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A Godly Affair (1 Viewer)

Gaurav

Senior Member
It is my third short story. I am really looking forward for positive criticism. Thanks in advance to everyone who comments on it.


1


"Repay your debt in a week or shut down your dispensary." Mr. Mehta ordered.


"Please sir, give me some more time. Do you think I am a fraud?" Dr. Lal replied.


"Certainly you are, Jackass! I missed out the enlightenment course of Holy Siddeshwar Maharaj. I couldn't even visit his Ashram and you are responsible for it. Remember, this is the last warning. One more delay in payment and the underworld will be after you!" he said with red hot eyes.


"Sorry Sir, please..."


"Enough!" he said, clenching his fist and left Dr. Lal's clinic in anger.


Dr. Lal, the 'doctoring' genius had graduated from a donation college. Living in a country where one could buy anything but life, educational degrees were bought like chocolate cookies. Too ecstatic at being a doctor, he had purchased a new dispensary in heart of the city. His financier, Mr. Mehta had planned to claim his dispensary because of his long pending debts. Dr. Lal was having sleepless nights until a new patient made his way in his dispensary.


"What are these marks on his forehead?" the mother of a newborn asked him.


"I will have to do some research on it. You can come back after a while," he replied. The same day he saw another patient with such marks. As he was treating both the mothers for over half a year, he realized that there was a problem in his treatment.


He spent his whole Sunday doing research on his laptop. He came to a conclusion that due to overdose of a medicine, every child born under his care would carry such signs. 'Already a debt to repay, treatment going wrong, God I am gonna land up in jail soon!' he thought.




2


"So how is your channel going?" he asked his friend Jay.


"It is crashing everyday. Can you imagine, a year ago it was the most popular news channel. And today the producers are asking us to shut it down." As Jay was talking, lightning struck in Lal's mind.


"Bravo! Do you want your channel to be the most sought out one?"


"Of course."


"Then get ready. We have to meet the managing director of your company," he said and slammed his telephone.




SOMETIME LATER




"Are these news channels crazy?" Mrs. Mehta proclaimed.


"What happened?" her husband enquired.


"Just come and have a look at the T.V." As he watched the 'Breaking News' his heart was in his mouth.


'Ladies and Gentleman, a doctor, has announced that he can foresee the future of a child born under his care,' the news channel broadcast.


They were showing two of his patients, with a unique birthmark and Dr. Lal claimed that such marks could alter the future of these children.


Soon Dr. Lal became a hot property for news channels. He was invited for various events. Debates were held. Polls were taken. Experts were called and after a while he became the most famous doctor in his area.


3


That night his telephone rang.


"Hello. Who's this?" he asked.


"Your destiny," a voice replied.


'Destiny? Is this a threat call? Oh no. I guess Mr. Mehta called the underworld!' he thought.


"Sss... Sorry. I didn't get you," he said with a lump in his throat.


"So when are you going to stop this nonsense?"


"What? It's none of your business. And please tell me who is this?"


"I am the creator, the operator and the generator of mankind. I am God."


"So you are going to sue me for violating your copyright, isn't it?"


"This isn't a prank call. Remember, I am watching you. This is the last warning."


"What? Listen..." before he could say anything the phone was disconnected.


'Wow, that prank was even better than mine,' he thought and went to bed.


His telephone rang early morning. He picked up the phone to hear the same voice again. It was God again. Refusing to believe him, Dr. Lal openly challenged him.


"I don't know who you are, but remember, I have the support of local MLA. In India, a politician is bigger than God! So don't mess with me," he said and slammed the phone.


'You are going on wrong path son,' God said to himself.


4


Given no choice, God decided to take charge of the situation.


He was all set to expose Dr. Lal's true image. In an avatar of a man he arrived on earth. Since millions of years, he hadn't come over here. His concept of Earth was just like his own paradise. Woody forests, peaceful animals, towering scenery was all he could think, while shifting from Heaven. Little did he know what was coming his way.


After arriving on Earth, he thought of taking a morning walk, before meeting Dr. Lal. While on his way, he came across a building, which was surrounded by a bunch of people. Curiously, he went there to see a couple throwing their young kid on the ground from a fourth floor apartment.


"Stop it!" he ordered. The mob looked at him outrageously. After taking a deep breath and swallowing a lump in his throat, he changed his tone and asked one of them, "What are they doing?"


"Sshh. Don't disturb. It is an ACT OF GOD. Whenever a young child is born in our society, in order to please God, the parents throw their infant from their house to the ground. If the aunt, who is standing below, catches it, we get the signal whether God wants the kid to live."


"This is absurd. Have they lost their minds?"


"Enough!" said one of the relatives, "Let's call the police."


"For what?" God looked confused.


"For hurting religious sentiments," a voice replied and soon a dozen men armed with bamboo sticks started chasing the Lord. Since he had abandoned his powers while arriving on Earth, he had no option but to run for 'his life'.


5


"Crazy men," he said, as he gasped out his breath in shock, while hiding behind a tree. Beside the tree he saw the deluxe Ashram of Siddeshwar Maharaj. A high profile God-man, with a perfect background of being a college dropout and a serial rapist, he was an inspirational figure in the city. People worshiped him, while the politicians payed him handsomely for their 'good luck'.


'What's wrong with these men?' he asked himself. He made another lame attempt to confront the God-man.


"Hey this is wrong! He is a criminal." God shouted. He met with the same response. The only difference was that, this time the men who attacked him were armed with guns instead of bamboo sticks. Within an interval of 20 minutes he had seen two horrific instances. But what really hurt him, was the fact, that people had accepted it under the name of religion.


Soon he realised that there were millions of Dr. Lals roaming scot-free around the globe where they were worshiped, saluted and treated as VIPs. Realising that it was impossible to stop this plague in a country where Ashrams got more respect than a school, he walked away with wet eyes without confronting Dr. Lal.


Years went by, and people started realising that Dr. Lal had a 'divine power'. Soon they started worshiping him, built his temples and elected him as a representative. Today Mr. Lal teaches his followers the importance of 'honesty and moral values'.
 
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LeeC

WF Veterans
An admirable effort and a good satirical theme, but to me lacks in capturing the reader's attention.

Right of the bat I was sidetracked by "Repay my debt" which I believe you mean to be "Repay your debt."

Then I got caught up in "Siddeshwar Maharaj (A Godman in India is known as Maharaj)." To me, I thought a Maharaj was an Indian prince, and a godman [god-man] (or holy man) was a Guru. Of course I'm not that well versed in such references. Even so, the reader's perception is something to be considered.

Starting to get into the flow, Mrs Mehta popped up and I had to backtrack to figure out who she was. Instilling some sense of character to associate with, and/or noting the relationship, usually helps the reader tie in new characters.

Beyond that, I felt more comfortable in the storyline, but it seemed to lack elements of visuality, taste and smell. Though overdoing such can be just as bad.

Then in the last paragraph, I came across "built his temples" which I read as "building temples to him."

Of course, the last line "Today Mr. Lal teaches his followers the importance of 'honesty and moral values'." is the clincher. You nailed it there :)

Just my take, which I hope is some help.

Hang in there,
LeeC
 

Gaurav

Senior Member
Thanks a lot for your review. I appreciate your suggestions and I am looking forward to correct my mistakes.

As an additional information I would say a prince in India is known as Maharaja or sometimes Maharaj. The reason why these Godmen are called Maharaj is because they are given a status similar to a prince or a king.

Also 'built his temples' is written intentionally because in India, people build temples of almost any celebrity, be it an actor, a famous sportsperson or even a politician. Their fans worship their idols as if they are God.

Once again thanks a lot for commenting on my story!
 

Red Aura

Member
It's an interesting story and I mean that in a good way. But, if I may, allow me to point out a few things about the narrative that I feel need a little work:

1. Emotional Investment - All stories, whether they are meant for children or adults, stress the importance of characters. Characters, among other things, are what make a story believable. They point out our flaws, our insights, our weaknesses, and our strengths. It is through character that we develop "emotional investment", that want (or in some cases "need") to care about the events of the characters of any narrative. I like the way you start the prose with Dr. Lal. Immediately, we are put in a conflict where he could lose his dispensary if his debt is not paid. I recommend expanding on this and perhaps supply the following: Why is this so important to him? Why is Mr. Mehta so cruel to Dr. Lal? and so on.

2. Point of View - There's a shift in the point of view character in this piece. By this, I mean that the sequence of events that we are following shift from one character to another. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, it can create a sense of distortion to the flow of the story. For example, we start the piece with Dr. Lal and his ordeal, but by the end of the piece, we end up following God and his interaction with people. I recommend making the story about Dr. Lal and his interaction with God. You can tie in the theme about the folly of mankind through the deceitful actions of Dr. Lal and perhaps in the end having Dr. Lal "learn" a thing or two about the ordeal. This is just one possible way, there are tons of other ways to do this.

Overall, I like the spirit of the piece. I especially like the part when Dr. Lal and God have a phone conversation. The line: "I am the creator, the operator and the generator of mankind. I am God" has so much potential.

Well, I hope this helps and good luck!
 

Riptide

WF Veterans
"Repay your debt in a week or shut down yourdispensary." Mr.Mehta ordered. Fordialogue you have to end it with a comma, unless you use a ?, or !.It's because the sentence you just created: Mr. Mehta ordered. Isfragmented. Also, is it supposed to be : Or Ishut down your dispensary?


"Please sir, give me some more time. Do youthink I am a fraud?" Dr.Lal replied.


"Because ofyou, I couldn't attend the enlightenment course of Siddeshwar Maharaj(A Godman in India is known as Maharaj). I haven't visited hisAshram. I don't see how this follows in theconversation So remember this is the last warning, Rascal!Is this an insult? I think he could use more harsh language hereIf I don't get my money within a week, the underworld will be afteryou. You don't know who I am." It feelslike a weak threat to me- maybe: You don't know what I can do.Mr. Mehta clenched his fist and left Dr.Lal's dispensary with angerCan scratch the: with anger .


Dr.Lal, the'doctoring' genius , had graduated froma donation college. Living in a country where one could buy anythingbut A? life, the educational degreeswere bought like chocolate cookies. Too- thistoo can come off- and Ecstatic at being a doctor ecstatic ofbeing a doctor, he had purchased a new dispensary in heart of thecity. His financier, Mr. Mehta , hadplanned to capture- The word doesn't seem tofit here.... repossess- is that the word usually used? hisdispensary because of his long pending debts. Dr.Lal was havingsleepless nights until a new patient made his way in his dispensary.That was a little to fast transition into the next part


"Whatare these marks on his forehead?" the mother of a newborn askedhim. Is this the new patient? BC you say a newpatient made HIS way


"I will have to do someresearch on it. You can come back after a while," he replied.The same day he saw another patient with such marks. As he wastreating both the mothers for over half a year, he realized thatthere was a problem in his treatment Anotherhuge jump... and treating both the mothers? I thought it was the babywith the marks?


He spent his whole Sunday doingresearch on his laptop. He came to a conclusion that due to overdoseof a medicine, every child born under his care would carry suchsigns. 'Already a debt to repay, treatment going wrong, God I amgonna land up in jail soon!' he thought Thisalso doesn't make sense... So he already knew the patients? Unlessyou meant that: He was treating to be, :He had been treating... andthen maybe : Every child that was born, to mean past child... unlesshe's still doing the same treatment. And two years have already passed?



Okay, that's the first one​
 

Gaurav

Senior Member
It's an interesting story and I mean that in a good way. But, if I may, allow me to point out a few things about the narrative that I feel need a little work:

1. Emotional Investment - All stories, whether they are meant for children or adults, stress the importance of characters. Characters, among other things, are what make a story believable. They point out our flaws, our insights, our weaknesses, and our strengths. It is through character that we develop "emotional investment", that want (or in some cases "need") to care about the events of the characters of any narrative. I like the way you start the prose with Dr. Lal. Immediately, we are put in a conflict where he could lose his dispensary if his debt is not paid. I recommend expanding on this and perhaps supply the following: Why is this so important to him? Why is Mr. Mehta so cruel to Dr. Lal? and so on.

2. Point of View - There's a shift in the point of view character in this piece. By this, I mean that the sequence of events that we are following shift from one character to another. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, it can create a sense of distortion to the flow of the story. For example, we start the piece with Dr. Lal and his ordeal, but by the end of the piece, we end up following God and his interaction with people. I recommend making the story about Dr. Lal and his interaction with God. You can tie in the theme about the folly of mankind through the deceitful actions of Dr. Lal and perhaps in the end having Dr. Lal "learn" a thing or two about the ordeal. This is just one possible way, there are tons of other ways to do this.

Overall, I like the spirit of the piece. I especially like the part when Dr. Lal and God have a phone conversation. The line: "I am the creator, the operator and the generator of mankind. I am God" has so much potential.

Well, I hope this helps and good luck!

Thanks a lot for your reply. I understand your point about the emotional investment needed in the story. But I wanted to grab the readers attention by straight away putting a conflict in the first scene itself. Though I missed out on the descriptions of the characters.

Also I would like to mention two thinks to you, since you read my story meticulously. First of all, the switch in protagonist, from Dr.Lal to God was deliberately done. I understand your point that it looks uncomfortable for a reader to have two Main characters, but the story doesn't revolve around Dr.Lal completely. He is just a reason due to which God comes to Earth. Secondly, God in the story isn't a divine power but a person who has no idea about religion.The story is set in India (As an Indian citizen I would like to tell you that people here are absolutely crazy about God and Godmen.) The harsh climax was always expected because of the nature of the story. Interestingly I first wrote the climax of the story followed by other scenes.

In addition I would like to tell you that the character of Godman 'Siddeshwar Maharaj' is based on a true Godman named 'Asaram' who is currently in jail under child abuse and molestation case.
 

W.Goepner

WF Veterans
I am not an expert in cultural writing, but I believe that this is written in true manner with the culture I perceive it in. some thing of an India type of culture. I recall the story of Sambo to be written in similar manner. Also after reading your post of "March 16th, 2014, 12:08 PM" I see I am correct. I could do with a bit more description and characterization though. I am not a punctuation freak or context know for all and cannot comment on such. I can see a script being made of this and a movie produced.

With what LeeC stated. "Starting to get into the flow, Mrs Mehta popped up and I had to backtrack to figure out who she was. Instilling some sense of character to associate with, and/or noting the relationship, usually helps the reader tie in new characters." I caught on right away that She was the wife of the wife of the lender in the beginning. And I had to think back to find I was correct. Just reading on I knew it for sure. I also can picture the God figure as you describe him. Naive to the whiles and throws of religion. Poised in his paradise catching one amongst thousands poising as prophets and pushing a mistake off as prophecy.

I say good work keep with it and just add a bit more description.
 

Gaurav

Senior Member
I am not an expert in cultural writing, but I believe that this is written in true manner with the culture I perceive it in. some thing of an India type of culture. I recall the story of Sambo to be written in similar manner. Also after reading your post of "March 16th, 2014, 12:08 PM" I see I am correct. I could do with a bit more description and characterization though. I am not a punctuation freak or context know for all and cannot comment on such. I can see a script being made of this and a movie produced.

With what LeeC stated. "Starting to get into the flow, Mrs Mehta popped up and I had to backtrack to figure out who she was. Instilling some sense of character to associate with, and/or noting the relationship, usually helps the reader tie in new characters." I caught on right away that She was the wife of the wife of the lender in the beginning. And I had to think back to find I was correct. Just reading on I knew it for sure. I also can picture the God figure as you describe him. Naive to the whiles and throws of religion. Poised in his paradise catching one amongst thousands poising as prophets and pushing a mistake off as prophecy.

I say good work keep with it and just add a bit more description.

Thanks a lot for your comment. I really appreciate your views.
 

ShadowEyes

WF Veterans
Well, let's take a look.

Disclaimer: I've never read much satire, but I don't really believe that it should be believable or transparent, but rather understandable. You did well!

I enjoyed this story a lot. A lot of the "scenes" (I will call them), come out of left-field, while still maintaining a strong narrative focus. Which is: there's a doctor who has some mysterious power and another politician who is, I suppose, lambasted, but lauded in the city. I'm getting a sense that you want to talk about the ineffectiveness of government, but it's a little fuzzy. Is this the end of the story or will you post updates?

I would love if you could clarify the characters better. I liked the "God" character the best because He's so weak, but also sees the corruption. I loved the baby-throwing thing. Reminds me of the satire piece A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Sidenote: A Modest Proposal was predeceased by Tertullian, who also wrote satire on this subject, 1000 years before. So, I think it's a wonderful job.

The story begins with an exchange of dialogue, and then the great explanatory section. Then you have the doctor talking to himself. I would have liked to see him actually doing research and maybe finding out how he has affected the world. And the "underworld," apparently. You do a very good job of using technical language, but that word "underworld" threw me for a loop as I re-read it. So this is fantasy. It didn't seem like it, almost. It seemed like it could have been real until that word. I hope you will elaborate.

One minor point that I believe hampers this piece is the fact that the dialogue is either un-tagged with names or the names change a lot. I got confused.

Okay, that's all I have for now!
 

W.Goepner

WF Veterans
Well, let's take a look.


The story begins with an exchange of dialogue, and then the great explanatory section. Then you have the doctor talking to himself. I would have liked to see him actually doing research and maybe finding out how he has affected the world. And the "underworld," apparently. You do a very good job of using technical language, but that word "underworld" threw me for a loop as I re-read it. So this is fantasy. It didn't seem like it, almost. It seemed like it could have been real until that word. I hope you will elaborate.

I cut to the point I understand of this piece in your critique. Underworld does not necessarily mean, Hell, devil, demons, etc... Underworld can also be, The Mob, corrupted officials, Dark disgusting people, etc... The writing in this case as I recognize it. Is from the writers ethnic back ground and is in some part true to life there. I caught this in the names and the stile of description. It is amazing to me that I can actually see this in the small amount Gaurav wrote. As I was saying I think the underworld Gaurav spoke of here means more the Mob stile than the Devil demon.

I hope I am right. Gaurav?
 

Gaurav

Senior Member
Well, let's take a look.


Disclaimer: I've never read much satire, but I don't really believe that it should be believable or transparent, but rather understandable. You did well!


I enjoyed this story a lot. A lot of the "scenes" (I will call them), come out of left-field, while still maintaining a strong narrative focus. Which is: there's a doctor who has some mysterious power and another politician who is, I suppose, lambasted, but lauded in the city. I'm getting a sense that you want to talk about the ineffectiveness of government, but it's a little fuzzy. Is this the end of the story or will you post updates?


I would love if you could clarify the characters better. I liked the "God" character the best because He's so weak, but also sees the corruption. I loved the baby-throwing thing. Reminds me of the satire piece A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. Sidenote: A Modest Proposal was predeceased by Tertullian, who also wrote satire on this subject, 1000 years before. So, I think it's a wonderful job.


The story begins with an exchange of dialogue, and then the great explanatory section. Then you have the doctor talking to himself. I would have liked to see him actually doing research and maybe finding out how he has affected the world. And the "underworld," apparently. You do a very good job of using technical language, but that word "underworld" threw me for a loop as I re-read it. So this is fantasy. It didn't seem like it, almost. It seemed like it could have been real until that word. I hope you will elaborate.


One minor point that I believe hampers this piece is the fact that the dialogue is either un-tagged with names or the names change a lot. I got confused.


Okay, that's all I have for now!


Dear Shadoweyes as Goepner said, the story is set in India so the traits of the characters are more appealing for an Indian or someone who is familiar with the Indian culture. The 'underworld' is one such example. People in India, specially moneylenders often try to create pressure on the borrowers by bragging about their contacts with mafia. In India a mafia is often called UNDERWORLD.

Also the story targets the hollowness of the society. Dr.Lal in the story is a fraud who has fooled the world by giving logic less explanations but the media is promoting him for their own publicity.

On a personal note I have to tell you that I will keep improving the story without adding any chapters. Thanks for your response.
 
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Gaurav

Senior Member
I cut to the point I understand of this piece in your critique. Underworld does not necessarily mean, Hell, devil, demons, etc... Underworld can also be, The Mob, corrupted officials, Dark disgusting people, etc... The writing in this case as I recognize it. Is from the writers ethnic back ground and is in some part true to life there. I caught this in the names and the stile of description. It is amazing to me that I can actually see this in the small amount Gaurav wrote. As I was saying I think the underworld Gaurav spoke of here means more the Mob stile than the Devil demon.

I hope I am right. Gaurav?

You are absolutely right! :D
 

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