Sunday, July 8, 2018

Mastering - Why Not to

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Mastering – Why Not to

“Mastering degrades the timbres, and is nothing but ‘Loud-Garbage-Out’.”

There’s a term ‘GIGO’ in mastering parlance, used to describe audio files that arrive with no headroom for a mastering engineer to work with; hence, Garbage-In-Garbage-Out. But today, and much to the chagrin of those very sound engineers I am sure, who have all made much money destroying the music in music, I make the statement that makes the headline. Now let me assure you; like every big statement I’ve ever made, I will present facts in light of commonsense to support it.

A quick tip:

Before I start with the nitty-gritty of what digital sound, sample rates, bit depth, headroom, and mastering work truly involves, let me point you to an article about mastering that I did a few years back. I explained what plugins you may want to use, and why use them, when mastering a track. Now add to that information, this tip:

“If you render out a sound file with ample headspace, and you import it into a new project in your DAW, then you can layer the file any number of times to raise the volume of the final product, apply effects like reverb to the master chain or any other chain, or in general, master individual chains by filtering out and working on very specific frequency ranges.”


Now let me add this information to the above tip, that I have myself tried this method on more than one occasion, and achieved exactly the same results in sound as any big commercial release, yet I have not released even a single song with that sound. I just didn’t like that sound! Call it a musicians’ ego if you want to, but there were good reasons (details below).

Getting a head around headspace:

Mastering needs 3-6 decibels headspace for the engineers to work their magic. But what really is this headspace; just lowering the volume of the mix (or individual tracks) down? At a more basic level; what is ‘Digital Sound’ really?

1.    What is Sound:
Any sound, from any source or instrument, is a mixture of audible frequencies, with bits scattered all over the spectrum, from the lower levels towards the higher levels. A few peak frequencies give a source its’ distinct voice. Try a low pass filter on hitats, and see how far below can you drop the shelf before you stop hearing any sound at all. Try it on a piano or a pad! You will know how each sound is a mix of many wavelengths and frequencies, each adding their own ‘timbre’ to the overall ‘timbre’ of the sound. Now consider a sound mix, like a song, where many sounds have been mixed together to create one sound. Do you think, with all their frequency ranges intertwined, you can really separate the instruments completely using any filters, equalizers, or the like?

2.    Analog Sound:
An analog sound recording is a continuous record of all the wavelengths and frequencies that make up a sound, along with their amplitudes, much like a line-graph. When recorded on a medium like a tape, it is played back in a flowing continuity.

3.    Digital Sound:
Digital sound, for example the industry standard PCM wave, on the contrary, is a disjointed record of the sound; that is, it is made up of chunks of data. From afar it appears like a line graph, but a closer inspection reveals its dotted make; the quantization (see below).

4.    The chunks of digital data:
Consider for example a ‘one second long sound sample’, made up of 16 different wavelengths. This sound’s analog record with include all the values that those 16 wavelengths will assume, as a part of their rising and falling amplitudes, over the course of one second. However, digital data is recorded in bits and bytes, which are not the same as a continuous line drawn on a piece of paper. Digital sound is recorded by breaking that continuous one second sound data, into many smaller chunks; for example, 44,100 chunks of a single second (44.1KHz), or 48,000 chunks of that second (48KHz). These chunks are called samples, and hence ‘sample rate’ defines how many samples per second a wave file contains.

Then of course, these chunks themselves have chunks of data; for our current example, all 16 wavelengths will be present as 16 small pieces, each with a range of data, albeit a much smaller range. Say if you chop a piece of pipe into smaller pieces, each piece would still have two ends, and water will still take time to pass from one end to the other. But a ‘Digital Sound’ can only be recorded using a set number of data points, with each point stating a precise value; for example, each sample can be described by using 16 (our current example), or 24, or 32 markers, with each marker having a single precise value (and not a range of values) for that particular sample. The number of markers so used to describe the details of a sound sample, they represent the depth of detail; the bit-depth.

Thus a one second sound chopped into 44,100 pieces, will be represented by that many blocks of data, with each block’s data encoded using 16, 24, or 32 markers. But what does each one of these markers really represent?

5.    The data markers:
In our example, let us assume that each marker is associated with one out of the 16 waves. Now each marker will represent the average amplitude of that wave’s piece in that sample. Thus the range between highest and lowest values would be lost in favour of one single average value. What does this means? This means, the analog wave that looked like a continuous line, gets converted into a dotted line in digital world, which would look continuous from a distance, but dotted up close. This is what is described as quantization error, as intervening values are lost in favour of single average value. In practical world, 50-60 KHz sampling rates yield results that can simulate an analog sound for the purpose of human hearing abilities. Anything beyond is non-detectable overkill. And that is why 48 KHz (more continuity in sound) is a good sample rate to render, with a 24 bit depth (more headspace).

But what has all this got to do with headroom, clipping, and mastering? Or wait; what did I just explain up there?

1.    The working of bit depth:
Suppose you have 16 one litre bowls to fill (16 bit information per sample), and a bucket full of water (a song made of many sounds). You pour water in each one of them to different levels (this is what your 16 bit wave sample would look like). Imagine each of those bowls represent a bit that is attached to a section of the audible frequency range, say bowl one to 20-100 Hz, bowl two to 100-300 Hz, and so on so forth. When you are creating a song, each instrument will add its’ sound (or water in our example) to more than one bowl; (because each sound is a mixture of many wavelengths). The bowl that would overflow, would lose water (that is, the amplitude for a particular frequency/wavelength section, that goes beyond what the system is capable of mapping, generally 0 db tops, that amplitude’s true value would be lost, and the resulting average information recorded wouldn’t be accurate, and would sound as a distortion, called clipping, and besides, the average value for extreme variations is generally inaccurate information). Remember how when you are producing a song, and all sounds are peaking well below the 0db level, and then you add one sound that just goes way over the charts and the master chain starts recording clipping; yeah, that is one bowl clearly full beyond full, and that full bowl is what the master mix is recording as error.

2.    Dealing with near full bits:
So when you send a song, with all the bowls full, or nearly full, there is nothing left for the engineers to add to that sound (of course, what they add is what I despise, as described below). So when a mastering engineer, say for example, needs to jack up the midrange, and that range’s bowl is already full, they have no choice but to empty some of it, to create space for the jacking up (layering and filtering tricks can help here). But of course, as you already know now; every frequency segment contains frequencies from more than one sound source. So you end up with one sound getting improved (allegedly), while many others take the hit. And this is why it is called GIGO!

On the contrary, if you give them plenty of room in the bits, to work with, the mastering engineers can really jack up the levels that need to be jacked up, without destroying anything else (allegedly, once more).

Putting timbres on timbre:

Of course, in a perfect world mastering engineers would be able to add or remove only the frequencies that need to be so, but unfortunately, in real world these frequencies, as already noted above, are intertwined. This is the very reason why the mastering engineers also don’t want you to add any effects to the song you dispatch to them. All the effects, like reverb, flanging, chorus, delays etc, they all add newer frequencies to the sound, covering an even bigger range, and complicating the maze. Now remember; you are sending a mastering engineer a single complex sound, a song, and not individual tracks that they could work on, and then mix together to create a gorgeous product for you to claim as your own artistic achievement. This is what makes mastering a good intentioned job done to create a poor end product.

1.    The amazing sound timbres you create:
All the gorgeous sounds that you create or mix, while creating a composition, they all have some very particular dominant frequencies. It is the sound of these frequencies, and how they mix with the rest of their own non-dominant frequencies, that makes them appealing to you. Each sound may have one or two peak frequencies, but the rest are not just absent, but are rather pushed out of prominence, in a prominent yet gradual way; consider a wave that stays low for a long time, then rises up sharply, and falls down quickly, and finally fades out slowly again. This is what all sounds are; some just have a smaller foot print in one or the other direction of their peak.

2.    The timbres that mastering adds:
When a mastering engineer is working with a mix of sounds, they may limit their impact to a particular frequency range, with an intention to improve a sound peaking in that range. Unfortunately however, whatever they do with that range, will also impact other sounds that might as such be peaking in other ranges, but have some bits of their limbs in the impacted range. Suddenly the overall character of those impacted sounds changes. Suddenly the ‘hihats’ may start sounding trashier even if you had tuned them to sound soft and rounded. The ‘kick’ may start sounding duller, even if flatter. The ‘bells’ may become rough, and ‘whistles’ and ‘pads’ might become heavier or shriller. The list is endless, and now you know why I haven’t released any of my songs with a commercially mastered sound in spite of my understanding of the subject matter.

This is what my dear friend, I call LGO. You lose the charm of the sounds that you create, only to get a louder product. So, do you really need mastering for your compositions? Well, this question is better answered by asking these questions:
a)    Can you increase the volume of your song enough by layering some elements of the song (experience will teach you which ones)?
b)    Are there really any sounds that matter so much to you that you would rather not master the track?
c)    Do you rather want a commercial sound than pamper your artistic ego?
Answer these for yourself and you can figure out whether you need mastering in a particular instance, or not.

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Art of Compositions

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The Art of Compositions

“A Composition is a home in which many a song may live.”

A Composition is a construct, a complete building, in which more than one song may reside at a time; a perfect example would be the famous song from an all time hit Bollywood movie ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, the song being ‘Antakshri’. This particular composition is a house in which scores of older Bollywood tunes reside as if they were always a part of it, and yet it is all but one Musical Composition. To put the point precisely;

“When one is composing a piece of music, they are constructing a structure of which a song may only be but a small part. There could also be introductory prelude, intermediary phases, independent melodies, and closing postlude, to complete the shape.”

Of course, the simplest of compositions are all but one song long. But what really goes into making such simple constructs; is far from simple.

For the ease of explanation, a simple composition can be broken down into two parts: melody, and accompaniment. Be sure however, that barely scratches the surface of what really goes into making one. The nuances of composing get complicated like a maze when one starts dibbling into rhythms, melodies, lyrics, accompaniments, riffs, vamps, hooks, and ostinati. What do all these really mean for a composer, and how do they really fit in with each other?

There are three ways a composition may come to life; from lyrics, from melody, and from a rhythm. There is no hard and fast rule as to which method is better that the others, yet individual composers have their own preferences. A good composer however can deploy either one of these three methods according to their needs, and create a respectable work. So to be a good composer one needs to know what these three most important parts of a composition mean, before even considering their relationship with everything else that can go into making a complete composition.

1.    Lyrics: Generally a song is born from an idea or a phrase, when the lyricist goes about filling in all the gaps left behind by it; that is, creating the body of the song. Lyrics can also be written by converting the notes in a melody into words, or lining phrases to a rhythm. I generally start with a phrase, or even less; I’ve written an entire song from the word(s) ‘Time-Machine’, just by staying true to all the meanings that it could convey, and then developing one meaning into a story of its’ own. In a song, the lyrics represent the melody part of the song, and they may or may not be supported by an instrumental melody in the composition. Compositions however, can also exist without any lyrics at all, and even melody as such. Rhythm and accompaniment may suffice to create a composition.
2.    Melody: A melody, like lyrics, can be the sole source of an entire song, or be there in supporting cast. A melody can thus be a complete idea, that is, the lyrics or meaning of the song; but could also be a musical representation of the lyrics, a complementary piece, or a contrast. When lyrics are converted into notes, the melody is merely a musical representation of the words. When a melody is complementary in nature, it could complement either the lyrics or the accompaniment; that is, it is a musical phrase that copies neither, but goes well with either. When a melody is in contrast, then of course, the intention is to heighten the emotions identifiable from the lyrics. As a general rule, however, a melody cannot be in contrast to the rhythm, simply because rhythm is there to lower or enhance the feeling, but not to identify an emotion. Such contrasting melodies are used in electronic dance music a lot, where the lyrics flow smoothly until the contrasting melody is introduced over a vibrant rhythm.
3.    Rhythm: The single most important aspect of the composition is its’ rhythm. The feeling that a composition generates, is really felt through its’ rhythm, while the attached emotions are identified by the lyrics and melodies, the latter duo thus being there only to give a name to the experience, or heighten its perception. For example, a pulsating beat gives one the feeling of excitement, while lyrics and melodies can help associate that feeling with fear, energy, happiness, anger, or something else. Even a piece with no use of percussion and drums, has a rhythm to it. Rhythm thus is the ‘felt’ part of the music, while lyrics and melodies are the ‘perceived’ part. In fact, a different rhythm can give a very different feel to the same lyrics or melody.

A good composer can start with either of the above three aspects of a composition, but once when the actual construction begins, the first element to be put in place happens to be the rhythm.

1.    Creating the Rhythm: The very first considerations to be dealt with are tempo, scale, syncopation, and note patterns; generally in that order. When the method deployed is that of “Rhythm to Composition”, then these issues are merely a matter of choice for the composer, but when the method deployed is one of the other two, then the answers to these queries are provided by the lyrics or melodies themselves. Consider the rhythm that I have used in my song ‘Time-Machine’; a simple ‘di-chi dhee-chi dhee-chi rest, dheeee-cha-chaa’. This rhythm easily decipherable from the way the lyrics are sung. I may have started with the lyrics, but converting those lyrics into a beat was the first step to get them feeling groovy, and give the composition a starting framework to build upon. A simple kick drum and snare can generate that rhythm, but that rhythm feels empty. Surely, Hihats can fill some gap, and ‘rest’ is also an integral part of the composition, for it enhances the meaning and perception of melodies and rhythms, but still the rhythm is empty without other elements; together referred to as accompaniment.
2.    Bringing in the Accompaniment: Chords, Percussion, Pads, Bassline, and Chorus, these are elements that build upon the rhythm to create a complete structure.
a)    Chords: The first element that adds weight to the rhythm is a chord pattern (or a note pattern, or a mix of the two in some instances). A soft sounding instrument, like a piano played at pianissimo, or a wind instrument, like a Saxophone (as in the case of ‘Time-Machine’), is added to either complement the basic rhythm, or to copy it. For example, in House music, a 4/4 chord pattern on the beat copies the beat, while off-beat, it complements it. In ‘Time-Machine’ the Saxophone sound both complements, and copies the rhythm.
b)    Percussion: Shakers, claps, finger snips, cowbells, and all, can help fill some gaps by complementing the rhythm, or copy the rhythm like the Chords above; an example would be the use of 4/4 claps in House music.
c)    Pads: These are generally used to smoothen out the rhythm, so that the gaps in the rhythm, chords, and percussion pattern don’t sound jarring. But they can also serve an important role in heightening the perception of lyrics, melodies, and rhythms, by adding a supporting voice underneath.
d)    Bassline: This generally gives a deeper feel to the rhythm, by tying together all the different sounds making up the rhythm and accompaniment. They do so generally by imitating the combined sound generated by the rhythm and the accompaniment, but can on occasions do so by adding a complementary touch. Occasionally these may assume an entirely different role in addition to this, which is discussed below.
e)    Chorus: Chorus voices, vocals or instrumentals, are generally there to fill the gaps in both rhythm and lyrics or melodies, and in the process, add to the character of the composition. They can copy rhythm, copy lyrics or melodies, or assume their own distinct identity.
3.    Creating the Identity: While a rhythm supported by an accompaniment is enough to create a composition, without the need of lyrics or melodies, yet to make it last longer in the memory of its audience, it needs elements that exist within the realm of the latter duo. These elements often become the defining features of particular compositions, and audience remembers and identifies these compositions through their defining elements. The best classified amongst these elements are hooks, riffs, vamps, and ostinati.
a.    Hooks: Hooks are the catch-lines of a composition; the sounds that hook a listener to a tune, much like a fishing hook. These could be melodies, like the complementing ‘Bassline’ driven melodies of songs ‘Satisfaction’, ‘Like a G6’, or the flute from the song ‘Dil Deewana’ from Bollywood movie ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. These could be also be vocal phrases, like the word ‘Panda’ from the song ‘Panda’ by ‘Desiigner’. Their sole purpose is to give the composition its’ distinct identity that would hook the listener to the tune.
b.    Riffs: Riffs are musical phrases that are generally used to transition between one part of the composition to another, one melody to another, or one phrase to another. They serve to signal a change. A good example would be the sounds of violins, keypads, pianos, that are generally used when one lyrical line ends, and before the next one starts, or the sounds used when the verse ends and the chorus is about to begin, or the interlude ends and a new verse is about to begin. Thus in effect, they usher in what follows. The distinct chord sound used in ‘Empire State of Mind’ serves as a riff each time Alicia Keys is singing. In the Bollywood song ‘Dil Deewana’, mentioned above, each lyrical line is dotted by a flute riff, and then finally by a violin chorus. The tingling sound that I used in my song ‘Bankrupt in Love’ is another example. But that is not the least of the fun part with riffs. Riffs can sometimes take up the role of hooks, and even drive an entire composition. Examples would include Led Zeppline’s song ‘Whole lotta love’, or from India, a very recent Punjabi song ‘Hathyar Varga’. Such songs have riffs that act as hooks, as well as drive the entire song. They are riffs, and not hooks or vamps, because they are very short musical phrases, which in their normal usage would have served as transitional phrases, as described above.
c.    Vamps: Vamps are continuously repeating phrases that occur at the beginning of a musical composition. Vamps were designed to allow time to the lead vocalist to get ready and join in. In electronic music, the contemporary of Vamps is ‘Loops’. When you play an unedited House music track, the looping music that plays at its beginning, the one whose purpose is to assist live performing DJs in beat mixing and matching, is serving the function of a Vamp. Bon Jovi’s epic song, ‘It’s my life’; the guitar and bass riff that opens the song, could very well be used as a Vamp in live performance of that song. I personally use a modified version of Vamps, to introduce most of my songs; the long preludes. These are Vamps because they are readying the ground for the real song to kick in, but modified because they generally play a melody or a hook, but only once.
d.    Ostinati: In classical music, ostinato (plural: ostinati) is a phrase that persistently repeats itself in the song, generally without changing in pitch, and without variation. Thus both riffs and vamps are modern contemporaries of classical ostinati, but have assumed specific roles. Ostinati meanwhile occur throughout the length of the song, and can be present as a prime melody, or prominent accompaniment component. Donna Summer’s ‘I feel love’ is an Ostinato driven track. The flute hook of the song ‘Dil Deewana’, mentioned above, actually covers three roles in that song; it is the hook of that song, it has been used as a riff too, and it could also be considered the Ostinato of that song.

A good composer, like a good soldier, knows the strength and weaknesses of the weapons at his disposal, but a brilliant one knows how to improvise. What sets people like Indian Maestro A.R. Rahman apart from the crowd is their ability to create magic out of nothing; for example, Rahman’s use of the sound train makes while running on a track as part of the melody, as part of the hook, of his song ‘Chaiya chaiya’ is a great example of modern compositional improvisation. Rhythms can themselves generate interesting melodies. What limits a musician is their imagination, and an artist with limited imagination is no artist at all.

Happy composing!

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss

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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why I chose to promote heterosexuality

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Why I chose to promote heterosexuality

“Sexuality is what your mind allows you to do.”

It wasn’t until year eight of my schooling, or thereabouts, that I started to visualize girls sexually. In fact as late as year ten of my schooling, my classmates would struggle to imagine me even getting excited at the thought of girls. I was a joker, a philosopher, or naughty, but one thing that I never was; I was never a charmer or charmed! Lucky for me I was growing up in India where gay culture was, and potentially still isn’t, strong. Else my classmates could have very naturally assumed that I was gay, and potentially even convinced me the same. But that’s where the crux of this piece lies; right there in my childhood.

When one looks at all the young school girls with their highly inappropriate clothing for their age and activities, one could very well be drawn into age old arguments of moral policing and sexualisation of the female bodies. But hey, that’s not the most important thing at play here. One can deny nature because it suits their ideology (oops!), but nature is much more complex than that. Let me de-sex the situation and put it this way, basing my assertion on my own experience of being a child once; a 10 year old school girl or boy may not be interested in sex at all, even if they knew what it was, but a 14 year old girl or boy, or a 40 year old woman or man, are not in the same shoes. What makes paedophilia such a morally reprehensible wrong is that it involves the exploitation of someone who doesn’t even know what is involved until the moment their innocence is mostly slyly defrauded off them by someone who knows exactly what is involved. And that’s where the first aspect of sexuality comes in; it is about understanding what sex actually involves.

As we grow older we begin to confuse love and sex, thinking that the two are intertwined, conveniently forgetting that we could love more deeply even when we didn’t know what sex was. But of course, once the knowledge of sex adulterates our conscious thoughts, our viewpoint of love changes. We can no longer love someone without expecting to consummate our relationship at some point of time. But at the same time, we also consciously set up moral boundaries as to who we can have sex with and who we cannot. For example; irrespective of our sexualities, we all tell ourselves that sex with parents and siblings is wrong, even though friends may or may not make that list, or only some of them may. This is where the second aspect of sexuality comes in; the boundaries of what’s in and what’s not.

Now returning to my childhood, or rather young adulthood, or adolescence if you are language police; it was that impressionable age where I was to determine my life style choices. Heterosexuality, as already noted, was the only known lifestyle in my society, and therefore setting up boundaries of what’s in and what’s not, was very simple for me; it had to be girls only. But had I been a child growing in say US at that time, the story might have been different. I might have been labelled a freak by my classmates, and some others might have impressed upon me that I was probably gay. And since being gay, even though a disadvantage and source of discrimination in many a society, was still a normalized choice in US at that time, I could have very easily set up boundaries to exclude girls from my choice of sex partners. And this is where the second-last aspect of sexuality comes in; the reinforcement. 

One tells oneself who is inside the sex circle, and then positively excludes the rest out of it, again and again until their choice becomes a second nature to them. Any person can be homosexual or heterosexual or even bisexual, the only determinant of the choice being what’s in and what’s out of the boundaries of sexuality. There is nothing unwomanly about a lesbian’s body, or unmanly about a gay’s body. They still produce the same hormones and have the same morphological features as their heterosexual counterparts. Yet their choice of what gives them sexual pleasure couldn’t be any more different. But what really is this sexual pleasure. Science would explain all the hormones human body will release at the culmination of the sexual act, which doesn’t even need to be an intercourse with another organism, leave alone another human. But that is not what sexual pleasure is about! One can indulge oneself without even thinking about what they are doing, and their body would still release the hormones it is designed to release, yet the satisfaction won’t be there. So what makes up this last aspect of sexuality; la satisfaction?

Let’s go back to the headline of this piece; what role is mind playing in sex, which is in addition to the body? The mind is at first instance limiting your choice of sexual partners, and then at the second instance, telling you how satisfied you are that you have done it with whom you wanted to do it with. Perhaps now everything written above would make a better sense. Once you know what sex is and how it is done, and your mind has determined whom you can have sex with, then the only thing left to do is to enjoy the act accordingly. Your mind knows what sex is, your mind tells you whom you can have it with, and your mind tells you that you are satisfied. So is it not all just in your mind?

Now let’s return to my young adulthood again and consider the role the social dynamics played in shaping up my sexuality. I am heterosexual because I have grown up to like girls. And I like girls as much because I like them, but equally because my mind has set boundaries to tell me that girls is what boys have sex with. Positive reinforcement of cultural values plays an important role in determining a person’s sexuality. It is really easy to hate girls, because they think differently than boys. And with the wild ride that feminism has been for many a girl in western society, their adamant posture at being a muse for boys further tests the boys liking for girls. It is really easy for boys to like boys and girls to like girls, and day by day it is becoming harder for the boys and girls to like each other. Day by day it is becoming easier to be gay! So is it not becoming apparently clear now as to why I chose to promote heterosexuality?

But let me assure you here; it is not the only reason. There is another big reason for me to promote heterosexuality. Since heterosexuality and homosexuality is all in mind, it is easy to promote either or both lifestyles, yet I chose heterosexuality because it is the only way humans can produce children, and children should preferably grow in a family made up of a father and a mother. Now I know there are gay icons who are lesbian mothers, and I also know they are going to argue there is nothing wrong with two women raising a child. Then given the fact that most relationships don’t last these days, and many kids end up growing with only one of their biological parents, their arguments do carry good weight. But is that all that is to be said? What about the child?

It is easy to say for a gay parent that their child is not being deprived of any love by being born to a homosexual parent, but isn’t it just pure selfishness, to assume what a child would like and then impose your choice of lifestyle and its consequences on a yet to be conceived individual? Just because many kids will likely grow with only one parent doesn’t mean that they will never have a relationship with the other, or wouldn’t want to have it. Promoting homosexual lifestyle would eventually lead to many such questions that would involve rights of individuals that are yet to be born. The discussions won’t just end at marriage equality.

I chose to promote heterosexuality because I know anyone can be heterosexual. I chose to promote heterosexuality because I don’t want to argue whether an unborn child has any rights tomorrow. I chose to promote heterosexuality because I am heterosexual and I want my kids to be heterosexual, which I know will be highly likely when heterosexuality is considered the normal way of life. No, I do not support any discrimination against anyone, least of all because of who they sleep with at night. But that does not mean I should promote sleeping with the same sex.

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss,
Amanpreet Singh Rai

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

From Fiction to Future

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From Fiction to Future

“A vision is the seed of endeavours, and endeavours lead to inventions.”

Present is always a product of past, but seldom does past play a passive expectant mother, much like how our present is full of active entrepreneurships. But an entrepreneurship emerges out of an unsatisfied individual’s visions, about a future they would rather have than what they would otherwise get. Visions motivate endeavours, and endeavours lead to inventions. Those inventions then build up to a future that ultimately becomes present.

Those of you who read my fiction, would already be aware of my habit of making big scientific suggestions is an un-assuming fashion, as if they are just a part of the narrative and go with the flow. But more often, it is my way of putting my scientific hypothesis out in front of the world, in an entertaining way so that the message doesn’t get lost. So if you are keeping up with the latest in the ‘God of a Man’ series; ‘Across two eternities’; you would have already read about an idea posited by me in its’ third chapter.

The idea relates to transmitting written messages as visible light, straight into receiver’s eyes, where the message is picked up by the sensory organ and sent to brain as a visual message. This message is picked up by the brain as if that individual had heard someone speak it out loud. The finer details are explained therein, but let me just elaborate on what the potential of this idea really is.

Imagine an entire book, rather than having to be read, being beamed straight into your eyes. Now imagine how quick it would be to imbibe knowledge in this fashion, and given that even Einstein barely used ten percent of his brain in his entire lifetime, imagine the amount of information each human being would be able to assimilate. Humanity would straight away become many times enlightened. Needless to say, our scientific advancement would know no bounds from there on. All one would need is to learn a language well, and then whatever knowledge they would need, could be beamed straight into their mind via eyes, cutting out the time limitations.

And that my dear friends, is the door to the space-age; now open!

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

A jar of cookies

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A jar of cookies

“Brick by brick for a castle built, chip by chip shall it may fall.”

One bright sunny morning, a social science teacher in a senior college decided to teach his students an invaluable life lesson. So he set up his classroom before any of his students had arrived, and then locked the door and waited outside. Once all his students had assembled, he informed them his intention to teach them in the college lawn that day, and took them to the college’s front lawn.

After some time he informed his students, “Today one of my friends gave me a jar of chocolate cookies and I thought I’ll share it with you, my students. Now I don’t know how many cookies are in it, for I haven’t looked inside it yet. They feel like plenty, but even if they aren’t, we will share however many there are.” Having said that, he instructed one of his students to go back to the classroom and see if the jar is alright. The student obliged and returned after having a look.

“Was the jar alright?” the teacher asked.

“Yes Sir,” the student respectfully replied.

The teacher then continued with the job of teaching them, but at regular intervals kept on sending one student to have a look at the jar. Finally when the lecture he was delivering was over, he asked the students to follow him back to the class.

Once back in the class, as all the students made themselves comfortable in their seats, the teacher finally opened the jar and looked inside. A smile developed on his face. He called the last student he had sent to have a look at the jar, and asked him to look inside and tell him, “Is this how many cookies were in there when you looked at the jar?”

The students looked inside the jar obediently, and replied, “Yes sir.”

“Thank you,” the teacher replied to him, and then called on the very first student that he had sent to have a look at the jar, and asked him the same question, “Is this how many cookies you saw were there in the jar?”

The student looked inside the jar, and an expression of shock developed on his face. But the student stepped back and replied, “Sorry Sir, I don’t remember correctly, but that might have been it.”

The teacher smiled again, and sensing that his experiment had worked finally disclosed to the student, “OK, I was doing an experiment to teach you guys a very special lesson. So don’t be afraid, and tell me the truth.”

The student, just like others, had already realized that their teacher had been setting them up for something, finally admitted, “I’m sorry Sir, I only took one.”

“Tell us; why did you decide to take one?” the teacher asked.

“I thought no one will notice,” the student replied, “And besides, I thought you were going to give it to us anyway, so it wouldn’t make a difference if I took one. There seemed to be plenty.”

The teacher laughed a bit at first, and then asked the other students, “Is this what the rest of you also thought.” And the entire class, embarrassed as they were, nodded in acceptance of their folly. The teacher then informed them, “This jar was actually almost full, and now it is halfway down.” He then showed them the jar, before proceeding towards a closet in the room where he had set up a camera to record the students’ activity.

Having showed his students the video of their stealing the cookies thinking no one was watching and no one will know, the teacher finally exclaimed, “Think of your democracy as this jar of cookies. Each time one of our generations will take away a cookie out of it, the next generation may not realize it has lost something out of the jar, but ten-fifteen generations down the line, a lot of the goodness the democracy contains, would have already been lost. And the worst part is; those generations won’t even know what they were missing out on.”

And with that he dismissed the class for the day.

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

The curious case of Feminism in a Democratic Court

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The curious case of Feminism in a Democratic Court

“Familism: The future is not just about our daughters. It is also about our sons, and above all, us; the man and his wife. It is about balance, and not prejudices.”

The election season in a democracy can have a very disconcerting affect on things that may have nothing to with the political scene. It can sometimes not really be about the mileage one party can derive or the other party can lose, but it could also be about creating an emotional atmosphere inclined in a particular direction, for that could affect the choice of the unaligned voter; the game changer. But you might ask; what has elections got to do with this piece of writing? Well, that proves my point! But I’m sure this is not enough to answer your query. So let me get into the nitty-gritty.

I agree, even if it wasn’t the election season in the US, Kesha’s case would have received a similar level of attention, and a similar style of support. That’s how feminism has been working; loud male bashing, distorted one sided viewpoints, bullying and outshouting those who raise a valid counterargument, and above all, disconnecting public from reality and making them assume all kinds of things before they start thinking the same way as the feminists would want them to. So now that you get the premise of this writing, let me state what exactly I want to address in this article; the irreparable and deeply concerning damage this dangerous assault on the democratic court structure might cause. Self serving agendas have always been in vogue throughout the history of mankind, and have never been good in the long run!

No, this piece is not about how Kesha’s case is a contract case, and how she can very well terminate the contract and pay damages. Of course, unfortunately for her the damages would run into millions, with Dr. Luke already claiming an expense of $60 Million in creating the Kesha that everybody knows and loves today, and add to it, all the money her contract would generate now that her career has been firmly established. In contract law Court looks not only at the actual damage sustained, but also the damage that cannot be mitigated by finding a replacement. Now imagine getting out of a contract, signing another one that might be a hundred times better, and still ending up spending the rest of your life working hard to barely pay back the damages from the original one. No wonder she was seeking a termination from the court in a way that would let her out as an innocent party not liable to pay damages. But that is not what this article is about. This article is about the way Feminism is affecting the democratic nature of both our society as well as our court system, and about how it is doing nothing but making the society as bad as the male dominated society only except the order being reversed through legal means. But the worst is; this will affect democracy in ways that go much beyond the case of feminism.

Going through social media pages what concerned me the most was, the court didn’t find any merit in Kesha’s case, but feminists had already labelled an innocent man rapist. How is this different from the days when church would label women as witches, or when men would label women as sluts, without any proof? But that is not the worst part of it. The worst part is; this labelling can only be justified if everyone was to believe each and every allegation Kesha had levelled against the man, as absolute truth. What this means is; the man is a criminal unless he can prove his innocence. And I am sure this gives you an idea where this writing is headed to from here on. But let me add that this is not all that is wrong. Even worst; why would one believe mere allegations to be true unless those allegations are presented as a generalized scenario that this is what generally happens. The entire case of Kesha is based on the notion that men generally rape women, and every time a women calls out a man as a rapist, she has to be believed. Now imagine your sons growing up in such a world or for that matter if you are a man, finding yourself at the receiving end of baseless allegations of a woman due to a twist of fate or a political design.

“Believe all women” is the slogan feminists use to press their case against men, although there is nothing in the human history or psychology to suggest such should be the norm. Why not believe all men? Now before feminists start working their brains and listing reasons to answer my last question, let me remind them; all your reasons would be based on a generalization about the entire male population of the world, when they would actually be based on a handful of men. And before you say that all men are alike, let me remind you; every woman in this world knows more men than one, and it might include her own brothers and sons. And if that is not enough to answer your prejudices, let me remind you of how historically women have not only been used as honey traps by men, but have themselves willingly hunted men for their wealth and power; the gold diggers, and the trail of broken homes that they left behind. There have been known sluts, and I can use this word without offending every woman, for they all know this is the truth. Now going by your yardstick if no man can be believed because some are bad, then no woman should be believed too for some women are bad. Feminists are doing nothing, but exactly what men used to do in an earlier society. Is this advancement or return to the old days, albeit on the other side of the coin? While men used to discipline women through physical dominance, feminists are pushing to do the reverse through legal dominance.

Now as I already mentioned, the only reason to find against Dr. Luke in the current case is to believe everything Kesha has stated against him, not because she has presented any proof, but simply because feminists want us to accept their assertion; men generally do that. If this is the best argument to win the case, then imagine all the reasons for which one could be labelled a criminal without any proof. Today it is about women, tomorrow it would be about terrorism, day after political dissent. And I guess you know exactly where we are heading to.

The political powers are already in your telephone, your mobile, your emails, your messages. You are hooked to television which shows slick programs produced on mind staggering budgets, not even realizing they are produced by those who have the big money, and they are not just making the money back with interest, they are also making sure they have complete control of the medium you will refer to when elections would come. And that is not all! You have big corporations like Facebook trying to control your internet too, through great sounding social gifts like “Free Basics”. There are paid peer groups motivating discussion on social media sites like Twitter. Now in such an atmosphere, add a situation where you could be labelled a criminal by mere allegations levelled against you, and you having to prove your innocence. Are we really pushing our democracy forward, or pushing it way back to the time when the crown could get anyone in the public and label them a criminal unless they could prove otherwise? It is not just male rights; it is not just the rights of our sons that are at stake over here. The very future of our democracy is under threat in the light of this mindless assault by women who are motivated by a single prejudice; all men are bad and all women angels.

The very concept of a democratic justice system is based on the notion; one is innocent until proved guilty. This is to ensure that every person would get a fair trial. But feminists have been abusing media power to create prejudices against men, and alter the democratic justice system towards a dangerous direction. This directly affects not only the interests of our sons, but also of our daughters and ourselves, for it erodes the fabric of a democratic structure, rather than taking it forward in a positive direction. The feminists claim they want equal rights, but are rather intent on destroying the same. The future is about finding the balance of interests, of both our sons and daughters. The future should be viewed from the perspective of a complete family. Familism is the way forward!

Fatal Urge Carefree Kiss “Amanpreet Singh Rai”

P.S.: On a personal level, I am a man who wants a good wife. And tomorrow if I have a son, I want a good wife for him too, someone who can take care of him and his home. I am sure every mother would think the same for her son too. But feminism is not going to give any of us that. In fact this post script would have already offended all the feminists out there. So why should I as a man, support it?


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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ginny, Jade and Santa

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Ginny, Jade and Santa

“Truth resides in what, while learning comes from why.”

It was snowing heavily that night at North Pole. Santa had once again braved the weather and arrived back at his home after delivering all the Christmas presents world over. But something was amiss. Elf Victor knew it the very instant Santa disembarked from his sleigh, entrusting his tired but still vibrant reindeer in the hands of his trusted stable manager. But he didn’t ask the elderly saint a question, and just bowed his head and went along with his business of managing the stables. However, it didn’t take long for all the elves to figure out that something was bothering their beloved Santa, as days went by, but the frown on his face didn’t leave.

With almost a month having passed since Christmas, the senior most elf Gloria finally braved her inhibitions and asked Santa, “Dear Saint most noble, what has been bothering you all these days since Christmas?”

Santa heaved a huge sigh and then looked at Gloria, and with tears brimming up his eyes he exclaimed, “I just can’t face Ginny and Jade anymore.”

“But why?” a shocked Gloria asked the revered Saint.

“I fail them every time,” exclaimed an exasperated Santa, “They are the two most lovely kids in this world, who never tell a lie, who never hurt anyone, and who always listen to their elders, and love everybody true from their hearts, and yet I have failed to grant them their wish every Christmas for the last three times.”

“But why can’t you grant them their wish,” Gloria asked innocently, as she wasn’t aware of what Ginny and Jade’s wishes were, “What is it that you can’t provide to them in this whole world?”

“Ginny’s mother and Jade’s father,” Santa replied with tears rolling down his cheeks, “They both lost one of their parents’ when they were still very young, and every year they only ask for one thing that I cannot give them.”

A shocked Gloria covered her mouth with both her hands, “But you can’t grant them that wish, we all know that.” She then paced around the room a couple of times before asking, “So what are you going to do this Christmas?”

“I don’t know, but I am thinking,” Santa spoke stroking his beard, “I might make the trip.”

“To the pearly gates,” Gloria asked, a big frown growing up on her face.

“Only God can help me on this now,” Santa exclaimed throwing away his hands haplessly.

“But you can’t take that journey. It is just too dangerous,” Gloria insisted.

“I don’t have a choice,” Santa replied looking out of his window, glancing at his sleigh.

“But it takes a hundred days to and a hundred days back,” Gloria exclaimed.

“I’ll be right back in time for the next Christmas,” Santa exclaimed.

“But there’s a ferocious beast that guards the way,” the mere thought had terrified Gloria enough to make her grab Santa’s arms to dissuade him from taking the journey, “Please don’t go! They say he devours alive those who dare to make the journey, their souls going directly to the hell. Such ferocious are his eyes they petrify anyone that dares cast a glance upon him. His body grows with the growing fear of his impending victims, and his breath is deadlier that the most poisonous snake.”

“He’s no beast my dearest Elf Gloria, he’s a king cursed to be a werewolf for eternity, by a woman scorned, the one he turned out of his kingdom for witchery upon innocent civilians,” Santa explained to Gloria in reply.

“The evil Witch of the West,” Gloria exclaimed as she reminisced the story Santa had told her once before, “Didn’t she have three daughters with the king, all of whom turned into witches?”

“Yes she had, before the king found out her truth and cast her away as a punishment, the one that the evil Witch took to her heart and laid the spell on the king,” Santa reminded her the rest, “And now together with her three daughters, the Witches of the East, North and South, she controls the beast and patrols the path that stretches between the heaven and earth, along the milky way.”

“Oh dearest Santa, I beg of you, please don’t go on this journey,” Gloria pleaded with him once more.

“I’m afraid, I have no choice,” Santa exclaimed grabbing his coat, hat and bag in a jiffy, and marching out of the room, a crying Gloria pleading with him to change his mind. But he had already made up his mind, and nothing was going to stop him now.

“Where art thou my reindeers?” Santa called out loud as soon as he stepped outside his house, and in a flash came Prancer, Dancer, Donner, Blitzer, Dasher, Vixen, Commet, Cupid and Rudolph, hoping and dancing.

Elf Victor rushed out behind the nine, and was immediately at Santa’s disposal. Gloria immediately asked him to plead with Santa, to not go on the wretched journey, but nothing would deter Santa now that he had made up his mind.

“Oh holy Saint, if you have made your mind to not turn around your sleigh, then please take this magical moss with you,” Elf Victor exclaimed as he extended out a bag full of the reindeer feed, “Feed this to your nine companions once you reach the milky way. It will make their fur impervious to claws and teeth of any evil beast.”

“Thank you my dear friend,” Santa exclaimed as he got ready to take off for his next journey, “They say once a king ordered every man, woman and child in his land to pray only to him, and to no god. He banished the only innocent child who refused to obey his diktat, into the darkest dungeon, without food and water. The kid prayed to god, who spilled his jar of milk, for milk to flow all the way down to the dungeon, to feed the starving child. That milky river still flows out of the heaven, and to the house of that kid, who now lives in a world god made just for him. God asked him that day, if he would like him to take him out of the dungeon right away, but the child refused, saying if he left without the king having realized his mistake, no one will ever believe in God again. For thirty eight days the kid stayed in that dungeon, but the river never dried. So astonished and shaken was the king by the turn of the events, that he fell at the feet of the child, seeking forgiveness. But the kid said that who was he to forgive him, for it wasn’t him that the king had sinned against. And that is when god took the kid away from the dungeon, in a flash, while the king became a hermit to do penance for his sins.” And the Santa looked away and exclaimed as his sleigh took off, “Don’t worry about me, for God will take care of me.”

The nine companions of Santa galloped away as Santa took out his violin and started playing merry tunes, to make light of the journey. On the sixty eighth day they reached the milky river, and that’s when Santa asked his reindeers to stop in their stride.

“This is where the reign of the beast begins,” Santa exclaimed as he pulled out the magical moss from the bag to feed his reindeer, “Here, munch this magical moss for it will protect you from the evil that lurks along these milky river banks.”

A vile growl reverberated in the sky as Santa looked around to take stock of the surrounds. The nine reindeers trembled in fear, but only once. Santa patted them as he looked around before getting back on his sleigh, “Let’s go!”

But the moment the reindeer started to gallop, the beast sprung out of the milky river and straight behind them, growling out loud.

“God speed you,” exclaimed Santa as his reindeer galloped in unison. But the beast followed them, growling viciously. The reindeer looked back at the beast and the sight of his ferocious eyes scared them. Frightened, they sped up. But the more they got scared, the bigger the beast got, and faster he galloped, gaining on them. And the more the beast grew and gained on them, the more the reindeer got frightened. Santa looked back at the beast, and then at his reindeer.

“Do not fear the beast for he cannot harm you,” Santa yelled, but the fear of the beast had clouded their senses, and the reindeer didn’t pay head to a word Santa said.

Finally the beast pounced on the Santa on the sleigh, but the holy halo around the Santa immediately set the beast’s fur on fire, and he couldn’t even touch Santa. The burning beast immediately jumped into the milky river to douse his flames, and the reindeers heaved a sigh of relief. But their joy was short lived, as the beast sprung out of the river, more enraged than ever. His growl was louder and more ferocious, and scared the reindeer even more. The beast galloped to the front and pounced on Prancer, but neither his claws could scratch him, and nor could he sink his teeth into his fur. He then tried to bite Dancer, and then Rudolph, and then the others, but failed to scratch any of them. The reindeer finally started to gain their confidence. At this point Santa started playing a merry melody on his violin that cheered the reindeer up even further, until all their fear was lost and the beast was no bigger than the size of a small dog. Donner immediately picked the beast up on his horns, and threw him playfully up in the air towards the others, and the reindeers started a game play of catch and throw with the beast, as they marched along their way.

“Enough,” finally Santa exclaimed, and Rudolph tossed the beast towards Santa, who immediately opened the mouth of his bag, and the beast got sucked into it. The reindeer gave out a cry of victory as they galloped away.

But unknown to them, the four witches had witnessed the fate of their beast. The four immediately emerged out of shadows laughing hysterically, their evil laugh drowning away the melodies of Santa’s violin.

“You think you are too smart and strong,” the evil witch of the West exclaimed, “But none has ever gone past our way before, and so won’t you.” And with a loud war cry, she let out a magical beam from her wand straight at Santa. Santa however immediately grabbed his own shaft and defended the attack. Not impressed, the evil witch fired a salvo, but Santa defended it all. Seeing their mother fail in her mission enraged the three daughters, and they too joined their mother, and all four of them simultaneously attacked Santa, from four different directions.

Santa immediately closed his eyes and cast a spell that created a magical protection layer all around him, his sleigh and his companions. This layer negotiated all the attacks the four inflicted upon them, and Santa’s journey continued uninterrupted. Their unprecedented failure enraged the four witches as they gathered together to figure out a way to defeat the old man.

“He has got the power of truth and good protecting him. We can’t beat that,” said the wicked witch of the East.

“But such power does not work on innocent beings and inanimate objects,” the wicked witch of the South exclaimed.

“That is so true my sweetest and most evil daughter,” exclaimed the wicked witch of the West with a grin on her face, “And I think I’ve just got the plan to hurt him now. Follow me!”

And the four witches flew away as the mother lead them to an asteroid belt.

“Here lays the mine field that would destroy their train,” exclaimed the wicked witch of the West with a loud evil laugh, “Come; let’s rain meteors on the caravan.”

And the four witches immediately set on casting a spell on the rocks, changing their course to aim at the galloping caravan.

“To make this a success, we will have to be one with the rocks,” exclaimed the wicked Witch of the East, as the four laughed out hysterically, before turning into rocks, and then flying towards the Santa.

“Oh my god, that’s not the way the meteors should be coming,” exclaimed Santa as he saw the approaching meteorite shower.

But the spell cast on the meteors had made their approach so quick and hard, it gave no time to Santa to avoid them. His sleigh ran right into the middle of the rock shower, as pieces of rocks started hitting Santa and his reindeer mercilessly. His protection didn’t work on inanimate objects. He tried in vain to fend off as many as he could by swinging his shaft, but he had been caught unawares and unprepared.

“Quick! Into the milky river,” exclaimed Santa to his reindeer, and they immediately followed his command and galloped straight into the river.

“How do I find them hiding in rocks?” thought Santa to himself, as he caressed his wounds with the milk flowing around him. But tending to his wounds gave him the answer that he needed, “Real rocks don’t bleed!” In a flash he was back on his feet, “Out of the river now.” And the sleigh was back on the path, and the meteorite shower returned too. But this time Santa was ready. He swung his shaft so hard and fast, it started shattering each and every rock piece that dared come near his caravan. Didn’t take too long for him to have hit all four of the witches, who cried out in pain, and Santa found out the rocks that bled.

Santa immediately opened up his bag, and the four mighty rocks that were much bigger than the bag, got sucked into it one by one. And Santa immediately tied the mouth of the bag.

“Hey holy man, please let us go, we plead of you, we are sorry,” pleaded the four witches one by one, as they realized they were now caught.

“Why should I release you, the evil ones,” asked Santa in a roaring voice.

“Please forgive us for our sins you kind man, we promise never to repeat our mistakes again,” exclaimed the wicked witch of the West, “My daughters are bleeding, and so is my husband. Please have mercy on us.”

Santa thought for a moment and then said, “OK! Let me first heal your wounds first.” He then closed his eyes to say a spell, and then exclaimed, “Each one of you will now have a bowl in hand, full of magic porridge, that would heal your wounds.”

“Yes, kind man, yes indeed,” exclaimed the witch as she and her daughters and the beast could be heard eating porridge.

Once they had finished eating porridge, Santa continued, “Let me first release the beast, but not without undoing the wrong that had been done to him.” And then he cast another spell before opening up the bag, and the righteous king emerged out of it.

“Hey kind Saint, how can I ever repay you for your kindness,” the king exclaimed as he knelt down in front of Santa.

“Rise oh king,” exclaimed Santa, “I have not only removed the curse, but from now you will have the power to change into the beast form and back, at will. Continue to use your powers in the service of God, protecting the way to his abode from evil souls, but do not harass the noble that fly past from hence forth.”

“As you command my Saint,” the King exclaimed, once again bowing his head.

“Now let me release your wife and daughters too,” exclaimed Santa.

“What do they mean to me now holy Saint,” however exclaimed the king, “They are evil incarnate. What good will they do for humanity, and why should I forgive them?”

“You should forgive them for forgiving starts a new life, while reliving keeps the war alive,” Santa replied, “Besides; your wife had no choice. She is a fairy who was cursed by an evil witch. And fairies are your daughters too. Let me set them free, like I’ve set you.” And out came four beautiful fairies with magic wands and wings, the prettiest of them all, their mother.

“Hey holy man, how shall we ever repay you for your kindness,” asked the fairy mother with humility.

“Simple; keep doing your job of keeping the way safe for the noble souls,” exclaimed Santa.

All five of them bowed to Santa and flew away, while Santa’s reindeers galloped away towards the Pearly gates.

On the ninetieth day they arrived at the pearly gates, still ten days away from the god’s abode.

“Hey holy Santa, what brings you here?” asked the gatekeeper as he recognized the revered man.

“I need to see god,” replied Santa.

“Yes of course, please carry on,” exclaimed the gatekeeper as he let Santa’s sleigh carry on.

Finally Santa arrived in God’s court.

“Santa, my beloved child, what brings you to your father?” exclaimed God as he opened his arms to embrace his child. But Santa fell on his feet.

“I am not worthy of this honour father, but I am honoured to know that you hold me in such high regards,” exclaimed Santa as he sobbed.

“You are my sweetest,” God exclaimed, “Tell me, what brings you here.”

“I need your permission, to take Jade’s father and Ginny’s mother back to them,” Santa replied, wiping his tears.

“But I never stop anyone,” God exclaimed, “They are all free to leave whenever they want to, and yet no one leaves.”

“But why?” asked a surprised Santa.

“I don’t know,” exclaimed God, “Why don’t you go and ask the two people you came here for, and let them tell you why they don’t go back.”

“But where will I find them?” asked Santa.

“Back where you came from,” God replied with a smile, “They are always there, with Ginny and Jade, all the time.”

A surprised Santa got back on his feet, “Then how come none of us sees them.”

“Because they don’t want anyone to,” God answered, “But this time, I’ll ask them to show themselves to you, to reply to your queries.”

And Santa bowed to the God, and flew back.

On the two hundred day of his journey, Santa was finally back on earth, and at the playground where Jade was playing. And there by the side of the tree he was, Jade’s father, watching his every move. Santa walked beside him, but he didn’t notice. He was lost in watching his son.

“If you love him so much, why don’t you return to him?” Santa asked him, breaking his trance.

“Why should I?” replied Jade’s father, “Now I am there with him all the time, watching him grow, make friends, play, study and grow big and strong. If I go back, I will not be able to be with him even a fraction of this time. I will have to go to work, travel everywhere, and miss all his games, never pick him up from school, or sit by him. Life takes me away from him. But now I am here with him all the time. Why should I miss this beautiful chance of being with him all the time?”

“But what about him?” asked Santa.

“I know it is hard on him,” nodded Jade’s father in agreement, “But then it also makes him a stronger person. Knowing that I am not there makes him take care of himself. He is learning how to stand up for his friends, and how to make good friends. With me around, he will remain weak; something I don’t want to happen.”

And Santa finally realized why Jade’s father didn’t want to go back. He also knew what Ginny’s mother would say, but still went to Ginny’s piano lesson, to catch up with her mother.

“Isn’t she an angel sitting over there?” exclaimed Ginny’s mother to Santa, “Now imagine me at home, preparing dinner for the family; I will miss all this fun. And of course not to mention, with me around I will definitely be her best friend, and then she will never learn how to make good friends with other girls. Every time she wins a competition, I am there to watch her, but she thinks no one is there who feels proud of her. It makes her dissatisfied with her current success, and makes her yearn for bigger glory in search of satisfaction. She is growing up to be a champion. Why would I want to ruin that?”

And Santa wiped away his tears as he left the mother with her daughter. His heart was heavy, but he was satisfied. He now had a gift each to give to Jade and Ginny the upcoming Christmas; a personal letter from Jade’s father and Ginny’s mother.


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