Diaries Magazine


Posted on the 03 January 2022 by C. Suresh

 A Humor Tale, this time

When Ritesh jumped to grab his check in flight, and went flying up to the ceiling instead, it was good fortune that it happened in the air-conditioned room of a hotel. There was no fan to crash into when he gave his inadvertent imitation of a bird. Good fortune for the fan that is, as later events proved.

Ritesh had certainly had no thoughts of defying gravity. He did hail from the capital of India where, to most, any given hour is wasted if they have not defied some law or the other. So defying the law of gravitation should have been all in a day’s work for him. Ritesh, though, was unused, as yet, to breaking even man-made laws and had certainly never set his sights as high as to defy the laws of physics. And, yet, here he was opening his account grandly by defying the law of gravity.

Stunned by what had happened, not least because he had banged his head on the ceiling in the course of his aerial maneuvers, Ritesh sat down to think. As usual, confronted by the seemingly impossible, the first solution was ‘It is a dream.’

Pinching himself proved that, if it was a dream, it was a damn painful one.Ritesh tentatively tried to fly again…and flew. Braking himself by banging his head on the ceiling proved as painful a process as the previous time.

Was he…could he…really be a super-hero? He had always assumed that those blokes went through walls and smashed up buildings with not even a coating of plaster marring their costumes. The headache he was developing did not gel with that image. But then, which heroic image - in the movies especially - was not a product of literal and metaphorical photo-shopping?

Feeling his head gingerly, he could see no signs of bleeding or contusions. So, maybe…

By the time he returned to Delhi, he had already found that he could outrun a car, even without the benefit of a traffic jam; could really smash through a wall, even if he needed cold compresses all night after that; and could toss around weights like he was the android version of one of those Transformer machines.

It must have been the thought that he was in Mumbai, where ‘Do you know who I am?’ does not have the same visceral impact that it does in Delhi, which made him choose deserted roads and parking lots for his experiments.

There was one question that needed sorting first. Who were his real parents?

* * *

“Where is the space-craft that brought me to Earth?”

Ritesh would have been the first to admit that this was probably not the best way to have broached the topic with his parents and he deserved everything he got after that.

“So you are no longer the fairy prince left here in exchange for our real son?” said his dad.

“THAT was when he was six. The last one was that he was an amnesiac God.”

“Ten years back was it not? I had thought that he had resigned himself to being the scion of this ordinary Kukrety family and now this…”

“You have to grant it to him. Whatever his grades show, he has learned something from school and college. Now his theories are more scientific.”

“I suppose it is a saving grace that he does not think that we abducted him and deprived him of his exalted heritage.”

“Thank God for small mercies.”

As it usually happens, the only people who were enjoying this Pat and Mike show were Pat and Mike…err…his mom and dad. Ritesh was fuming but anger had not made him lose what passed for his mind, yet. After all, he had not ALWAYS had these particular superpowers and, thus, had had time and the necessity to develop a bit of thinking ability.

It would have been too easy to demonstrate his powers but…It is only in the movies that parents would leave their children free to go around saving the world. In the more mundane here and now, though…

“Ritesh! Shift that bed over to the other room, beta! The living room looks better that way. You can move it back at night. It will be no problem for you to do it every day.”

“Ritesh! Get the vegetables, beta! With your X-Ray vision, you can pick the best ones, without worms or rot.”

“Ritesh! Use your infrared vision to cook this gravy. That way we will never need to buy extra cylinders at full price.”

“THAT’s a neat idea! Ritesh beta, can you heat up the water for the bath after this? Saves electricity.”

“Think beta! You MUST have some powers to cool the house. Find out before summer. These A/Cs just gobble up power.”

“Ritesh! I am late for office. Can you just fly me to office?”

“Drop me also, beta! Err…not literally, of course.”

Ritesh shuddered. No way was he letting them know about his powers. Unless he wanted to become a sort of combination mobile heating device, magic broomstick, vegetable picker and general handyman. AND if the matter leaked to more of his family and friends…

But…he had not tested his vision. Did he have that X-ray vision? Could he focus a heat ray? After all, it looked like there really had been no space-craft, so how could he assume he had all the powers that the superhero of the movies did? Even assuming that the movies had got it right.

When he tried his X-ray vision on the streets, he was a shade disappointed. Or, maybe there was really no need for the disappointment. Considering the people who were around, the bones probably looked a lot better than what he would have seen if X-ray vision had worked as he thought it would.

The heat ray experiment taught him another lesson. It might have been better, after all, to not look at your new Samsung smartphone when you tried it…and found out that it worked.

With the advent of all these powers, Ritesh was conscious that he did not possess the right costume. He had thought that these superheroes also got their costumes along with their superpowers but, apparently, that was not the way it worked…not for him, at least. It seemed silly to have to deal with tailors for this purpose but it was necessary. A man is only as good as his dress, after all, and THAT applied to superheroes as much as men, if not more so.

Having placed the order and getting the assurance that he would get it tomorrow (“Fancy dress competition, required urgently”), he was feeling so full with his own news that he thought he would burst.

Oh! To have all these powers and not be able to share with anyone…

There was always Simran.

* * *

There is something about this strange emotion called love which drastically interferes with the workings of what people call intelligence. It is almost as if they are mutually exclusive. If the former enters the door, the latter jumps out of the window.

Which is what accounts for the fact that Ritesh decided to confide in his girlfriend Simran about this sudden transformation in him. One can only wonder about the power of love, considering that no qualms crossed his mind about being forced on jaunts to Switzerland overnight or even being held to impossibly high standards in the matter of noticing nanometric changes in attire or make-up.

The quality of trust can be strained too far, though. So, it was no surprise that Simran showed no inclination to swoon in his arms, screaming, “My Hero!” and, instead, started sniffing suspiciously.

“No! I am not drunk.”

“Dry day in Delhi?”

“Let us not get into that, Simran! I really HAVE those powers.”

“Are you well?”

“If being able to fly, lifting ten tonne trucks and boring holes through mobiles by looking at them counts as being well, I am.”

Snorting can be very expressive, as Ritesh found out. Especially from women, who seemed to have taken special training courses in the art of the snort.

“You do not believe me? Let me show you”, said Ritesh, after cautiously assessing that there was no-one else to watch him at it.

Up he flew to the top of the nearest tree. Standing poised on a branch he waved at Simran, looking at him incredulously, and flew back to her side.

“Now do you believe me?” he asked, triumphantly.

Simran blinked twice and peered at the tree.

“Where are the ropes and all?”

Ritesh was infuriated.

“Pick your own spot. I will show you there.”

Simran looked at him uncertainly. Then there was a seeming glimmer of comprehension.

“You are hypnotising me, are you not?”

Ritesh goggled at her. He could not help it, though he knew it would make him look like the village idiot trying to understand the theory of relativity.

“NOW I understand”, Simran said and a chill shiver went down Ritesh’s spine. THAT was the tone of voice which said that the corpses of past misdemeanours were about to be dug out and hung up on display in all their gory splendour.

“I used to wonder…every time I went back home and looked at your pic on my mobile, I could hardly believe myself. That of all the boys in my life, THIS was my choice of boyfriend! Yet, when I am with you, I never have doubts. You were always hypnotising me…”

Ritesh was aghast. He had been bracing himself to apologize for all the wrongs of the past; take responsibility for everything ranging from the traffic situation in Delhi to the ISIS massacres but this…this…words failed him.

“See you, Ritesh! Or, rather, goodbye and good riddance.”

* * *

The next day dawned no better. He woke up to the sound of his mom saying, “Rise and Shine, O Prince of the fairies! Or is it the Emperor of an Alien Civilization, this morning?”

As usual, his first act of the morning was his phone, where he discovered that Simran had vanished like the dew in the morning from every place on Social media, as far as he was concerned.

To have to travel to NOIDA to meet someone and chase that up with a visit to Mayur Vihar was not exactly his idea of the proper way to mourn his losses. It had to be done, though and, as he morosely drove his car, he was so full of self-pity that it sloshed whenever he hit a bump on the road. The sight of the package on the back-seat - his new costume - only caused the self-pity to leak through his eyes.

If anyone had asked Ritesh, as he was driving back in the evening, about what had happened during the day, all he would have received was a blank stare and, perhaps, some indeterminate noises that would resemble gargling rather than conversation. The sound of a crash roused him from his dazed state. He found himself on the Nizamuddin bridge and saw that a bus had crashed through the side supports and was contemplating a swan dive into the Yamuna. The busload of passengers were screaming, no doubt apprehensive about getting a totally unnecessary bath in the depths of winter.

The supine superhero in Ritesh woke up. Maybe it was the destiny of heroes to do their miracles and receive the praise only in their alter egos, while their day selves vanished into the anonymous masses. THAT, probably, was why the fates had destined him to be disbelieved.

Even as he was hastily changing into his costume, he could hear a chopper heading towards the bridge. For one moment, the usual urban attitude asserted itself in him – someone else would do something about it, so why bother. Ruthlessly crushing this unworthy thought, Ritesh flew below the bridge and under the bus. Passengers were screaming wildly at him, no doubt exhorting him to save them. He pushed the bus up. THAT was easy but he had some trouble finding the exact manner in which he had to exert his strength to push it sideways and back onto the undamaged portion of the road. Apparently, this superhero thing did not automatically grant dexterity in addition to strength – one of those things the movies seemed to gloss over. He somehow managed to push the bus back to safety, with the passengers providing the background music which is so necessary to make any scene tense.

Sneaking back to his car and changing back to his regular dress proved way more difficult. He managed the feat, when all the attention was focussed on the army chopper which hovered for a bit and, after finding the bus safely back on the road, flew away.

Ritesh drove back home with a much warmer feeling in his heart. Nobody may believe in his powers; his parents may think of him as an intellectually challenged kid of ten; his girlfriend may even now be cuddling her new boyfriend but, today, he had saved a lot of lives and those people must be remembering him in their prayers.

As he parked the car, and was about to enter the house, the words from the news bulletin floated out.

“In a daring rescue, the Army saved the lives of a busload of passengers. An experimental magnetic device was put to use to haul the bus back to safety…”


“While the lives of many hung in the balance, an attention-seeker clad in a strange costume was seen doing acrobatics under the endangered bus. This is what Dhivya, whose life this man put in danger with his stupidity, has to say…

‘The bus was hanging…and this man was doing acrobatics. His weight could have pulled the bus down, you know…we screamed at him to go away…he waved like a crazy man…someone said he could be a superhero trying to save us. He wasn’t. He was just a nutcase.’

‘Why do you think so?’

‘I have seen superheroes. His costume told me he was a nut…’

‘What in the costume proved it?’

Ritesh was flummoxed when he heard the answer. Instead of being a hero to them, he had only become a clown or a nut. He entered his house morosely and started walking up to the terrace, which is where he allowed his self-pity to water the plants, generally.

“Looks like someone has taken your favorite superhero”, said his dad.

He grunted and walked up the steps.

“If you are looking for Batmobile, should you not go to the basement?”

It was too much. Ritesh rushed up the stairs.

He looked up at the cold stars and bellowed, “Is it fair?” He had become a clown instead of Superman all because of one small change in the costume. He just could not bear to wear his briefs over his leggings.

So be it. He would make a small change to the best known superhero’s name and make it his own.

He screamed to the uncaring universe,


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