Antique Shop Afternoon

A character story-

By: vishu mishra

Antique Shop Afternoon

Antique Shop Afternoon

That afternoon..

Victor stormed into the antique shop and shouted at the lady, “hold on mam! I would like to make a bargain for this seemingly authentic artifact!”. The lady who held with both hands – a rectangular shaped, thin and delicate ceramic slab with exquisite decorations, had her smile fading away at this. Her face jubilant a moment ago, now expressed a sudden tension at the sight of this strange man. Immediately, victor changed his line of inquiry towards the salesman of the antique shop,

“bastard! Your shop has been under surveillance for past three months, it’s all over”, he said. The lady got agitated at this unwelcoming drama and responded, “excuse me! who the hell are you and why are you tormenting this shopkeeper, disturbing my purchase? ”, she asked in a raised voice. Victor, who looked furiously towards the nervous salesman, turned his eyes towards the lady , “mam! I am afraid, you are being fooled by this shop-owner. Our team has been tracking down his activities and I wanted to catch him red handed..”, he said in an assertive tone.

“I am being fooled for what and who are you..better fill the story in or I am calling police now”, she snapped. Victor took the slab and took out his ID from his wallet, “mam! I am the regulatory officer of the anti-duplicacy authority, this slab which is priced at 25,000 Bucks and claims to be Mughal in origin, is actually a forgery and not worth more than 1000 bucks”, he replied in a calm voice, handing over his ID to the lady.

While the lady began to examine his ID, victor took out a pencil torch and flashed it on the bar-code on the artifact which reflected blue, “you see mam,here’s the proof- all artifacts sanctioned by archeological authority for sale, shine golden in barcodes..isn’t it you scoundrel!”,he said ,menacingly to the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper who was rattled by the events & criminal accusations, looked completely caught in guilty and then agreed to every word of victor’s enquiry, like an obedient dog.

Victor then made a call from his phone, “yes! Please send in a van and five officers ,along with the arrest warrant”, he said, while looking out of the shop’s window. He looked at the lady for a brief moment and continued, “am sorry for your troubles Mam, but the shop will have to be shut down and all the old artifacts will be ceased & taken in our custody. Now if you excuse me, I have to wave to my partner whose awaiting my signal..to know if all is good”, he said. He opened the shop’s glass door, which read in black paint “ no returns, no credits” and waved at a man standing across road, slouching on a metallic black Mercedes. At the sight of victor, the man stood straight in attention gave him a thumb’s up with a smile. The lady and the shopkeeper observed victor’s moves and followed him around in complete silence as he stepped out and came back inside the shop. Victor gazed at the lady’s blue furred purse and golden Bentley car keys and commented, “mam , please don’t  mind my saying so but your high heels, expensive attire gives away the fact that you belong to the affluent section of society..they do look good but today they almost got you into trouble, I must ask you to be smarter and careful next time”, he said and smiled.

victor then ordered the shopkeeper to produce the original artifact. Meanwhile, he explained to the lady that how this shop has been selling duplicate items with real certificates and all that is left among the few pieces, is this precious 150 year old pot jar that the shopkeeper reluctantly produced from the inner room. However, just like the others in the lot, this old artifact had no issuing certificate as all the original ones have already been given away with fake items.

Victor further explained that none of the customers’ ever bother to confirm their item’s authentication. Therefore, this crook business was running good for a while & the original pieces were illegally sold with very high prices in the black market. These acts of malice were carried out through a well thought out plan, which involved hoarding and cheating. “So, it must be returned to the authority for evidence and re-issuing”, he stated. The lady was listening to victor’s fluent commentary with strictest attention, she then stepped towards victor and returned his ID , she asked curiously, “officer! I have an unusual request, you see! I have been searching for this particular artifact in this old-market for one month and I am really tired of it. None of the other 13 antique item-shops, that row along this market’s corner lane, seem to possess it. This dungy little shop was my lasting hope. I really want this one, if it’s okay with you, I can even give you extra for your help”, she said in a desperate tone.

“mam! The police will be here in fifteen minutes, this piece has no certificate, so you can’t sell it to anyone later on. Please! don’t find my reasons rude but frankly I will risk my job for 25,000 bucks”, he said, trying to convince her. She took a deep breath and said, “Do hell with law! I will give you 10,000 extra right now! and 5,000 to even this crooked shopkeeper, for keeping his mouth shut!.Now! that’s 40,000 bucks, you can’t refuse that mister”.

“mam! Please understand! I need an evidence, the money is good but..”, he said, unable to articulate further.

“oh! Its okay officer! you have other pieces to confiscate. here’s the money, completely in cash!..i couldn’t make it more easier, now hurry!”,she said, seemingly unaffected to any more logical deniability. It was quite clear that her passion for the item was very high and it was the decisive factor for the extra money. The officer and shopkeeper exchanged a nod of agreement and then gave her the artifact for the high-priced deal, along with the cheap certificate of 500 bucks sale value just as a certification formality. Victor then asked her to leave the shop and move away from the market, as police team was on the way.

An hour later- the lady decided to roll around the street to see what hullabaloo is going  around the corner shop and that old street, but strangely! It was as quiet as she left it an hour ago. She parked her car across the street and started pacing towards the shop to inquire. She stumbled upon the same Mercedes driver who stood there reading his newspaper, “ where’s your officer”,she asked.

“what officer mam..”,he replied,cluelessly.

“Officer victor.. your department’s detective..the man you waved to into the store”, she inquired.

“oh! That guy- ya! Amazing fellow! He gave me 500 bucks, just to wave at him..he said he wanted to impress some rich girl in the store and wanted me to pretend as his chauffeur, crazy guy, must be in love!”,he said, smiling towards the horrified lady.

Not wasting a second, the lady stormed through the glass door and encountered a mid-aged fellow with light brown hair. The old-man looked puzzled at the sight of this flustered female, he looked at her through his half moon spectacles, “yes mam! What can I do for you..”,he asked.

“the owner!, the young boy!, wearing check shirt and trousers..where is he, where is the owner!!”, she said, fervently.

“umm.. I am the owner young lady, I assure you.”, he smiled.. “and the boy your probably talking about is working here temporarily  for the month, in the afternoons ,as I go home for a nap.I am an old guy you see..well! he’s really hardworking and an honest boy I can tell ,came in handy. its like, just what I needed for the afternoons.he went home for a vacation today but he will return in few days.do you want to meet him?”,he said, still wondering why the woman was agitated.

“probably not!..”,she said and she produced the pot, her recently bought purchase, a staggering 40,000 bucks purchase, “do you recognize this pot..its an ancient artifact, I bought this from your shop an hour ago.it has a golden barcode”

“yes I do miss..it’s as ancient as this newly built shop madam!.. if you’re looking for a discount, I can at best give you two for 900 bucks, along with a valid certificate.. and there’s no barcodes madam! it’s a ceramic replica not an electronic item”, he replied, smiling at her.

Now tearful in her eyes and gasping for breath, she looked up in the air. “no! I have the certificate.. no barcodes right!,and i am pretty sure that there’s no such thing as an anti-duplicacy regulatory officer as well”,she said, in a low and depressed voice.

The old man replied, “mam! I have no clue what you’re talking about. I can at max give you a discount, that’s the best I can do, but as the board says-“ no returns, no credits”.

-classwork-

Thank you for reading.

Regards

Being a reader- chapter 5/5

#Narration of my reading journey

Since I realized that being a poor reader is an obstacle to my aspiration of being a good writer & developing those supporting skills, I was really worried. With the medicines working for my sinus problem in the backdrop of self-renovation. I made it a regular habit to read the first page of newspaper for some time.

Slowly & steadily, I moved on to the sports section & added one big article from the editorial section of ‘the Hindu’. My efforts increased to reading the entire two pages of editorial & the first page by the end of month& half. During this time, I was completely fascinated by the binding language of the eminent writers, advocates, social workers, environment experts, editors. Their articles were filled with a strong appeal, amazing & gripping ideas & abstract theories that can engage the most ingenious minds.

I felt privileged to reach this milestone. So, I started writing in a diary– their styled- sparkling ideas & aesthetic valued phrases, along with the difficult words, to later find their meaning. I found that with regular reading, my time span of completing the task reduced considerably & my comprehensive skill improved significantly. I was no more mind boggled by the heavy phrases, bulky lines, I was beginning to see the forest beyond the thick foliage & heavy wood barks.

Later in the year, I tried to tune around my other skills to aspire to same level of writing. So, with personal volition & valuable suggestion from my creative writing course teacher. I worked on my grammar & tried to grasp techniques from the book- ‘ how to read better & faster’. I was already cruising along with my vocabulary Building project. I realized that there’s always more to learn than you know right now. One must always pursue an interest like a student not a master. You can never be a master of a language but mastering your reading ability is definitely one of the most advanced skills in the world & it can be most frustrating too for poor readers.however, its rewards are great on personal, intellectual & recreational ends.

For active netizen – you may be belonging to a social network circle, connected to a cause, belonging to a highly vocal society where every person is an authority to be a republic of his own opinions & challenge others on theirs. In such an environment, it is only befitting to be aware of the latest bubbles & things that are trending in the nation, for e.g. I am an Indian and this is the most complicated place in terms of demographic variations, socio-political debates, the vociferous breast-beating contests of ideas of our nation. In such a place, it is important to be part of all revolutions & one can achieve it by being a good reader. It can really help you in the execution of your ideas & moral templates on the seemingly active & ever-erupting opinion volcano.

Hopefully, some tips in this write-up will help you along as it has helped me.i am sure reading will further improve my short-comings,as it has before in this personal journey narrative of past one year.
From being a bad reader towards being a reader.

In goodwill of all who need to voice their genuine opinion, to add their ideas & voices to the world.

being a reader

being a reader

Godspeed.
Vishu mishra

Being a reader- chapter 4/5

So in benignant gesture, here are some of the tips I found useful-

#Tips

Lets divide it into three part-a. grammar b. vocabulary c. reading

a. Grammar– this is the easiest part for those who have had a solid foundation and toughest for those who care not but for language styling. These people find themselves too much embroiled into the slangs, catch phrases, colloquial English while expressing themselves; it is a curse & boon of the social network & active netizens-ship. Here’s a book –Murphy’s English grammar by Raymond Murphy- Cambridge publication. It’s very useful plus it has a foolproof technique to step by step eradicate your habitual errors. Further I read that most writers-

1.Make errors in using past continuous tense, usage of would, could & present perfect tense.

2. The usage of articles esp. ‘the’ and their prepositions just kill the sentences.

3. Their structuring is too lengthy & loses comprehension –so work on informative & extra-informative clauses.

4.Over usage of double-past & reluctance to use simple past makes sentences complicated.

5.Use of regular and irregular verb forms – e.g. lay/lie ,hung/hanged

6. confusion of using –who/whom , i/me ,she/her ,prophecy(prediction)/prophesy (predict)

7.The book has a specific exercise at the back that determines the areas you need to work on, so all your problems can be taken care of by one book.Apart from that, follow the above points and be conscious about their difference & try to research further on the internet about it.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary can only increase by extensive reading, once you engage your reading time into books of different genres, kinds, fields. you may notice that College level students have great vocabulary, it’s Because they are constantly challenged to dwell into unfamiliar topics & fields and increase their reading span and knowledge of different terminologies. So read all kinds of books, of all kinds of fields. you will definitely find interest in a few more subjects than you anticipate right now. The tips for vocab. Building-

1.Buy any good vocab builder that is based on etymology.

2.Always give importance to the form of word- i.e. noun,verb, adjective,adverb & try to look for a sentence of its usage.

3.The step by step process for learning new words-

The most common but wrong way

People sit with thumb-nailing dictionaries & as soon as a word pops up into reading ,they are on their toes to look for its meaning. However, such ways can never build vocabulary as you are bound to forget the word & its familiarity. It is temporary & an inferior method, even though so many people do it.

The right way

a.When you encounter a word, think of its meaning for few seconds, find all possible word roots or things it can mean. Then move on with your article.

b.When you meet this word again somewhere, you are more conscious to its presence & you are more aware of it.

c.It now has a stronger impact on you & it becomes clearer in a variety of context.

d.Eventually, new words would become old friends.

Reading tips

1. Always read with a sense of urgency, i.e. your main aim is to get into the passage, get the main idea & central theme-get out.

2. Reading slow is a habit not a maladroit, so it can be changed with practice. try this book – “how to read better & faster by Norman Lewis”. It is excellent for the cause.

3. You should try to evaluate, how the writer has structured the article i.e. which para’s are theme based, which are simply Variations, which are used for points & elaboration. If you can figure this out,It will boost your reading speed.

4.You should always challenge your comprehension by pushing your reading speed, it spurs alertness which leads to interest and hence a fast paced & concentrated reading.

5.Always remember that reading phrase by phrase & looking for ideas is more important than crawling around word by word for details, because the ideas & effect will eventually turn out together in the end & it will become clearer.

6.Always try to have a time constraint in your reading. Give yourself a stretch of two hours and do concentrated reading. If you’re giving time to your reading before going to bed, you are simply dabbling around. It’s important to set a good time for doing it like an activity.

7.A good reader will always have tools for reading, like an efficient artist with different brushes & pencils, he will gear up at peripheral & sub-ordinate para’s but gear down at central ideas &themes based para’s.bad readers just read everything with a same dumb pace & tone. They try to over-emphasize on word-relations that on an ironical note, leads to bad comprehension.

8.Remember, good comprehension of a piece of writing is not based on the keenness of your memory but on the clarity of your understanding.

9.Challenge yourself to read material on fields you haven’t explored before, it will make you a better reader. People who keep exploring their limits & fields are the ones that turn out to be most efficient in the end. You should break the habit of reading average fiction & choose the good stuff- non-fiction material, editorials of newspaper, good magazines e.g. harpers ,Esquire, the new Yorker, news-week, time, today etc.

10.If understanding of a piece of article is the vivid scene of a forests and the words & phrases are its trees. It is rightly said for a poor reader.

“they can’t see the forest because of the thickness of the trees”- them bad readers.

11.However, it is a habit & habits can be changed with applying yourself like a student & a will to improve. After all, you DO want to see the forest, it is actually beautiful!

being a reader

being a reader

godspeed.
vishu mishra

Being a reader- chapter 3/5

Let me tell my story to recapitulate the entire thing

I have a great love for English as a language- idioms, phrases, vocabulary, slangs,different verbiage, linguistics, semantics. one can’t fail to be a good and entertaining conversationalist if you pursue interest in all of these. Along comes a natural flair for good humor, personal observation for people’s behavior, their idiosyncrasies, their accent, their weakling as a recipe for protruding out their animated self & basically a central idea in my mind to create entertainment for people around me.

So often i have tried to engage my mental troubles to writing diary, creating couplets, writing short & long poems, even few articles on random topics. However, I was never a reader. You could ask me about any of the first three questions on world scenario, books, topics & I would give a nay shrug with personalized cussing tone & move towards outdoor. It is because I was possessed with the idea of real time engagement for e.g. sports, biking, running, hanging out with people etc. I could look at a book shelf for ages and still not get one familiar name from the shelf.

I was neither a voracious reader nor an omnivorous reader nor could I simulate myself and dabble around with a book. I gained my expertise by being out and living & everything written in books seemed second class. However, my only hook was my interest in writing and my love for the language, for which I miserably looked for self-help books on vocabulary, phrases, idioms, all those –‘how to?’ books.

As mentioned above, I had an acute problem with my concentration and passing the bookish books of college was itself a daunting task altogether. So, there was no shelf for other books. Now here’s an an interesting dichotomy, There are two kinds of people, first ones are runners and second are readers. Life needs a balance of both R’S, without which your overall development won’t suffice. I rated myself at 1 out of 10 on reading habits on the above (considering it an evaluation from my past).

Now the embarrassing part of the story
In College I could read nothing without great efforts, so I wasn’t reading at all with no efforts .To be in this position, you will feel that life turns stagnant in every-way. Your awareness of the world is through tv-news , which already morphs the real meat & present their meager work of self-cultivated reality-scenario for the medium class people. Your information is only through other people which to say the least, is again second hand & lacks credibility. Which finally means, if you haven’t read about anything nor known it from the source, how can you ever be sure of what you’re stating to other people.

In such a case, you will always hustle, you will give poker faces while asserting, you will try to master the art of word mincing, you will turn a consummate liar at points & an unabashed ego-debater with no grounds or substance. So, in a longer term, it knocks out your outdoor activities too. Therefore, talking about latest trends, technologies, and upcoming things is out of the window. You now depend on another person in the group to give some information & then you can add your worthless repetitions & junky variations to engage In a hollow conversation,which has no merits & rewards at its end. Therefore, you can’t belong to this category as well.

Finally, ideas maybe abstract but they are inspired from the working world, the simplest practical realities, you need to know the world in current age to evolve an idea that changes it. Therefore, you cannot belong to this section as well. So in the end, you are left & cornered in the first kind of people- you will talk about the gossip in college, neighbourhood, about people, about day’s events, about sensationalism, about scandals, which is to a lot of people on the acceptable terms. However, you are not even remotely on the refreshing talk, ever-growing personality, emotional growth, spurring ideas or even showing a fair level of intellect.

You are full of cliché’, borrowed phraseology, your bromide conversations put people to deep-sleep. Your platitudinous statements turn people flabbergasted to your audacious attempt at coolness. if you could guess it, these people are the average IQ people of the society, the ones who discuss ongoing scenarios are above average,very good and smart, the ones who engage in ideas and changes in the world are atop superior & even genius. If you adhere to the idea of IQ being an asset in life. It’s high time you jump to the second bracket & ‘being a good reader’ is the only hope.

Here are some tips that will surely help you in your reading

But before that, I have a word of wisdom for all the writer brethren. After all this radical transformation, I have had a revelation that has broken my solid foundations of negligence, it is a simple resolved notion that writing and reading go together. You must be a good reader to become a good writer. If you’re not ill-struck by god, with a disease causing bad concentration & still don’t get into any reading habit -then I can only sympathize with your ambitions to become a good writer, or your aspirations to develop an intellect or even possessing a great vocabulary for word usage. It is like a self inflicted wound, like a self- imposed curse to life.

For writers->always remember! That Grammar is the backbone of all expressions, so get it right, not the pedantic or puristic right but on a fairly acceptable & necessary terms. After that comes the connecting strokes & conjunctional patterns in your writing. Subsequently, your vocabulary & your style. So, reading can take care of a major part of it but don’t try to hold your nose the other way round. I have had lot of trouble in improving upon my grammar & connecting strokes because I learned my English without reading good stuff. So I was habitual in making very complicated mistakes – of grammar & connections. Such things can only go away with voracious, omnivorous & variety reading

being a reader

being a reader


godspeed.
vishu mishra