Joker is No Joke!

When I entered the theatre, I heard many people speak about how Joaquin won’t ever compare to Heath’s joker.

Man, were they right!

Joaquin’s Joker will NEVER compare to Heath’s because they can’t’ be compared at all. All these people went quiet five minutes into the movie. All I could hear in the first half was ‘OMG’, ‘That’s creepy!’ from these ‘good little boys (and girls). In the second half, people said ‘fuck!’ more times than they would in their beds. Some couples understood they cannot cuckoo-doodle while the Joker was playing. Wrong movie for a date!

The affect the movie had on every one was surprisingly chilling. The last time I remember people in theatres this affected by a movie was for Interstellar. No, not even Star Wars, John Wick, marvel and DC, etc movies had this affect. Offcourse, Interstellar left a dazzling, almost psychedelic emotion.

Joker, on the other hand, left a dark and scary one.

I watched Joker twice myself before I sat to break down why this movie will go down in history. Spoilers ahead!

Pro-tip: Please watch Joker in IMAX!

Joaquin Phoenix

It goes without saying that he is a man full of acting talent. In Joker, he has surpassed any limit you could imagine. He played perfectly in every scene to the tune of the music. The dance after the subway killing was most easily one of the best scenes in the history of cinema! The Joker is born in that dingy bathroom. Arthur slips deeper into his newly discovered self. It is as if Phoenix is literally making Joker come out of Arthur’s ashes in a spooky dance ritual!

The historic scene from the dance in the bathroom after the subway murder.

From scene one to the last, you will notice the micro-expressions on Joaquin’s face sound louder than his symbolic Joker’s laugh. His laugh… it gives you chills! It is sad, hollow, sarcastic and painful all in one – except for in Murray Franklin Show! I thinks that is where he truly laughs, after realising who he really is and breaking free of the binds.

Those eyes, that framing, this scene…. Joker is ready to kill!

I could go scene by scene and describe the beauty that this man has created in every one of them, but let’s just talk about the last scene for now; the very last scene where he’s talking to a psychiatrist in Arkham. The scene starts with his laugh in a real tight close up. If you were in an IMAX, you would see every line of his face deliver a dialogue. His eyes show you the dark, horrible place he lives in! The black, burnt cigarette on his finger, the way he starts singing to the tune and coming out of the room leaving footprints of blood behind… it was unexpected and freaked people out! How did he kill her? Why did he kill her? Was he telling the doctor his story and flashback? Was he captured after the rally and telling her the story? Was it all imagined and reality was something else? People are unsettled!

The scene from Murray Franklin show… gives you the goosebumps! Look at that face!

Here’s my take: It all happened as we saw in the movie and he’s now imprisoned in Gotham Asylum, waiting for Batman to appear and in the meanwhile having fun screwing with mad-heads and Dr. Harley. What say?

The Music

A sad violin and cello at the start, and trumpets and louder drum beats (not sure about the exact instruments) when the Arthur gets his mojo on and begins to turn into Joker. Hildur Guðnadóttir (yes, it’s a SHE) has done a brilliant job! At first, I thought if Hans has come back for composing, but lo and behold! It’s this beauty who has made music so intense and resounding that it fits the Joker and his complex being!

For the scenes depicting Arthur’s pain, the music made you feel his emotions.

After the subway shooting, the scene with the dance was not actually a part of the script. It was after Todd and Joaquin heard an extra music piece from Hildur that Joaquin thought of this dance! It expresses Joker from the roots; a person who just wanted a family, love and his dream of being praised for his art but instead became trash like in the alleys of Gotham. He was mistreated, beaten, shouted at and now, in this scene, he embraces himself and his darkness. Without her music and the awesome choice of songs, people wouldn’t have felt their skins crawl. For me, it was such an art I had goosebumps both times I watched the movie.

The music announces Joker’s entrance in this scene. Notice the red eyes? It was a great effect to add to Joaquin’s look!

Direction, Cinematography, Effects

Ok, so each one of these pieces are great support in making Joker the movie it is. Todd has gone above and beyond to make it artful! Several things that brought magic to the screen was:

Framing: The golden composition, framing Arthur in the centre of curtains amidst the lights, showing his face in the mirrors, all the angle low and high changing with his condition! Once noticeable angle for me was when Arthur runs down the stairs with his mother’s file and the scene goes out with a top angle, diagonal if I may say, but keeping Arthur in the composition and framing him with the silhouette of the stairs. It made me feel how unhinged, shaky, helpless he was! The area lit in the scene was just the spot where Arthur stood and the rest was framed beautifully with the stairs. There are many scenes in Joker like this, using black, blurs and silouettes while framing arthur in the position with lights. Which gets me to the next part.

How framing can create amazing scenes!

Lighting: There are three types of lights I noticed. The first one is greenish, dark and unsettling, showing the world where Arthur lives in. Another light that sets a grand mood is bright, yellow and around the rich folks (like in Murray’s studio and The theatre Thomas Wayne attends). This difference sets their WOLRDS apart! The third light is what I call the stark truth. The white light setting of the Gotham Asylum where we see Penny Fleck in her younger years and Arthur in the last scene. Surely, the movie has natural light settings. But notice the shadowy spot Arthur is in.

The greenish tint and the dark setting of Arthur’s world.
The bright studio lights Arthur faces away from in Murray Franklin’s Studio.
Thomas Wayne’s bright world.
The shadowy spot Arthur lives in.

Todd has taken every shot with care. He has utilised Joaquin’s extraordinary expressions and conveyed the story. In the beginning, we see Arthur put on his makeup looking dissatisfied and unhappy. He pushes a smile across his face, or rather a grin. He just wants to be happy. Arthur does that to Bruce too in the short visit to Wayne manor. He just wants to make him smile! The delicate feeling of a complex character comes out, but hold on! It’s creepier than you think. The overt smile he gives himself, pushing his cheeks up takes creepy to Joker level!

Arthur is impoverished, ridiculed and unhappy. See that makeup roll down like a tear?
He puts a ‘happy face on’ cutting through the tear-like drop of makeup. Equivalent to hiding his emotions and trying to fit in?
Arthur’s had a bad day. The look on his face, the two light effects, the wet hair and clothes convey the feelings of a man in need for someone to hold onto. The angle Todd has taken here at eye-level shows him as normal man with feelings.

Last but not the least, the story and the screenplay

A story writer is the base of a movie. Screenplay is the cemented ground ready to have a skyscraper built on it. The job was done without a gap! There are no loose ends, no waste word or dialogue. There is no scene that doesn’t connect. One by one, the scenes fit like a puzzle and give you a picture! In the two times I watched the movie, I wasn’t bored at a single scene nor did I feel like forwarding the movie. It is that compact and structured! Take a bow to Todd and Scott!

The more I describe, the less I feel I can convey my feelings for this movie. All I can say is I’m going to make generations after me watch this! Joker is absolutely riveting, chilling and one of the kind that makes you think about it forever. Have a look at the scenes below.

How did you perceive Joker? Let me know in comments!

One of the most powerful scenes where he is himself and happy about it.
Bringing chaos into work…
Insulted, made a joke of on TV… not funny!
The glory amidst the chaos; people notice him! They appreciate him, and that’s his high in the last part.

Happy Friendship Day!

‘I am glad you are with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam’ – Frodo

It is that day of the year again when we wish each other, now more on social media than face to face! Friendship bands, greeting cards, promises and social posts… we celebrate this day in anyway we can! 

Does it make you reflect on your life? What do you think about friendship, going back into your school days and till today? I can bet there must be a plethora of stories, experiences, hugs, laughter and tears… no, I’m not going to harp on about feelings and past.

I want to share with yousome examples of friendship I find so endearing that I wish to experience it. Yes, there are so many different ways we can be friends with others, so many different kinds of people we can be friends with! I will share some examples you might want to replicate in your life.

  1. The Kid and Charlie Chaplin

The Kid is one of the most famous movies Charlie has ever made. Though the relationship between the kid and Charlie is more of an adopted son and his father, I see a beautiful connection called FRIENDSHIP here. 

Image: Wikipedia

There is more than a relationship between these two tramps; there is an element of humanity. There is mutual love & support in times of need and a commitment to one another. 

Charlie takes care of the abandoned infant and in return, once the newborn becomes a boy, he never leaves Charlie’s side. 

It is the direst of times you can find the dearest of friends! Isn’t that what friendship is all about? About having one’s back through good times and bad?

2. Harry and Dumbledore

Then there are some bonds that transcend others; of a student and a teacher, a mentor and the mentored, of Harry and Dumbledore! What J.K. Rowling gave us through her famous series is so beautiful when you feel the relations portrayed between the characters.

Whether it is the bond between Harry, Ron & Hermione or between Snape and Lily, we see the power of love in her stories. For that matter, in Cuckoo’s Calling, the relationship between Detective Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin Ellacot showcases this intricate relation so gracefully!

Coming back to Harry & his headmaster, it is a rare bond. Dumbledore was a mentor, a parent and a savior for Harry, who carried out Albus’s purpose along with his own (you really need to read this series if you haven’t already!).

3. Sakura and Tomoyo

Ahh… this brings back memories!! Cardcaptor Sakura is one of my favourite anime till date, and I won’t exaggerate if I say I wanted to be Sakura so that I can have a friend like Tomoyo!


They cooked together, ate together, went to the same class, went to shopping in cute dresses together, and knew each other so well… then they supported each other in the times of need. Tomoyo kept Sakura’s secret, and Sakura protected Tomoyo. Friends like that are hard to find!

You will find more examples in this series!

4. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet

Friendship exists not only between different kinds of people, but also between people who are different! Now, who can be more different between a hi-tech billionaire and a billionaire investor who doesn’t use a computer?

buffett gates buds

No, it is not just the billionaire tag, it is more than that between these two. What I appreciate is that these are two men on the epitome of success, fundamentally different from one another, and still share a bond! It is a famous story that when Warren Buffet was going to meet Bill Gates, he thought it would be a boring exercise, but this one meeting gave him a BFF! Though Buffet may never invest in hi-tech business, the duo hangs out together and do what they can as geniuses do. You can be completely different from the other person and still be great friends if the intellectual frequency matches!

5. The Famous Five

What wouldn’t I give to have a childhood like these five literary kids! Enid Blyton has given us a world most of us could only wish for; the one filled with adventures and bonds for life!



The friendship Julian, Anne, Dick, Georgina and Timmy (their pet) share is an ideal one. They go through thick and thin, solving mystery after mystery, as they accept each other as individuals.

The best part about this series is how they meet over holidays and find adventures! Now, who wouldn’t want to quech their curiosities about smugglers and criminals on islands, farms and old houses?!

The twenty-one books in the series are not bestsellers for nothing; they showcase human bonds like no other. These stories show how friends encourage you, how they protect you, and how they bring meaning in life! And hey, holidays are pure boring without them.

6. Jon Snow and Sam Tarly

I cannot resist adding this Game of Thrones example. Jon and Sam! They started off from the lowest ranks in the Watch. Sam fought for Jon and Jon fought for Sam. Now, they are reaching the top.

Related image


The biggest reason why their bromance is special is because they recognize each other’s specialties. Sam knows that Jon is an ideal commander and Jon knows that Sam has the intellect to change the world! He sends Sam off to do what he can best do; find a way to end their common enemy! Miles apart, they are still supporting each other and their mutual trust is commendable.

Thank you, George R.R Martin!

This picture draws another parallel and I highly agree with. 

These are my six picks of this year. There are hundreds of example in real, reel and literary world for friendship, and I have chosen the ones I feel are different than others.

Did you see my Friendship Day post from before? Read it here for an extra dose of happiness! 

Also, check out the following links for more articles on friends:

Famous Literary Friendships

Lesser Known Historical Friendships

How was your Friendship Day? What do you think about my picks? Do let me know in the comments! 


Eating Out Alone? You are not Alone!

Don’t you feel sad for someone who’s eating all alone in a canteen or a restaurant?  It’s so boring to eat all alone. I used to feel the same for people sitting alone in school and ccollege during lunch. But after  I started working, even I had to come across times when I have to sit alone in McDonald’s and chew on a burger in a corner. 

That’s when I realised- it’s not that bad! 

There are so many reasons why people have to eat out alone. They may be artists who want peace in a cafe, or a person tired of the days work wanting  to relax. Maybe, someone just wants to sit alone with their own thoughts for a while (or a sales executive who is damned to travel all day😅).  People are away from their families and friends now a days and in large numbers. They are working hard to suceed in life! I think it should be a sign of strength that someone is able enjoy his or her own company. 

I don’t feel sad anymore for these people. Why not think positively and pass them a smile? 

Having coffee alone is always relaxing! And I have made some good friends with total strangers at McDonald’s !

Pizza all alone, all for me! It has its own golden feeling to it.

Tea, while enroute Bhopal via bus. I was with a total stranger,  who turned out tto be my grad college senior ! 

Sometimes, you gotta. ..

When it is tea time,  you are not on a sales call (wow!),  and no one’s there in office… just  enjoy the view!

Last but  not the least, I have discovered the best places while eating out alone. For example,  Jamie’s Pizzeria in Palladium Mall, Mumbai. I LOVE it! the coffee was exquisite too!

How often have you eaten alone? I hope you enjoy your self-time, everytime!

Transforming Rust

Andheri local station, like most others, has walls, pillars and bridges looking like the governmental Infrastructure it is. DULL! Full of patches and peels given to it by the weather. Yesterday offered me a new vision, though. I saw these students from Rajhans School painting on a peeling wall with rusted metal corners. What a spectacle our daily travel can be if we could infuse more art around us!

Just Google ‘wall paintings of Bhopal’. You will see how art transforms the scenery. I will do an article on it the next time I’m in my home town.

Keep the artist in you energised!

Daddy’s Little Phoenix

She had waited and waited, watching the sun go in circles around the earth. It was an accident. A truck had crashed into his car because the truck-driver was speeding. The next day a slurry of relatives had poured in, showing sympathy and sadness. They put a garland on her father’s framed photographed in the hall and an incense stick in front of it. What went on for the next fifteen days was a blur. All she could see was her father’s slim figure, pushing his specs back on his nose as he carried a book everywhere. All she could hear was his singing voice with which he taught at St. Mary’s High School. All she could feel was the stagnant time. Nothing was moving forward. It was only when a certain person from a bank showed up that she broke out of her trance…

Read the full story on Wattpad HERE! I would appreciate your effort!  🙂

Bollywood Booming!

Do read my article ‘Bollywood Booming‘ on ! Here!

“The past one year has seen a big leap in both technical and artistic qualities in the Bollywood movies. And I’m excited!” 


Why I love Raj Kapoor’s movies

I keep on changing TV channels to catch one movie that I can watch. Usually, there’s NOTHING I can watch! There are not many movies today one can enjoy if they watch it a second time. That’s why I love Raj Kapoor movies. Though there were and are many other great directors whose movies I simply love watching again and again, RK’s movies leave more of an impact. Everytime I watch them, I discover a new side to his perspective, or discover what I couldn’t before! I feel ‘cinema’ oozing out of every second of his films. Each time, his movies seem fresh out of the factory, even his black and white movies!

Raj Kapoor was a fascinating man. He converted the simple things of life into things of beauty. Even today, when I see his movies, I can’t change the channel. And this is the 21st century! Maybe, it is because this is the 21st century that I can’t. My heart that craves for some substance and art in movies finds more satisfaction in the ones from gone eras!  RK’s movies have substance, art, and meaning in each shot and line. If you have seen his movies, you will understand!

Prem Rog

This article comes while I watch Prem Rog with my mom, for the nth time! RK’s love for cinema and his inclination to deliver social messages is clear in this classic. When other contemporaries where releasing movies with action and glamour, he made a movie on widow remarriage. And beautifully did he make it! The script of this movie is something today’s scriptwriters and directors must learn from (I think they already do, though). Watching this movie brings all kinds of emotions related to life, love, tragedy, friendship, family, society and religion. Cosmopolitan listed Prem Rog in the top ten ‘Most Romantic Films Ever’ .Given the prominence of his name throughout India (as well as out of India) this movie did give the message that widow remarriage is not  crime, but the way  widows are treated in many parts of India is.

My favourite point about this movie: ‘Bhawre ne khilaya phool’ song was shot in a beautiful tulip fields in Amsterdam! How I wish to visit that field in my lifetime…


I can’t imagine that among people aged 20 and beyond in India have not seen this teen romance (I really feel sorry for younger people who can’t get out of their smart-phones and gadgets, including my own brother, who haven’t). Bobby set a new era in Bollywood when Dimple strutted in bikini (it was 1973). And boy did she rock! I really miss the innocent love that The Showman of India introduced in his movies, especially in Bobby. Everything from the ideation to execution was perfect. Trust me, I can’t lie in this matter because jhoot bole kaua kate! The music is in sync. the dialogues and the direction… perfect, perfect, perfect! Why should you see this movie if you haven’t? To see romance from the perspective of RK! It will take you to a different world!

The blockbuster was the top grossing film of ’73. It won many nominations and awards in Filmfare. Indiatimes names it as the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.

My favourite point: Rishi Kapoor’s performance and the MUSIC! I still catch my dad singing ‘Mein shayar toh nahi ‘ for my mom, hehe!


In this movie, Raj Kapoor goes on to show that a child is influenced by his surroundings. A judge’s son won’t necessarily become a judge. Also, this movie shows what a stunning couple RK and Nargis were on screen! RK shows his super skills both as an actor and director in this movie revolving around his character as a ‘tramp’ (Influenced but Charlie Chaplin in ‘The Tramp’) and a childhood sweetheart. RK’s real dad was also his reel dad in the movie, and that is a great factor. Prithiviraj Kapoor was an actor in a whole different league! Role of a proud judge suited him as much as being Akbar in Mughal-e-azam did. The movie also portrayed some real life problems and carried a message, like all his movies do. Watch and discover what it was!

Awara is listed in the All Time 100 Greatest Movies by TIME Magazine and entered Cannes Festival. The movie got many more titles and a remake in Turkey called ‘Avare’.

My favourite point: The chemistry between Nargis and Raj!

Teesri Kasam

Ah! The pangs of love! More so, if it remains unrequitted. The third resolution that the rustic villager played by RK takes is to never give lift to a dance performer in his bullock cart ever again! Watch the movie for ‘why’! The movie shows how naive villagers can be, and how simple their lives are. Watching this lifestyle is like watching a whole different world. In a very beautiful way and natural setting, RK smoothly blends story with music and a message; the message of how woman working as performers in ‘nautanki’ are exploited. I think he wanted to show a much larger picture of performing arts industry and the society as whole.

Today, we talk about women empowerment, equality and gender bias. Raj Kapoor talked about it decades ago through his movies. He was not only an artist, but also a philosopher. In an era where male dominance was at its peak in India, he talked about the opposite gender’s issues!

Teesri kasam won the 14th National Film Award.

My favourite point: The natural acting of the cast and the music!

Mera Naam Joker

At last! My favourite RK movie. I know, I hate sad endings. I hate unrequited love type endings. I hate tragedies. I hate good men not getting the happiness they deserve. All the things I hate are there in Mera Naam Joker. Still, I LOVE this movie! The tragic life of Raju is so beautifully presented, that I can watch it through my tears as many times as I watch it. The fact that he still smiles in the end breaks my heart, but i still watch the movie. It is Indian cinema at its best! It truly is a masterpiece, though a sad one, and tells so much about Raj Kapoor. His love for cinema was unconditional! Mera Naam Joker has all the phases of one’s life. Right from chilhood and first love to the nearing end of life, Raju faces it all in this movie.

Mera naam joker was not accepted by the audience immediately. It was commercially unsucessful, but because it was beyond a normal understanding level. It did however win many awards, including the Filmfare Award for the Best Director. RK put six years into the making of this epic.

My favourite point: The story, direction, acting, music, dialogues… EVERYTHING! My favourite song is ‘Ae bhai, zara dekh ke chalo’. That song is applicable to us too, and to every generation that will come!

Though I love many more movies from RK, these are my absolute favourite. Check Shree 420, Barsat, Boot Polish and many other movies from The Showman of India!

Have you seen a Raj Kapoor movie? What did you like about it? I would love to know in the comments! Thanks for visiting us!





   A siren screamed loudly across Block Number 7. It meant that the sun had set. People across the block rushed to close the little shops they worked in, ready to run back home. The streets were soon deserted. Neon boards outside the small shops, in buildings as high as  fifty floors, threw a diffused light around them. Still, the streets below were dark as coal. The sky glowed slightly in matte red, as it did all day and night. Even the street lights died an inch beyond the road. Red, dusty atmosphere left only a slight glimmer in a desolate sky.

Taiyo, a young boy of sixteen, held the walls for support as he walked on the empty streets. He was heaving, craving for a lungful of oxygen. His body was covered in red dust; his denim jacket and jeans, his hair, every part of his skin…. All was layered in red dust. Taiyo stopped for a moment, taking a long breath, and began to walk again. He had to reach somewhere, before he died of the poisonous air he was breathing heavily in.

A big car racing  came out of nowhere on the road and screeched to a stop five meters from  . He turned to look right. The road was hardly visible with all the dust and so little light, but he managed to figure out what was going on. Four men came out with a woman in their grasp. The woman was struggling to escape. She tried to shake herself away and run, but the men had clasped her mouth and arms. For a second, Taiyo decided to continue his journey and not care about anything else. The dust was overwhelmingly heavy and dry. But his feet couldn’t let him step forward. There was someone who needed his help! He had to pull away from the support of his wall and gather his remaining strength. So, Taiyo plunged into the glowing atmosphere of the road and jumped on one of the guys with all the force he could manage to put. One of them fell head first on the road.

‘Hey!!’ a large man with a mask on his face shouted at the boy and swung his heavy arm at him. Taiyo dodged and went straight for the mask. It flew off his face. the large man panicked and began to run away into the car. Two other men pulled out some kind of electric rods. Roaring in their masks they went straight for the boy. Even in his weak and almost blind state, Taiyo managed to dodge them.

‘Get the boy you fat asses!’ the fourth man shouted. The woman in her grasp took the moment of distraction in her favour, and threw the man on the floor with one tricky stunt. The other two men, hearing the groan of their companion, got more aggressive and struck Taiyo with their weapon. Taiyo had no air in his lungs to scream, so he fell speechlessly on the dirty road, gasping harder for breath and losing consciousness. He could barely see how the woman took the men one by one, how a nerdy guy came to her with extra masks, or how they hauled him into a vehicle. Then he was in a comma. Everything was black and silent, as if he was in vacuum of a black hole…

Time had lapsed in the darkness. It was all black.

Something was cold and breathable in his nose. Taiyo could feel his lungs inflate as he inhaled- for the first time in his life!

Is this… air? Oxygen? Or am I dead?


A strange feeling of dizziness filled his brain, as if his gray matter had become thicker.

‘Boy… open your eyes if you are awake… have some water.’ A woman’s voice fell on his ears, firm but concerned. Taiyo blinked. What he saw next was shocking… there was white light everywhere. His eyes began to pain and water.

‘Oh! My bad… you are not used to all these lights, living in that dark street, right?’ The woman switched off a few lights and turned back to him, ‘better?’

‘Yes…’ yet again, Taiyo was surprised to hear his voice come out so clearly. There was no dust in his throat or nose. He did not sound husky! With his head spinning, he opened his eyes wider and sat up. Muscles in his stomach, where the man had poked him hard and electrocuted him, was tearing in pain. A stab might have been less painful, he thought.

‘What you did back there was brave… and stupid. I am a soldier and I was on a get-caught-to-catch-them mission there. Anyways I captured those Dumpers…’ the woman said as he handed him a glass of water. Taiyo stared into the glass. It was clear, pure water. No dust, no colour, and just transparent like it should be. He drank all of it in a go.

‘Thank you… for this. I was very thirsty.’ He said, looking around.

‘Its fine, boy, drink up! What is your name? You belong here?’

‘I’m Taiyo… I came from the Northern state. And you are?’

‘Call me Ivy… agent Ivy.  I am actually not permitted to share any info in my head.’ Ivy smiled. Her large brown eyes hid a thousand secrets. ‘So what brings you on empty streets without a mask, Taiyo? You are not allowed to leave your area after the siren rings.’

‘I have no area…’ he said and went quite, staring somewhere in the white sheet on him.

‘I see. . . You’re orphan too like the most of us… My parents died, working in the E-9 nuclear plant. the radioactive dust got them. . . that was twenty years ago …’

‘Thats… I’m sorry…’

‘me too… What happened to yours…? Taiyo…?’

‘Well, my mom and little sister were killed when our area was destroyed for a power unit. Dad went to fight a case against those people in the capital city, but never returned… it’s been four years.’ He went silent, clutching the sheets tightly.

Agent ivy stared at him; there was awe in her eyes and sadness too.

‘The world is going crazy… all that nuclear and nanotech units… but Taiyo, you came so far into the Eastern state here. Where do you plan to go? I mean… you can’t be searching for your dad now?’

‘Nope… I have no reason to believe he is alive. I’ve heard how Dumpers kill any rebels. So I am fulfilling his last wish.’ He looked up at Agent Ivy with a slight smile, ‘He wanted me to see the Sun as it really looks in the morning. He wanted me to know if it really is like the Bloodstone or not, and he wanted me to live a good life in the place where there is no poison. My father wished fo me to live long.’

‘Oh… and so he named you Taiyo. That means sun! But, sweetie,’ Agent Ivy smirked, ‘Do you even know where that poison-free area is? Very few people have seen it…’

‘My grandfather did. He told my father its up somewhere in the Himalayas. I will search the whole mountain range if I have to!’ his eyes sparked.

‘Ooh the spirit you have! I swear if you were my age, I would date you…’ Agent Ivy sparked a wide smile, making him blush a little, ‘Anyway you look real handsome with all that dirt gone…’

Taiyo touched his face. There was no dirt on him. His hair felt clean and soft!

‘Who treated me? I’m sure I was dying of poisoning…’

‘My partner-

‘Ivy! There’s a small fighter plane on our chase!’ A tall, lean man came rushing into the small room, ‘I put the RV on autopilot but… oh! The boy is finally awake!’

‘Here’s Agent Matrix… interesting name right? He  cleaned your lungs, stomach, face, hair, pretty much all of you; I guess your hands and clothes too. Queer…’

‘Oh…’ Taiyo noticed that his clothes were clean and neat, ‘Thanks matrix! I owe you a ton…’

‘No problem pal, and I’m not queer, Ivy.’ he raised a bro,’ Now, we’ve got a jet on our head!’

The vehicle vibrated as a missile from the jet hit the road just beside it.

‘Matrix you drive! I will handle the guns.’ Agevy stood up. She pulled a mask hanging from the RV ceiling and put it on her face. Taiyo stood up too, ignoring his stomach wound, put on a mask and followed her.

‘You stay down, this is not your type of work.’ She said, pulled out a staircase from the roof, and climbed up. There was a heavy machine gun with long magazines of bullets on the top. Ivy put a shield up in front of her, and her killing machine was ready to fire. The jet was wriggling behind her and firing missiles, one by one. Ivy was having a hard time aiming at it. Matrix had to drive zigzag to avoid the shots. The jet flyer was a superb pilot; he avoided all of her shots. Then, after failing to shoot the missiles at them, the pilot switched to the gun too. Bullets rained on the shield protecting Ivy. She kept on firing.

‘Crap!’ Ivy got hit on her arm by a bullet. She fell back on the stairs.

‘Hey! You must get back down!’ Taiyo shouted from his mask.

‘He would kill us if I don’t get him! I can, I just need some time-

‘Get away!’ Taiyo pushed back her and got behind the shield.

‘Taiyo! You jerk!’ Ivy raged, half angry and half worried for the young boy, ‘I thought you wanted to live!!’

‘And I will!’ he shouted back at her, firmly.

In a few seconds, her frown and anger melted away. Taiyo wasn’t carelessly shooting at the jet and wasting bullets. He was aiming like a pro and firing at the right time.

Once I get to know his pattern of flying, I can aim! He took a deep, refreshing breath like never before, and held it as he aimed. The moment the jet and the gun’s point coincided, he fired. The jet fell into the valley beside the road they drove on.

‘Wow… would you like to join the team, Taiyo? We need shooters like you!’ Agent Ivy was staggered by his ability.

‘Not really… I have a mountain range to search…’ he held her good arm and slowly led her down. She now lay where Taiyo had been lying. Matrix put the RV on auto mode again and dressed her wound.

‘Good the bullet didn’t enter. It’s was radioactive. I have to remove some blood and some cells here-’

‘Just do it M, don’t speak…’ she scowled at him and grumbled. Taiyo had to muffle his laughter, watching Matrix’s sad puppy face.

‘Well, this calls for some good food!’ Ivy announced after sometime, and threw a sharp look at Matrix. He turned on his heels quietly and went to get dinner.

After five hours of more driving and talking, Matrix stopped the RV somewhere in a hilly place.

‘From here we have to turn south,’ said Matrix, ‘You have to travel northwards to reach Himalayas.’ He had a sad smile on him. Matrix had made a new friend after years!

‘Yeah… our ways part here. I really wish I could meet you guys again, but your identities, numbers, e-mails are all a secret! Seems I have no choice…’ he shook hands with Matrix and Ivy, and bid them goodbye. He jumped down the RV and began to walk.

‘Oh all right, wait Taiyo…’ Ivy said aloud and sighed, ‘I can’t let you go like this.’ She threw a small cell-phone like remote at him.

‘What’s this?’ he asked, ‘Looks like…what!!’

‘Yeah yeah… that’s my car remote… take it will you?’ she rolled her eyes, thinking why she was doing it, ‘I don’t use it much anyways…’

Surprised, Taiyo pressed a red key on the remote screen, and a car came out from the back of RV. It turned  and stopped right beside Taiyo. A small car, but it had enough space for him to spread the seat and sleep on.

‘I like shiny black cars…’ Taiyo nodded appreciating the beautiful design of it.

‘It’s a one day drive to North-east from here… the poison free zone…’ Agent Ivy said, making him jerk his head up, ‘The car has enough battery for two days. The location is on its screen inside, you can follow it.’

‘You’ve been there, haven’t you?’ he asked her. Something inside his heart felt warm and eased. It was as if all his troubles were over.

‘We grew there…’ Matrix spoke, ‘She’s my childhood friend. You’d ask why we left that place at all…’

‘Yeah! Why did you!’ Taiyo was flustered with the news.

‘Because we want the whole world to be green like it was before all these Techno units took over…’ Ivy said gravely, ‘The ones we fought yesterday were men of some industrialists. They were Dumpers, or people who kill anyone who rebels against the units they put. Some big companies seek only profit, their own profit. The red dust all around us was never supposed to be, it’s all because of these people… some of us are on a mission to end it.’

Taiyo was speechless for some time. He never thought there might be people holding better thoughts than earning money.

‘Well, now I want to join you guys…’ He began to walk back to them.

‘No, you go on, you’re not eighteen!’ Ivy grinned at him brightly, ‘even with those skills you have, a kid can’t join our team.’

‘So I can come back in two years…’ Taiyo smiled.

‘Yeah, that-’ Matrix pointed at the car, ‘Has Ivy’s contact via secure line. Keep mailing us.’

‘Oh, and send pictures of the sun and the mountains, will you? The thing has a cam too.’

‘Yeah, anything you want!’ Taiyo had never felt so strongly for people before, but these two were exceptions. They were not merely humans with flowing blood, but with a beating heart too.

‘Then off you go! We must get going to.’

‘Sure Ivy… will keep in touch!’

‘One more thing Taiyo, the sun is not like Bloodstone.’

‘Then what it is like?’ he always wanted to know that, and now his curiosity burnt hotter.

‘It’s more beautiful than any gem you’d ever see. I can’t explain… you take care of yourself.’ Ivy said gently, almost like a big sister.

‘I… I would… so long!’ Taiyo saw the RV disappear far into south, his eyes burning in tears. It was not the dust this time. He blinked them away and quickly went inside the car.

‘Location…’ He said and a screen appeared. There it was in a little red dot on the map of Himalayan range… The Free Zone, Code 1. He touched the dot and the screen said ‘location locked’. The engine started and he took off north-east.