This morning something strange happened. It shook me to the core and forced me to hide under the covers for a very long time until the episode repeated in my own room and threw me into a blue funk.

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Donning my new walking shoes that I vowed to use till they wear off, I set out on the trail around the many blocks of the apartment complex I was staying at. Although I start out fast, I usually begin to slow down as the surroundings come alive with hollers of playing children and screams of tantrum-throwing toddlers. But nothing of that sort happened. The evening climate was perfect, the lighting was good, and I was waiting; yet, not one human came into fore.

During my third round towards the playground, I got exasperated and turned my eyes towards the bench in the shade and saw a boy hunched over. He wasn’t moving. My curiosity propelled me to explore.

I slowly walked in his direction and noticed that there were two more kids—one boy and a girl—seated by his side, stooping in the same way. Then when I moved my eyes towards the figures standing behind, my heart dropped to my feet. There were two ladies, probably the kids’ mothers, standing in the same position. I decided to investigate and moved closer.

‘Um, hello,’ I said, hesitatingly.

No movement.

I cleared my throat and tried again.

‘Hey!’ I wrung my fingers in nervousness.

Five angry faces turned to face me and I scrambled from the spot like lightning.

I went in to find the room where I was staying with my cousins empty (for the sake of anonymity I’m gonna use only cousins in this article). I hopped on the bed and draped the blanket around my body like a mummy, trembling underneath.

The bathroom door clicked and I was relieved that I would have someone to share my horror story with.

Out came another stooped figure mechanically gliding on the floor like a spectre. The scream that came out of my mouth thereupon shook the whole building and virtually split my eardrums.

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It’s not a virus. It’s not a parasite. It’s a small contraption that has been made by humans and is controlling their brains now.

Here is the device that’s guilty of starting a pandemic.


We all carry smartphones these days. We can’t imagine a day without the device let alone our lives.

But we have let the machines control our entity to such an extent that we have become the living dead—drifting away aimlessly, eyes on the screen; hands holding the shiny glass instead of being entangled with the partner’s fingers; mind pondering about the next message to type to a friend staying 5000 miles away rather than concentrating on the conversation happening with the person who is two feet away.

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Phone zombies have become so rampant that I’m scared to step out or even stay in for that matter.

Cousin 1 sits on the chair holding the phone attached to its charger. Can’t afford to lose a second even if there’s a possibility of the battery heating up like a volcano, thereby destroying the phone.

Cousin 2 walks back and forth from the charging point like I do an emergency walk from the bathroom and the couch when the former is occupied. Charging your cell phone a hundred times would only deplete the battery, you moron!  

Cousin 3 forgets manners and courtesy when at relatives’ place and checks Facebook notifications. In the end, all you’ll be left with are virtual friends.

Cousin 4 barks like a rabid dog when you disturb him/her while chatting in the whatsapp group. Bite me!

The means of an end to this apocalypse is literally in our hands. We just need to realize it before it’s too late.

Drop the phone. Prop your face.




Rude people are not necessarily bad people. They just need a lesson or two about manners and respect. But we can’t go about philosophizing 30-year olds on how to behave. It’s their damn responsibility to treat others the way they want to be treated. Or else, someone like me would watch with eagle eyes for an opportunity to exact revenge.

I don’t let go of the insult of being yelled at unnecessarily, the humiliation of being the subject of embarrassing jokes in public, the belittlement in front of even an ant. I convert the incidents into a camera reel and replay them frame-by-frame till there’s retribution.

Movies like “Mean Girls” and “The Clique” give youngsters a strange sense of belief that being cheeky is cool and it’s even regarded as a funky trait. In reality, society views rude people as bullies. Reality doesn’t work the same way as it does in movies. At least youngsters can be taught and will learn from experience. But what about adults like my twenty-three-year-old germophobic cousin, who shouts at me for offering him a glass of water? You read that right.

He arrives at the living room, tired after a long nap in the afternoon. As a responsible guest, I offer him some water, in the presence of his parents and other relatives. He refuses.

‘Have some. You look weary,’ I insist.

‘I said no. Just leave me alone!’ he says in a mildly loud voice.

‘Are you sure?’ I say just to be polite.

‘God, just go. I don’t want your stupid water. Did you even wash your hands? Get out of here!’ he yells.

I felt the whole building shake from the sheer loudness of his annoying voice. Stunned by his hostility, I retreat from the spot without a second look at his skunk-like face. The hall falls into a cloud of silence, although they’re used to these meaningless outbursts from the thoughtless man.

Nah, he’s not mentally unstable like all of you might be thinking by now. He’s just someone who loves to shout at others with no consideration towards their dignity. If he was worried about germs, then he could have let me know in a civilized way. But, no. He chose to humiliate me.

I shrank into a corner and forced the prickling tears back into my eyes as I vowed revenge.

This sweet cousin of mine was asked to drop me at my place the next day. He whined like a sick monkey before agreeing to his mother’s order. I saw an opportunity and schemed while on my way, seated beside him in the car. He wasn’t speaking anything. I thought of several ways I could start a conversation so that I would get a chance to insult him but none of them was non-pretentious.

Finally, we arrived at the destination. My aunt, his mother instructed him to carry my luggage up into my apartment. He was especially not happy at being my porter but he obliged any way. He got out of the car to pull out my bags from the backseat. The watchman nearby was thinking whether or not to help. There was a lot of buzz around on the street with people going about their chores. As he lay his hands on the handle of my bag, I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Take your dirty hand off my bag! I’ll carry them.”

He was gobsmacked, not being used to taking an insult in public. I removed my luggage from his car and disappeared into the building. Yes, everyone around gave him weird looks and I left with a satisfied smile on my face.

From that day onwards, we greeted each other with icy glares. I lost a cousin that way. But God, it felt so good. That’s how I treat brash people. I give them the taste of their own medicine. Most of them don’t even realize that they’re being impudent because they get accustomed to treating fellow humans like doormats.

My cousin is so kind and caring; tall and attractive; stylish and sophisticated; uncouth and apelike. The last two qualities negate the former ones obviously and he had few friends and many haters.

They say, ‘Don’t waste your time on revenge. Those who hurt you will eventually face their own karma’. That’s some unrealistic rubbish. If someone slaps you, you need to show them how painful a slap can be. I’m not promoting revenge but I sure believe in an eye for an eye.

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When it comes to rude people, they need to know that they can’t get away with ill-treating others and taking them for granted. An antidote to insolence is insolence. Rude people, if not stopped, turn into bullies. Hence, they should be taught a lesson that they won’t forget.