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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Personal Journey - Another Story

I have been told by my good friend C M Reddy to forget about Innovation, Entropy and all the blah blah and concentrate on writing stories - he said this after reading my story Ambition

Well, I will definitely think about it.

Meanwhile I am posting the second story from the book Bhelpuri Thoughts (The book is still being written by the way :))

MURDER (Story written in 1994-95)

This story is not real. But the characters did exist in the real world. I am going to talk about three persons – all three came in my life at some point of time or other but were not linked in any manner with each other. Yet my mind always links them together.

First character is a girl. She used to serve us tea in a shabby shed near out hostel. Actually there were many sheds in a row parallel to the road. The road led to the main market. These sheds have cropped up on the road over the years because of the need of the hostel students to have some meeting place. In each shed a middle-aged person used to make tea and his or her children used to serve it. We used to go to those sheds. The girl’s shed was in the middle. She was very fair – her face was full but she never smiled. Her forehead had vertical lines – the lines were in the area between the two eyebrows – those lines were always there, indicating continuous tension. She looked permanently tensed. Her feet were large. By continuous work and walking around throughout the day near the dirty sheds her feet were broken at various places – yes broken – they were torn – her age would not be more than eighteen yet she looked more mature. She always wore a very light colored suit that was always very neat and clean. We students regularly went to those sheds, sit there, take our tea, read the local newspaper – talk among ourselves and come back to our hostel. We never really gave any importance to the girl. She was there but for us her existence was immaterial. I don’t know her name but we will call her Rani for our story.

The second character is Inspector Loha Singh, a six-footer, with jet-black moustache and with a head built like a battle tank. Hairs on his head were small and were always standing up like the thorns of a porcupine. The thorns were always shining as he kept them well drenched in the barrels of mustard oil. He always carried an iron rod. It was rumored that he was very strict. His name was Loha Singh as he was known to beat the criminals or who so ever is considered a criminal with the iron rod. It was rumored that he had killed many people in the lock up but because of his political connections no action more than his transfer to another police station was ever taken against him. He was the most corrupt police inspector one can think of, the whole city was in awe of him - some liked him, many didn’t. We students, had heard about him – he never really mattered for us – we knew that he existed but he was immaterial or us.

The third person is the most interesting one. He was black, very thin and mad - completely. Hairs on his head were small. His madness was almost harmless. During the winter season he used to roam around the roads without his clothes. On any bone–chilling morning he could be seen jumping only quirkiness was that he would always be without any clothes. We always passed him without giving much attention. During summer days, of course, he would be wearing a warm three-piece suit with a matching black tie. It was unbelievable. Some times we discussed amongst ourselves that may be his mind has lost the sense of season – and it believes winter is summer and summer is winter. These discussions invariably were limited till we pass him; afterwards we never discussed him. His name will be Kalu for our story. While going to the tea-stalls where Rani’s tea stall was also there, we would always meet Kalu – either while standing at a place and brooding over God knows what; or running to and fro between two points.

It was a summer evening; the state elections were to take place within few days. We were sitting in Rani’s tea stall. Evening was very beautiful. Everywhere election candidates were the hot topics. Every one was discussing the possible voting pattern. We were also sitting and in between the tea sips we were talking about that Gopi Gajanand will win the elections. He had good support and it was clear that his opposite candidate would have very difficult time. Radio at the Rani’s tea stall was singing some old Hindi film songs. Suddenly a police jeep came and stopped, four constables armed with rifles got down from it. Then Loha Singh got down. He came out very fast. His huge body came up to Rani’s father who was putting tea in the glasses and he slapped Rani’s father, “Where is that Bastard?” “Tell me, You Dog’s Son, now you will know the meaning of supporting a terrorist”. We were stunned. We didn’t know that had happened. I went up to Loha Singh & asked what has happened. Loha Singh “you don’t come in this; this is not your business”. His son in law has killed Gopi Gajanand Sahib today and he is hiding him. Rani’s father was shocked and pained, folding his hands and with tears in his eyes he said “No Sahib, I don’t know. My son in law can’t do this – I don’t know what you are talking about – Sahib”. Loha Singh slapped him once more “Today, your son in law threw a country made bomb on Gopi Gajanand’s rally and he was killed and I know who has given you money to do this you bastard”. Loha Singh slapped him twice. Rani’s father fell and his face hit the corner of the wooden bench – blood started pouring out and he lost some more of his remaining teeth as well. Loha Singh pulled him up by holding his hair and asked “tell me you bastard where is he or you will be killed” and he hit Rani’s father with the iron rod in his hand. The strike was very powerful and definitely some bone of his arm must have broken with the hit. He fainted.

Suddenly Rani came running and threw herself on Loha Singh” and shouted” you pig, you dog why are you doing this to us. “She leapt up to Loha Singh face and clawed his face with her nails”. We were stunned the peaceful face of Rani was contorted into bitter rage as she scratched Loha Singh’s face. Loha Singh threw her down “ and barked” you bitch, what do you think, you will be saved – you are bastards and will remain bastards only – you bitch “ Loha Singh slapped her once more and then said to the people around, ” This girl’s husband has killed Gopi Gajanand today – and I am going to take all of his family into custody. They are terrorists; they should be treated like dogs – yes like dogs “…”. He could not complete the sentence. Rani had suddenly sprung up and with a roar of a lioness she plunged two iron rods lying nearby into Loha Singh’s enormous stomach. Blood erupted out of his uniform. His face was shocked and we all were stunned by what has happened – Rani didn’t stopped at that, like a cat she poured the kerosene from the kerosene jar and lighted Loha Singh – Loha Singh started burning – his enormous frame was burning – and she was shouting, crying and laughing simultaneously. Suddenly two more police jeeps came and sent us onlookers back to our houses.

Later, we heard that Rani’s, her father and her husband were arrested and will be charged with murder.

After many weeks we went back to the tea stall. We talked amongst ourselves and I don’t know why I asked the tea stall owner “where is Kalu these days what has happened to him”. He said “you don’t know Babu; He was arrested by the police”. I was surprised and asked him “on what charges could a mad man be arrested” He said for killing the party candidate. I said killing the party candidate. I said what do you mean - Rani’s husband killed Gopi Gajanand. He very calmly said “yes, Kalu is Rani’s Husband, babu”.

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