Mangesh Shirke



Mangesh Shirke


The Substantial Loser

The Substantial Loser

13 mins 5.8K 13 mins 5.8K

“No….I can’t take this anymore…!” Natasha threw the drumsticks away as she tried playing the drums.

“Remember what I used to tell you when we were together in prison…” Tanya, her friend consoled her and said. “Control yourself…you need to get out of those bad feelings. You need to remove & finish the fears once & for all…!”

"I was a world famous drummer.... But not anymore...! After the incident that happened with my adopted kid... I can't play drums... Every time I pull up the sticks in my hands... I remember my kid dying in front of me...! I always intended to have all the things that I want. I always wanted to win..! There was a time when I was winning the world..! But now, I’ve lost all of my aggressiveness, stubbornness …everything…! “ Feeling totally depressed, Natasha said sorrowfully.

While she was in the prison, she got into friendly relations with her prison inmate, Tanya. After getting released, she adopted a boy. She showered all of her love & affection on him. Meanwhile, she also became a famous drummer in the world.

On his birthday, while she was playing his favourite tune on the drums, suddenly her house caught up fire due to an electric short. She escaped out but her son got trapped inside and he died due to burns.

She suffered severe mental trauma after this. She couldn't remove her innocent kid from her thoughts. Every time she started to play drums, she remembered the horrible incident which took her son’s life. Even after continuous efforts, still she couldn't play the drums, which, at one time, was her favourite and most loved passion.

Gradually one day she decided she should give up drumming.

"I am giving up my passion...!" Weeping, Natasha said to Tanya." I've suffered a lot... I suffered the punishment for the crime I did not commit..! I suffered the punishment of seeing my kid dying in front of me..! And now I am suffering because I can't be the same drummer I always used to be....!”

The next day, she sold her drumming equipment and all her framed photos of all the live concerts she had played in, all her selfies with the greatest ever people in music, and all the wonderful photos that her fans had gifted her.

She also remembered when she was an abandoned orphan, Master Kahn, the renowned drummer, had adopted & taken care of her. He taught her the basics & gradually over the years she mastered in the art, shooting to fame after some LIVE performances. However, she only played as a side drummer to Master Kahn, who was very well known in the world. Tired of side drumming, she always intended to be the lead drummer in all musical events.

She handled all the daily chores in the house .

One day, while she was out in the market, her home caught fire. Master Kahn got burned in it. The forensic reports said the fire erupted due to short circuit, which lead to explosion of cooking gas, creating more fire. However, the entire blame was put on Natasha. After several court trials & after serving in jail for 10 years, she was finally released with no proper evidence to support her involvement in the accident.

Once released, even in the grief of losing her Master, she focused on her passion & became the most eminent drummer after Master Kahn. With her technique, which was totally similar to the Master, she became a much recognised artist.

Now, the news of her quitting took the entire media on Fire.

“Tanya…today I got a surprise gift…!” a couple of days later, Natasha called up Tanya. “It is the first pic of myself playing the drums…!”

The gifts kept on coming. Every couple of days, packed in a green box, Natasha kept on receiving some new gift, which included her first set of drumsticks, she receiving her first award, she performing LIVE at an event, her photos with Master Kahn teaching her the basics, every good detail from her past was being gifted to her by ‘someone’.

“I don’t know who this mystery person is…” Natasha was speaking to Tanya today, “But he surely has a lot of access to my personal past. He is sending me a message …”

“Maybe he wants you to start over again...!” Tanya stopped her in between & said, “Obviously…why would he sent all of these photos where either you’re learning, or wining, or performing…! He may be telling you to go ahead & start all over again…!”

“ know….I am still not able to overcome the grief …”

“You can’t live with the same grief for your entire life..! What has happened was not in your control…! Don’t blame yourself for it…! Start playing again…that’s the only way to come out of this grief..!” Tanya suggested her friend.

In spite of repeated convincing, still Natasha was not ready. Finally, after much forcing, Natasha decided to re-start her passion. Tanya got her a new set of drums along with some drumsticks.

The next day, they assembled the apparatus. The moment she started playing, she remembered her son, dying in front her engulfed in flames.

She threw away the drumsticks at once.

“Focus on yourself & your thoughts…do not focus on the fears…Try again…Keep trying!” Tanya forced her to start again.

Shivering & trying to keep the bad thought out of her mind, Natasha tried again, this time only focusing on the happiness, the joy & the happy feelings that she used to get when she played earlier. Surprisingly, she played her drumming tune nicely without interruption, entirely focusing on her music.

“That’s it… I told ya..!” Tanya exclaimed, “Everything is possible, just start focusing on what you want…!”

To keep the memories, Tanya clicked some photos of her.

As days went by, Natasha kept practising & slowly tried to improve her techniques. Keeping away the negative thoughts was a challenge to her, but she gradually won,leaving aside the fear & doubt.

As days went by,slowly she started keeping her focus & her mind entirely on music.

Some days later, as she was ready for drumming, she saw a Red envelope on her door. As she opened it, she was stunned.

"Tanya, today I got something different..!" Natasha immediately called up her friend, "It contains a personal message that The Master had wrote for me...!"

As Tanya read the letter, which said Natasha to be a good person and be humble and calm, she understood that it was a personal thing not available to anyone.

"The question is, how did this person got access to such information...?"

"That's what I can't answer.... I had never shared this with anyone...! This person must be having very close information about me and the master...!"

The series of personal gifts kept following. The personal letters, Natasha's hidden photographs displaying her accessing private data in the Master's personal wardrobe, his personal music notes that she had used for her benefits, she using his money to buy some other required stuff, all the past that she had not declared with anyone was slowly being enfolded in front of her.

"I donno why, but this guy is troubling me...! He is sending me all the personal information that I have still kept as a secret...!" Natasha spoke to Tanya, carefully avoiding to show her all the personal stuff she had received.

The gifts abruptly stopped the next day. Natasha and Tanya, both moved on in their life, eventually trying to forget about the mysterious gift sender.

However, after a couple of days, The series of photos kept on coming, this time all of them in red envelopes. They showed her referring the Master's book for tunes, stealing his drumsticks, and sometimes trying to forcibly open his private wardrobe.

Now Natasha started getting agitated. She was still unclear as to why these photos were being sent to her, why her hidden past was being opened in front of her. And most importantly, who was this person who knew everything about her life? She again lost her interest in drumming. She herself knew that she won’t stop until she has found this mysterious person.

One day, in a red envelope, she again received some pictures. When she saw them, that was the most shocking moment of her life.

"I need to find this guy... I need to know why is he troubling me, why my past is so important to him..."

"Did you again receive anything from him recently?" Tanya feeling tensed, asked her.

Natasha just nodded. She was herself confused about this entire thing and most importantly, she never wanted to reveal her past to anyone.

"If we want to find him, we need to know some clue about him... But how will we do that?" Thinking, Tanya asked.

"Did you know how he dropped the envelopes in front of your home?"

"No... He mostly did it, when I was not around..."

"Let's ask some people around. Let's also try to find some clue around the home. Someone must have seen him. We need to find him because it's important to know what is he trying to convey us....!"

The girls searched around the area. Enquiring everywhere, they also searched for any other thing that could possibly show some direction or some clue regarding the whereabouts of the mysterious sender. They tried a lot to find him, but still couldn’t succeed. They re-observed all his photos again. As Tanya saw them, she was equally shocked to see some unseen events in Natasha’s past, namely the most recent ones, which showed Natasha mixing something in the Master’s lunch. The date on the photo clearly indicated the same day when the master’s house was on fire, burning him down.

After Tanya left, Natasha sat down, thinking about her next move. Suddenly she remembered something. She checked all the RED envelopes given to her by him. All of them were numbered & the gap between two numbers was the number of days in between. As Natasha further checked on the previous envelopes, they all were numbered, every number indicating a certain sequencing of days.

How come I missed such an important clue? Natasha thought. Calculating the sequence of days, she knew that the next day, again she will be receiving something from the mysterious person. She decided to nab the culprit alone, as he had unfolded lots of personal things which were not supposed to be open.

The next day, she woke up early morning. Immediately after breakfast, she locked her house and hid in the front cottage ,which was unused by anyone. She waited till dusk. Suddenly a hooded figure showed up. Placing something down on her door, it looked around & tiptoed away softly. Natasha sprinted towards her door & picked up the thing. It was a RED envelope. She picked it up & followed the figure. It went around in the town & in the darkness ,turned inside a deserted lane. Natasha followed it,but lost the person. She searched around in the lane but couldn’t find the person.

As she turned to return, suddenly she realised where she was. She was on the same street where Master Kahn had found her for the first time years back as a kid.

“Remember this road? Remember from where you came?” she heard a threatening voice behind.

She turned and stood dumbfounded.

Tanya was standing behind her, removing the hooded jacket.

Natasha still couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Remembering something, she checked the RED envelope in her hands. It contained photos of her, when she had just drumming again, which Tanya had clicked.

“So you……”

“Of course...I am …!” Tanya scowled back, “I followed you everywhere. I committed a crime & requested the jailor to be jailed with you. I kept a track of all of your moments. I was the person who had clicked all of these photos right from your childhood. I just wanted to be with you so that I can know your every move, your every stance. Know why I did this? Because I wanted to avenge my father’s killing…!”

Natasha almost felt the words piercing inside her ears.

“So you’re….”

“Yes….I’m Master Kahn’s daughter, Tanya Kahn. Ever since my mom died, my dad never looked after me. He was a very good person, but I never wanted to come in between him & his passion. That’s the reason I ran away from home, away from my father. A photographer couple adopted me. Following them I learned all the basics of photography. But deep down I always loved my dad. One day I saw your performance as a kid & I remembered you played drums exactly as my dad. After I followed you, I released that you were adopted by my father. Out of curiosity, I started watching you. I got my parent’s HD camera lenses, so that I can always watch you. And what I saw…? I only saw you stealing, mugging, doing treacherous things all around in the house... using my dad’s things…using all his stuff…”

“I never did that…” Natasha screamed loudly.

“Yes you did it…! Did you check the photos of yours turning on the cooking gas range? Did you check your photos mixing something in his food? Did you check yourself stealing his books, his money, most importantly, his style of drumming...? Did you read all of his letters telling you to be humble and patient and achieve everything in the right way? How many more instances are you willing to listen to prove that you killed my father...? "Tanya almost broke down with the last sentence.

Natasha could not hold any longer. Her entire past was opened, and she had no way to hide it from anyone." I killed him, because I wanted fame. I wanted to become famous....! I wanted to achieve everything that he had achieved...! He knew I was stubborn for it.. He knew I was ready to do anything for wining... Anything to be successful... Anything for becoming famous.... Anything.. "

"So to achieve all of this... You were ready to kill...? My father knew about your attitude. He knew everything about your behaviour and that's why he tried a lot to make you understand, but you wanted his place. You wanted to be world famous in a very short time... You started becoming more jealous of him.. Instead of being inspired, you envied him. You wanted everything that he had, you were tired of being a side drummer, you were jealous because every time in every concert, it was his name that came forward and not yours... And that's the reason you decided to kill him.. You created a perfect crime... Portraying yourself as innocent... But I knew everything.... I was the one who fought for 10 long years.... But in the end you were evicted...! "

Natasha felt as if every word was like a hot rivet hammered inside her. Everything that she had kept hidden, was now open on front of her. Everything which she achieved in stubbornness, dishonesty, betrayal, scepticism had gone waste. She collapsed down, unable to bear the weight of the loss.

"You may be thinking that now I'll complain to the cops. You may also be thinking I'll record your confession and give it to the cops ... Right?". Looking directly into the eyes of Natasha, Tanya replied, "But, I won't do it. You already lost your adopted son. You almost lost your passion and your life. I sent all of those things in green boxes to you so that you will drumming again, And most importantly you may still recover from that loss, you may still again become the world famous drummer as you always wanted to be... But remember, you achieved all that on the foundation of betrayal, crime, jealousy and all the wrong ways...! Whenever you'll drum, you will every time remember all that I've just said... You are a loser... You may win ahead in your career... But still you'll be loser for your entire life...! "

Natasha and Tanya never met each other after that. Natasha tried drumming again, but she couldn't succeed. She again suffered from mental trauma, depression. She tried a lot to come back, but still, she couldn't do it.

Days later, Natasha committed suicide.

The news of her death turned the whole world upside down.


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