eyes belonged to a painting sitting on the wall facing the bed. As soon as I laid my eyes on the painting, the pair of eyes on it went dead. I was trying to understand if I was still dreaming when I heard the sound of running feet again. I got out of the bed and walked towards the door. As soon as I peeked out of the door, I saw a pair of small feet disappearing into the backdoor. It had to be a little kid. I ran after them only to find myself outside, absolutely alone. I could still hear laughter coming from the direction of the beach. I ran towards it but I couldn’t see anything. Silence engulfed that area as soon as I reached that tree. I had an uncanny feeling of being watched by invisible entities all around me. The branches looked even more weighed down than before.

The sense of vulnerability was overwhelming and I almost ran back to the house. It was dark inside, darker than it was supposed to be. I went to the bedroom to wake my girl up and the scene in there struck horror deep inside me. A dark shadow was floating just over her and had almost engulfed her in a shroud. It did not have any describable shape, hovering in the air like a black tattered bedsheet. I stood there, numb, trying to figure out my next step. My mind had gone totally blank, like a baby drowning in a pond. Out of instinct, I ran towards her and snatched her out of the bed. She was limp, in a semiconscious state, murmuring something which I couldn’t understand. I had to carry her on my shoulders. The shadow let out a shriek which felt as if it pierced my ears. I was about to pass out from the pain but I didn’t. I knew I couldn’t not give up till I took her to safety.

The shadow glided towards us, darkening everything in its path. Everything seemed to get charred or wilted in its path as it closed in on us. I could feel my senses leaving me. I felt my knees give away and the floor seemed to move up towards me. I think I was falling. The lights grew dimmer and my surroundings seemed to grow darker. I thought I saw a kid dancing just under the shadow but I must have been delirious, there couldn’t be any kid but still there was. Then the kid looked straight at me and his gaze froze me to my very core. His eyes were hollowed out and blood oozed out from where his eyes should have been, the skin on his face rotting away. He was grinning and the grin became wider as the shadow moved closer. The sound of feet tapping on the floor grew louder. I was slowly losing my consciousness when suddenly something struck me from inside, my survival instinct. I pulled myself up and ran out or at least I think that I ran out. The tree at the back looked much larger now, it’s branches swaying wildly although there was no wind. I moved towards the beach as fast as I could but something was pulling me from behind. My feet felt heavy and that narrow stretch seemed to take forever to cross. I looked up at the tree but it looked somewhat different now. There were bodies hanging from its branches and they were moving. The tree still looked dead but now it looked vast, covering the whole sky. Moonlight could barely escape through its dead branches. I looked back towards the cottage but it had disappeared and in its place stood an old church, burnt to the ground except its charred beams and rafters still standing, like a huge skeleton. I couldn’t see the shadow anymore and that gave me little strength. My partner was still unconscious.

I placed her down on the ground. She looked pale, as if all blood had been sucked from her body. I shook her trying to revive her, but she didn’t move. Her body was getting colder as if life was being sucked out of her each passing moment. I knew I had to get out of that place but I didn’t know where to go. Everything around me looked different, the stretch leading to the beach was now bounded by thorny bushes. Something dark was oozing out of each thorn, leaf and branch of those bushes. Even though they didn’t move but it felt as if I was being strangled by those branches, my throat being pierced by their thorns.

I couldn’t wait any longer, she didn’t have much time. I put her back on my shoulders and tried to walk fast, but I couldn’t, my body felt heavier than before, I was losing strength. I moved as fast as I could but I was getting slower with each step, my legs getting heavier each passing moment, my shoulders getting weaker. I felt as if I was fighting a lost battle with an invisible foe but I wasn’t ready to give up, I wasn’t built to give up. I moved ahead and then I saw something that makes me sweat even to this day. It was the kid, sitting below the dead dark tree, bodies still hanging from its branches. He was oblivious to my presence, calmly playing with something round and humming an old nursery rhyme. I thought, this was a good chance to escape but he just sat there, between me and the beach. I moved slowly and silently, not taking my eyes off him, planning to get past without being noticed. As I moved, the image became clearer and what I saw, made me feel something I had never felt before. I felt numb, unable to decide what to do. The kid was not playing with a ball, it was the decapitated head of my girlfriend, whose body I had been carrying on my shoulders. I just stood still, I couldn’t dare to look back at what I was carrying and then he looked at me, his hollowed sockets fixed on me with a malicious grin on his partially melted face. I looked at her head on the ground and it was staring at me, eyes wide open and a sad smile between the lips. I was on the verge of breaking down, tears filled my eyes as the pain built up in my chest but I didn’t fall. I looked up only to see the hanging bodies looking straight at me. I looked down again but the kid had disappeared along with my partner’s head. My trance was broken by a sudden screech and I looked back. Darkness was creeping up on us, engulfing everything in its way. I could feel the bushes burning, embers flying about, the smoke burning my eyes. The church at the back now bore a malicious incandescent red glow, as if the church was alive and burning from inside. I had to run, somehow, with whatever strength remained within me. I ran, with her body on my shoulders which I presumed was dead. As I progressed towards the beach, the darkness moved faster, the hanging bodies started screaming together. I wanted this to get over, as soon as possible, even if I had to die.

Finally, I was able to reach the end of the path, the threshold set by the dead tree. As soon I did so, there was a sudden gush of wind which almost knocked me over but I hunkered down and kept my ground. I continued moving towards the beach and after a while my hands touched the partially wet sand. I felt relief build inside me and I burst into a run. No sooner that I went past the edge of the tree, everything stopped. There was no rushing wind trying to knock me over, there was no shadow trying to seize me inside the darkness, the tree looked similar to what it looked like during the daytime, there were no dead bodies hanging from its branches or any kid playing with a head underneath.

A cool breeze touched my face and my body gave away. I fell on my knees, placed her on the sand and myself crashed besides her. I think I passed out. It was almost dawn when I regained my senses. I opened my eyes and turned my head to look at her. I was half prepared to look at a headless body but it was not. She was lying there, the whole of her, breathing slowly. I was elated, couldn’t hold back my tears and I held her close to me, as tightly as possible. She woke up to the sounds of my weeping. She was shocked to see me that way and that too on the beach at sunrise. She had absolutely no recollection of what transpired between the previous evening and the present time. I told her of the events, what I saw and experienced, the darkness creeping upon us, the little boy with hollowed eyes and rotting face, how I saw her lifeless head being rolled about like a ball, the slowly burning church, everything. She was aghast, upon listening to my narration. She held me closely and said she had experienced everything but she imagined it only to be a dream.

We decided to stay on the beach till it was morning and the caretaker arrived. We sat down, in each other’s arms and watched the sun coming up from the horizon as it filled the sky with a reddish glow, it was soothing this time.

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Some fun and interesting facts about friction

As the basic definition goes, friction opposed relative sliding between two surfaces in contact. A common misconception is that friction opposes motion. Following are some fun facts about friction. I’ll also include the findings of my discovery in the field of friction.

  • Almost all the work you do in daily life relies on friction. Friction is an electromagnetic force. It’s basically the nuclei of one surface pulling the electrons on the other surface and vice versa effecting in the two surfaces holding each other. So, whenever you pull or hold something, you are able to do it because of friction.

  • Many people wonder how our universe would have been if friction was not there. Well, our universe wouldn’t have existed if friction had not been present. Yes, that is correct. As I said, friction is an electromagnetic force acting between atoms of two surfaces. That means, wherever there are atoms, there is electromagnetic force and thus, there is friction. So, it can be said that friction is an unavoidable outcome of the existence of atoms. Atoms form molecules which are held together by electromagnetic force or friction which help in forming matter. Microbes, animals, us, the earth, the other planets, the stars, none of them would exist without matter and therefore friction. All that the universe would have had is floating electrons and nuclei of elements.

  • Friction is the reason why we can move. When we walk, what is happening between our feet and the ground? Effectively, we are trying to slide the feet backwards and the friction pushes us forward. It is almost the same for cars and motorcycles or anything that moves on wheels. Yes, it is undisputed that sliding forward on a frictionless surface or while being levitated is most energy efficient but we are not able to do that yet on a daily basis.

  • Life exists because of friction. It is needless to say that without friction there won’t be any matter and life can’t even find a basis to start on. Let’s say there was accidentally a surface formed in this universe, containing only nuclei and electrons just moving in contact with each other due to a common momentum (momentum is the product of mass and velocity of a body). Still, there is no chance of formation of the type of life known to us on this surface without friction. The reason is life needs binding of atoms and then matter flowing over other matter which can only happen if friction is present. Otherwise, binding of atoms based only on perfect combination of arbitrary momenta is highly improbable.

  • Now, I’ll give some information about my discovery related to friction between sliding surfaces or in one word tribology. Me under the guidance of my professor Dr. S K Roychowdhury, a man I place in high regard discovered that X-rays are emitted when a surface slides on another surface. This work was further carried on by G. N. Krishna. The details can be found in: X-Ray Emission during Rubbing of Metals, Vol. 36, No. 3 (2014) 229-235, Tribology in Industry, Tribology in Industry

That is all I have to say on this subject till now.

Human or something else

I have been told 

I haven’t been here 

For much time

But I feel I have walked

This Earth for longer than 

They can imagine

I am not human

But I am still

Entangled in my 

Human ways

I have thought about it

For as long as 

I can remember 

Never reached a conclusion 

I am not worried 

I am only amused

For I know I have to walk

This Earth for a much longer time

Why do I feel so old

Yet feel so young

Why do I feel wise

Yet I feel like a newborn 

I always saw a world

Different than they could see

I never felt

That I belong

But still I feel 

An attachment to this Earth

This Earth which is mine

Also is the universe

If only I knew how to reach out

Still bound by my human ways

But I know I will walk

Till I find my way

Being God

How does it feel?

I guess I’ll never know.

Does he know everything?

I guess I’ll never know.

Some say 

He created the universe 

Some say

He’s all powerful.

If he is, then

Why does he allow humans to suffer?

Why does he allow humans to destroy their abode?

Or does he want them to learn.

He has left messages for all of them

To survive, 

To live in peace.

But they don’t listen, this

I can say from experience. 

Some are smarter, they listen more

Some are dumber, they listen less

But no one listens completely. 

They will leave out things that don’t suit their fantasies. 

I know for sure because I have tried 

Telling them.

Telling them

Through examples 

Through history 

Through observations

I have tried living my life

Like them.

But they don’t learn,

They don’t listen.

How hard is it?

To not create problems for others?

To not steal from others?

To not rape others?

To not kill others? 

I didn’t need religion to tell me that

Why do they?

Why are they so weak

That they can’t accept their faults

And correct themselves?

Why do they need a god for 

Forgiveness?

What is the need to go to a heaven?

Lao Tzu correctly observed

Man wants what he cannot have.

Am I one of them?

Or am I on the way to become 

Someone they worship?

I guess I’ll never know.

Who Am I 

I have asked this question 

Since I don’t remember when

It seems ages when I started wondering 

Who am I 

Time flies by

But I don’t feel a thing

Years have been reduced to

Mere rotations of Earth around the Sun

I feel ageless

I feel strong

I feel I can do 

anything I wish to

Am I losing my mind?

Or 

Have I finally understood 

How this universe works?

Fate is laughing at me

As I write these lines 

But fate has spoken only in irony

Irony extends itself when 

I read other men far better than

I can read myself

What is this curse?

Or

Is it a boon?

What is this gnawing feeling 

That urges me to move 

To achieve things that 

Mere mortals can’t 

I scream, I wail in despair 

But only I can hear those sounds 

People say time will tell everything 

But what happens when you stop feeling 

The flow of time

I don’t feel old

Neither do I feel young

I find darkness and light 

Coexisting inside me

Everyday feels like a beginning 

Yet when I look back 

I find ages have passed 

Why do I feel 

That I have to live

Even if everything else 

In this world has been destroyed 

Why do I feel 

I have to live 

Even if only

The emptiness remains 

This dream I had

Last night I had a dream

I dreamt of a place that I had dreamt before 

A place of calm and serenity 

A place that may or may not exist on earth 

A place so beautiful that mere words won’t suffice 

But still I try because I want to keep it in my heart 

A foolish task it may seem 

But still I try

As I try, I return back to its ice slopes 

Cold so severe that mere mortals could not survive but

I am no mere mortal am I?

That place seems to be my refuge in times of distress

My fortress of solitude 

In times of duress

I have been to that place before 

But only in my dreams

It’s desolate 

Difficult to reach as there are no roads

Lying between snow capped mountains 

It beckons to me

It’s not a valley nor is it a peak

A small piece of land

Covered in eternal snow

A cold piece of land that offers no sorrow

A land that allows me to see the world from far

Under the sun it shines like a vibrant star

I had never dreamt of a place so forlorn yet so vivid 

A place that befits only the divine 

Seems all the colours just fell into place

This view gives me so much solace

 A view filled with bliss with 

An environment so trying that

It makes a god out of a king

I can’t find enough words 

That would describe the beauty of this place but

I would surely visit if this place exists on

This Earth or the next

I feel so calm

I had always pegged me to be a loner

A loner who won’t ever find love

I couldn’t feel, I was merely alive

This was my life

I felt on the edge, always irritated 

I could never find peace

But I had hope

I had hope that one day I will find the one

I didn’t know when

When I started talking to you 

I never had an inkling where it would lead

It was a simple liking 

I didn’t know what it would grow into 

I didn’t know you were a godsend 

Till I kissed you 

I felt a sea of emotions churning inside me

I knew that day that my prayers were answered 

I knew I had found what I was looking for 

You are my sunshine

You are my salvation 

You bring smile on my face 

When everything feels sad

You give me hope

When the world grows dark

I feel alive because you are there

I can be the child I want to 

When you are there

I can be the crazy I want to

When you are there

I feel so calm

When you are there 

I feel complete 

Because you are there.

Love

Love isn’t a mystery 

Love isn’t about how many romantic songs you can remember 

While thinking of her

Love isn’t about how much you can spend on her

Love is when you can’t stay a moment 

Without her

Love is when you know your crazy fits with hers

Love is that sweet feeling when you see her

Love is when you want to see her every time you open your eyes 

Love is when your future feels complete with her

Love is when you know everything will be exciting with her

Love is when you know you want to grow old with her

You made me feel

I was broken

I was shattered 

Before you came along 

I believed I couldn’t feel

I believed I couldn’t love

Before you came along 

My life lacked colours 

It was in shades of grey 

Before you came along 

I despised touch 

Before you came along 

I had lost all hope

Then you came along 

I could not believe my luck

When I kissed your lips

It was gentle but

It created a storm inside me

A storm I had been waiting for so long 

A storm that quenched my thirst for love

When I looked into your eyes

It seemed I had found the one

The eyes of the one I had been looking for all my life 

I asked God 

Is it real?

Have I really found her?

I think he says yes

I had never expected to feel the touch

A touch so strong that I crave for it

A touch so strong that it melted my heart

I was afraid that I had turned to stone

But you proved me wrong

After all these years 

You made me feel

Getting my life 

I’ve known pain

More than most men can endure 

Still I get to know more

Is this the life I dreamed of?

I don’t think so

Is this the life I have to live?

It certainly seems so

I never felt the need to complain 

I don’t know why

Pain always seemed like a friend 

A friend who helps 

A friend who supports 

I never asked why me
Because I knew 

Pain was the true friend 

The friend who provides strength 

The friend who provides solace 

But is this how life is?

If yes, then why can’t I smile?

Why don’t I laugh?

Why do emotions elude me?

Yes, pain has made me 

Stronger, wiser, sharper

But for what? 

The pain doesn’t subside

The pain isn’t diminished 

It’s a never ending cycle.

Pain has made me

What I am today

But for what?

I don’t even know 

If I’ll ever know.

I’ve known pain 

More than most men will ever do

But for what?

I am yet to know.