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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Clink to Crash


I love the sound of it.

It reminds me of the elegant men and women I see on movies who do it with fancy glasses sipping amber liquid. Try as hard as I might, I could never get that clink sound, in my bottles, I had tried it, even in the tea glasses, but the thickness of them always muffled the sound.

I could however get it here.

A small tap in the glass windows of South Ext colony; it was magic; a small tap was all it took, after I traced the contour using the pen Bhatti gave. The fancy burglar alarms and the imported glass, cut clean like a warm knife on butter, with just the “clink”.

This house was on my radar since a long time, but it was only today I got the necessary obscurity to sneak in. It was raining and mightily heavily, so obviously there was no power. And in absence of light I could become a shadow, crouching among trees, cars under over and across the side.

Crack boom………….echoed the thunder.

Hesitatingly I looked up only to see flashes of bright light. I wasn’t scared on sound or light, but the falling rain seemed thicker than usual and the darkness, damping and pervasive, almost like a coarse blanket.

I shrugged away all misgivings and entered in the room. It was immaculate.......spotless...a few drops of rain gleamed strangely in the flashes of light. I made way through the stairs, and reached down.

I could fathom a shadow moving.

I stopped. There was nobody in the house; the last family had left in one day, and under a cloud of muted whispers all around. Nobody had come after that. Some said it was because this place, it was the abode of spirits.

I gave an involuntary snort! It must be Kumar and Bhattis way of getting the house for cheap. They specialized in ripping houses, then taking them in for dirt cheap prices. Real estate was a profitable venture in Delhi.

The shadow, moved. I could only discern slight movements in the flashes of lightening. There was a flash of flame, and a couple of seconds later I could smell the sweet smoky smell of bidi.

Something told me, that this person was like me, a visitor of the night.

Slowly I stepped down the stairs, my feet sunk in water about an inch thick. I frowned, water down and none above; must be some leak. I had my punch in my hand. I did not like knifes, too messy. Punch did the job but thankfully and it did not cause much spillage.

Using the smoldering tip and flashes of lightening as my guiding lamp, I made way to the source. At an arm’s length, away is swung the punch for the coup de grace, when without warning the face turned t me

It was the face of a helper………..a Majdoor.

Sparse hair wet plastered on his forehead, dressed in a soaking wet half pant and an oversized brown kurtas……….. It was submissive. I reluctantly lowered my hand down and mimicked the other hand with the great Indian open palm gesture.

The reply was the great Indian shoulder shrug mostly coupled with the imperceptible back walk.

He mumbled without making any eye contact,” I am Bunty.I used to work here…for Pinkie memsahib ….”

Ok, but that still did not explain his presence in the middle of the night.

“She left in hurry; I was trying my hand at leftovers”

He was indeed the visitor of the night.

I relaxed; I had nothing to fear from him. In our world, trust was very high. A pundit would try to insult his counterpart and consequently be considered knowledgeable, a Dalal would try to undercut his customer and be called shrewd, a businessman would outmaneuver his competitors and be called savvy, but a thief always helps a thief. Why?

Because the entire world of good people are so united in fighting us evil people ……….that we all must unite to survive.

He turned the bidi’s towards me, I shook my head. He smiled knowingly, “I got lucky”, and held out a sleek black box with slender black sticks.

Indeed he was, they were all foreign I picked one and lit it with his bidi

The acrid smell of bidi laced with the foreign sweet flavor was like getting cute with a golden haired female using desi language.

I was curious, for he had said “Pinkie madam” and also “hurry”, and his story kind of coincided with Bhatti’s  version so far.

“Where are you from? “I asked.

“Saharanapur, been here since 3 years”

“What happened here?”

Pinkie madam was very pretty. She used to spend a lot of time dressing and going out, but pinkie madam was good to me.

Ok Mr. Pinkie madam let’s move on.

“Pinkie madam always wanted to be pretty. One day she was seized with a fear. It was the fear of not being pretty anymore; it was the fear of going old.

Suddenly this realization hit her hard. She sat stony faced the rest of the day, absolutely still. Towards the evening she stood up straight and walked off the house in a determined gait.”

Aha this story was getting interesting by the moment.

“Madam did not come back that night or the next. I was worried, I did not know what to do, sir was rarely at home and he did not like to be disturbed.

I decided to wait for one more day.

The following day madam came back sometime in the evening. She was looking her usual self, but more excited. She had with her a small girl too.”

I couldn’t help but notice an edge of authority creep into his voice. The change in Pinkie madam was ostensibly triggering a change in him as well. I was feeling uneasy; I slipped my punch back into my hand behind my back, just to be sure.

“Madame was nice to me as usual. The small girl was silent and had a passive expression on her face always. Madam took a bath, and then had food all the time ignoring the small girl. I did likewise. The girl seemed least bothered. She stood in the place madam had asked her to stand without flinching.

Madam then slept off. But she instructed me to give some food to the girl and then spread out a mat for her in the small room for her to sleep.

Soon it was nightfall. Madam woke up and instructed me to wake the girl and get her to madam’s room.

Madam then closed the door to her room abruptly.”

I did not like the story the way it headed; I tightened my grip on the punch.

“After some time I heard a scream, I ran all the way up and banged the door. Another scream echoed this time more piteous. I crashed my whole weight against the door and it gave away.”

There was anger in his voice.

“I…he faltered with the words and then said…madam was having a butcher’s knife in hand. The little girl was cut open like a chicken. Madam held in her hand a piece of red mass and her teeth were all stained red. She looked at me and smiled and beckoned me towards her. I walked close to her and she stroked her fingers across my cheek.”

“Bunty, I will now always be pretty” she said in a sing song voice and then she swung the knife again.

Again? I asked but she had already killed the girl.

Bunty did not reply. He stared the ground in silence.

I was shivering; the rain and wind had suddenly become chilly. Unmindful I noticed the water had reached up to my knees.

Bunty was still.

I shook Bunty roughly; he looked up in a flash, the face of the majdoor no longer his countenance.

He growled, and said, “Who said anything about killing”?

I swung my punch at his face with all my might. The pointed metal edges dug deep into his skull. I wrenched them of roughly hoping to hear the sickening crunch but none came. Instead the edges came out clean.

Bunty had a quizzical expression on his face, he felt his face, and to my horror the gouges were no longer there when he stroked his face with his fingers.

“Who said anything about killing?” He laughed maniacally and kicked me.

I landed flat on the on my back in the dank water. I spluttered and pulled myself up. Bunty was distant.

I said a silent prayer and crashed myself with full force on the mirrored windows.

Once outside I ran as fast as my feet would carry me.

Bunty’s maniacal laugh echoed in my ears.


Standbymind said...

Interesting man....

Karan Lekhi said...

Interesting but not typical Srikant Rajan BLOG!!!

Srikant Rajan said...

Hahahaha Karan!! Thanks for the feedback.I am myself trying to figure out what next so i guess the lost feeling may figure out in writes as well!