Sunday, November 22, 2009

It is weird what has happening with me since I came back; things are moving at a blinding pace. It seems a whirlwind has engulfed me within its bounds, and I do not know when it shall end. I can only hope it does!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Last Week in Hyderabad

Yes, its my last week in Hyderabad. It has been an interesting period of time. Was it well spent? I do not know. I learned a lot about people, life and much more. Most of all, I learned a lot about the art of movie making.
Anyways, I recently watched two telugu movies: Arundhathi and Sagarasangamam, both of which I would remark as good movies. More on that some other time. I am finally going back to Delhi. I hope I do regain contact with myself, something I lost in Hyderabad. God bless us all!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I have truly lost peace of mind working where I am nowadays; I wish I could just leave it all and run away from it all. But how long can I run away from life. everybody thinks of me to be arrogant; I was shocked to know the level of ignorance about me, and this confirmed my beliefs. People usually think I do not know what is going on around me, but trust me, I read the signs better than most people, and saw this coming. I just pray now that I get a decent job in Delhi, so that I can be spared this mental ordeal that I have to bear everyday here in Hyderabad.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I do not know what has happened to me here. The whole world seems to be a sad, piquant place, and a shadow of melancholy covers my mind, protecting me from the rays of the happy sun. God save me now; but I have to fight this sense of loneliness that just refuses to leave me.
Watched Raaz of Rajesh Khanna recently. My God does Rajeev Khandelwal look like Rajesh Khanna of those times!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Secunderabad Diaries

Its humid nowadays; the city is recuperating from the spell of intense heat that had been unleashed on it for a month and a half by the forces of nature, and is slowly limping back to normal. Today, I am all alone in the house, as everybody else has left for their personal work. The only person that I knew out of my office has gone to her home for three weeks, so I am trying to pass time by reading books of all kinds and watching movies and documentaries. I recently came across this documentary called "The Trials of Henry Kissinger", which I highly recommend for all those who claim to be intellectuals. The movie, though a tool for anti-imperialist thugs like the Communists, is an amazing expression of freedom, which I doubt if we shall ever be able to talk so openly about our 'great leaders' in such a critical way as well, even after their death.
Meanwhile, Hyderabad finally got a decent place in the form of GVK One at (you guessed it right), Banjara Hills. Its not opened up completely, but its worth the visit for sure.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Love

It felt strange for the first time
But yet it felt familiar
The sound of it was vague to me
And yet, somewhere it was similar

Similar to that of a thousand starlings in song
while I touched the daffodils in bloom
And the breeze blowing the hair of my face
Impishly playing with it
When I sit next to the window in my room

The words had a succulent taste to them
Made me remember the time I first sucked a Popsicle
And the juices playing with my taste buds
But it was heavenly like that; maybe more
Though you may call me fickle

There was a fragrance to the touch, as he
Raised my hand, and took it close to his heart
Like the fragrance of the first rain drops
That evoke such a mesmerizing scent
When they kiss the parched terrains.

His heart beat was fast, his hands were shivery
And yet, there was pleasure in both
As he said aloud to me "I love you Marie"
And my hands then went cold

"How can you play a trick like this?" I screamed
"Playing with the emotions of a blind girl?"
I picked my stick, and furiously waved it
As I tried to find my way back home

Just then, he yoked the stick out of my hands
And yanked me back towards himself
And before I knew what became of me
He was kissing me, and I lost myself
To him, as we kept kissing each other for long

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"I am Being Followed"-Chapter 12

I decided, after gathering some courage, to enter back into our office, where the editor and I used to sit and discuss; where my idealism used to clash with his sense of journalism. The last conversation is still haunting me deep in my heart, as I hear each word distinctly.

“You know what Sam, you are fresh out of college. That is why you can afford to think like this. Do you think the people really care with others’ feelings? We are all sadists, face it. The sooner you accept it, the easier it will be for you in this profession.”
“Fuck you man. How can you be so cruel? Even if they belong to the ghettoes or to the highest strata of society, they are all people. Civility, justice and moral journalism all demand that everyone be seen equal in their eyes; that they all are equally at the receiving end of the stick as much as they are the wielders of the same. Even if everyone becomes a sadist, I will be conscious enough not to be the same.”
“Cut the crap lady,” he spoke, as he squashed the cigarette that he had been sharing with me, for there was nothing left in it but a smouldering filter, “this so called attitude is all that is wrong with our profession. Who wants to read about poverty on the streets? No one! Who cares about substance abuse being rampant on the streets? No one! Who cares where this country is going to? Nobody! All they care about is the ridiculous shit that they called popular culture, the paparazzi and the shabby clothing. Our readers want to know who is divorcing whom rather than what the president said about healthcare. You do not like it, but that’s the unfortunate truth. Anything reported by us should not have any sense to it; who will pay our salaries in that case?”

And now, you were not there, which I realized only when I opened my mouth to counter your argument. You were not sitting there. It was only your memory that was stalking my mind. I walked out so as to be able to breathe, but even the smoke filled air of the city felt more like a poison to m soul, as I started walking back to my apartment. I had nothing else left to do; I had submitted my report to the junior editor, who was trying hard to put everything back to normal.
I was walking along the street amongst the milling crowds, as my mind began to wander along the route. What is this Stanley up to? What were his motives? Was he just another ruthless killer, out to take revenge for being stopped by a man who felt he lost against this guy? Why does nothing make sense? But does this society even try to understand what is going on? Look at these media channels, brazenly reporting their asses off, as if they are being great warriors of democracy. The first thing that should be banned should be the electronic media, for it is feeding so much crap to the masses who have become like dumbass couch potatoes thanks to their titillating coverage of basic facts.
Suddenly, I realized that somebody was following me. I turned around to see who it was, but in this anonymous crowd that is constantly moving around you, how can you see anyone? But how did I know that someone was following me, you might be tempted to ask. A woman’s instinct never lies, you see. It is our third eye, our sixth sense; what ever you may want to call it. But it is always awake, and when it senses danger, it warns us. If only more women listened to it.
I decided to walk over to the nearest telephone booth, and took out Maher’s number. While the number to his office rang, I kept looking around me nervously, feeling an invisible pair of eyes piercing through my body, scanning me to see what I was trying to do.
Finally, the phone was picked up.
“Maher here,” spoke up a gruff call.
I was relieved that he had picked up the phone. I started talking quickly.
“Sam here, Maher. I have no time to waste. I think he is following me.”
“Are you sure? Can you see him?” the voice sharpened on the other side.
“I cannot see him. How do I know if it is him? But trust me; I can feel him around me, as if he is staring at me continuously.”
“I’ll be there, but tell me where you are first.”
I told him the exact location, and heard his instructions to not wander far away, but to keep the crowds in between, so that he does not manage to reach you directly. I quietly agreed and put down the receiver. I stepped out of the receiver, and suddenly noticed a man in a cap and wearing a jacket standing at a distance. It had to be him; it could not be anyone else. My heart began to beat loudly, but I fought hard with myself not to allow this fear to creep up on it. I walked towards the public space, the cafeteria that was there, and sat down. A waitress walked up to me.
“Can I help you ma’am?” she asked politely.
“A latte please,” I ordered, which she noted down, and walked away, while I began to search for him around me.
Yes, he was there, maintaining the same distance that he had till now. He too was approached by the waitress, and she walked away soon, and he resumed his examination of me and my body, as if he knew every part of it better than me. I could not look at his face; it was far for me to notice anything. But the gaze; I could feel its steeliness pierce through my soul. What did I get myself into?
Suddenly Maher turned up. He was standing in front of me. His very presence was so reassuring to me, as a wave of relief swept my mind. He sensed my fear, and so talked to me.
“Is it him over there?”
“Yes.”
“Lets go then.”
Saying this, he began to walk towards Stanley, who sensed trouble, and began to walk away from his table. “Hey,” shouted Maher, as he began to run towards Stanley, and Stanley dashed away, leaving a large number of confused people behind. In this chase sequence, I joined in behind Maher. They ran across the street, and dashed across the various alleys, when suddenly he disappeared, leaving behind two panting figures.
“Did you get a good look of his face?” he asked me.
I replied in the negative, forcing him to clench his fists in frustration. Just then, a man walked up to us and began talking to Maher.
“Hello detective. Do you remember me? I work in the forensic lab.”
Maher shook hands with him. They began to talk, as he enquired about her health.
“So, how is she now? Any better?”
“She’s recovering right now. We are keeping every development secret. Its most important.”
“Where is she now? We wanted to meet her you see…”
“Sorry, can’t tell that to anyone.”
“Sad. I do not know how anybody could poison her with thallium so easily. Gotta go now, am getting late. See you soon detective,” saying which, he walked away.
He turned back towards me, and said, “Nothing to worry now.”
“What about after this? What shall happen to me?”
“Find a safe location for yourself, and lie low till everything sorts out.”
Saying so, he began to walk away.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Life is such a drag for me nowadays; I do not know what to do in this sweltering Hyderabad heat. It is so hot I feel a times that my eyelids are drying out if I do not take enough water any day.
I do not feel happy nowadays; not that I am sad; but I am in a zone of emotions where one is totally blank; where he or she does not realize what really is going on in the mind. I am trying to realize; perhaps it is part of the on-going process of understanding myself.
I have been reading Lokmanya Tilak's biography nowadays, and feel ashamed about the kind of life I am leading right now. This man had started a reputed college and school by the time he was twenty four; and here I am, rotting away in wait of my twenty third birthday. But one thing is for sure; I am close to realizing what I really want to do with my life. I just wish that I now can really gather the courage and strength to follow that calling.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hopes

Let there be light
Over the darkness shall it prevail
Let there be power
For the weak’s protection without fail

Let there be joy
To kill the sorrows hidden within us
Let there be poverty
For none shall be rich and mock others thus

Let there be food
For none shall ever go hungry
Let there be peace
For due to violence none shall be angry

Let there be no God
For in Its name no one shall die
Let there be no borders
For expanding which none shall try

Let there be smiles
That stretch ear to ear, and are genuine
Let there be doctors
Who never, ever run out of medicine

Let all people be blind
For colour, creed and race shall cease to be visible
Let all tongues be dead
For spewing venom then none shall be able

Let us all be dumb
For none shall judge the other
Let life take its normal course
So that sons cremate their fathers

Let greed be stymied forever
For then the planet shall exist
And the air shall be clean; the water shall be clear
And from creating pollution we desist

Tell me, is it too much to ask?
Or am I being just a hopeless pessimist?
Can mankind achieve everything?
Without losing anything,
Or as I believe,
Shall it altogether cease to exist?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Its hot nowadays in Hyderabad. If you ask around, people will patiently inform you that the weather is normal for this time of the year, and that it shall last till the end of April, when the pre-monsoon showers shall begin. I do not know about that, but for now, the heat is really getting to me for sure.
I have not been to some of the famous places yet. It seems surprising; in Delhi, I used to die to visit monuments; what has happened to me now? Sometimes, I wish I could force myself to visit the Qutb Shahi tombs or even go the Qutubuddin Sha dargah. But none of that seems to be happening at all. I am turning into what I fear the most; an inactive, pessimistic person.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

"I Really Love You"

I met you a few days back,
You seemed so odd to me.
There were changes in your look,
That did not appeal to me.

The hair was different, the ears had an extra piercing,
The clothes you wore seemed strange, the shoes were shimmering.
You were in tune with the others, not with me,
And I had thought, here was someone who understood me.

You asked me how it looked,
And I quietly smiled.
Not willing to hurt your feelings,
I said you looked just fine.

Your attitude was so different towards me
You seemed to shifty around me
As if I made you highly uncomfortable,
And that you did not wish to be seen around me.

You laughed in a manner that was totally fake,
You tried to stir up conversations with some intricacy.
And I tried to understand what was wrong today
Why you were hurting my soul pointedly.

What was my fault, that I was being treated thus
Were you ashamed of your "friend", as you had once said of me?
I felt embarrassed and guilty, for making you feel this way
But was it really because of me?

And I too, joined into the charade,
This game that we played in perfect harmony.
While within me, my heart wept silently
Mourning for her, her soul's demise.

But somewhere inside if me, somethings snapped
Was it respect for you, or your image in my mind that cracked?
My respect for you vaporized there itself,
As I saw you try to blend in with the new crowds,
While rejecting your old true self.
And rejecting people like our friends
Including myself.

Why did I lie to you?
Just so that I do not hurt you?
But had you not hurt yourself enough
By ignoring your true side,
In search of someone that was never you?

I thought I knew you
And I respected you for that
But now I think I was absolutely wrong
That you were never that .

That person with whom
I had fallen in love with,
And though I had not shared
What I had always felt for you.
I was glad that day
That I never said,
"truly, from the bottom of my heart
I really do love you."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Am Going Crazy-Chapter 11

I am going crazy. Nothing seems to make sense now to me. The killer is on loose again, and all I can do is while away, poring over clues on his target next. Will it be Sam, or will it be the forensic scientist again? What were his patterns; what were his trademarks? With age, I have also lost my ability to recall. But he is around us, or was. But is it enough to catch hold of him, and make him pay for what he has done?
Destiny is on his side once again. And here stand I, licking at my wounded pride that still exists after missing him on so may occasions. What is Stanley up to right now? Frankly, I don’t know. I don’t care as well, strangely. Once, I would have been all fired up, but today, I am totally distant with all that is happening around me? Is it my old age? Or has this line made me like this? Impassionate, distant, lost?
I was standing outside, watching an unconscious woman on ventilator, who had been administered a lethal dose of thallium. How could this have been done, without anyone even realizing what happened? And where did he get the poison from? Is he really hiding amongst us, or did he come and go in such a short time that we could not even realize till it was too late? How could I have allowed such a slip?
“How is she now?” asked Sam, as she walked in. “I heard the forensics woman was poisoned. Is it Stanley again?”
She was dressed in her usual manner. But something seemed different about her. The journalistic instinct was overshadowed by a sense of circumspection. What had prompted this change? Was it the threats given by Stanley that were shaping into horrifying realities?
“She’s critical for sure. The antidote worked, but not before the poison caused serious damage. If she passes through this time, she will manage well, or else we will lose one more person to this battle against hope,” I spoke, trying hard to hide the bitterness which was squirming inside me like a hydra, waiting to burst my chest and come out, spewing venom on everyone. I wanted to admit defeat; let me be honest to one and all, for I do not know how to play the diplomatic games.
She kept staring at me for some time, before she shifted her gaze across the door, wherein lay that poisoned victim. I, on the other hand, could not make any sense: there were no patterns unlike the last time, when he left for us a trail of evidence. This time…
“Don’t you think he is throwing a challenge to you? Is it as if he wants to meet you, and is leaving behind a pattern?”
Challenge? This was more than a challenge; it was pure mockery of me, my will, my frustration at having let go of him that night, and all that anger that had been piling within me for so many years now, it was waiting to burst forth on the next person I saw. But would it be worth it? I walked out of the building, with Sam following me. I lit a cigarette, while Sam lit hers, and we were smoking outside.
“When he killed her, she was alone at night time. She was killed with a knife. Then the editor,” she flinched with the recall of his body’s sight, “with a gun; and now with poison. What will be next? A noose?”
“Might be,” I finally replied, much to her relief, “but then when does he strike? This is something I do not know. Moreover, you are the next target for sure.”
She stared at me, with a look that meant to say “Tell me something I do not know,” but she still spoke up, “And what do you intend to do about that?”
“We need to give you a security cordon. But I am going to quit from this case. Clearly, I failed to catch him.”
She stared at me, and this time a sense of surprise clouded her face. “You mean to say you will not be there on this case anymore? But you are the only person who can catch him.”
“No I am not, else I would not have let him try and kill at least this woman in the first place,” I replied, with a tone of irritation tinging my voice, which took her off-guard, as she stared at me, while I began to walk towards my car. “Follow up on the victim. I want a report every hour,” I said, and stepped into the car, when she barged in deliberately.
I began to drive away, trying hard not to think, and instead concentrate on the road, which was unusually empty for this time of the day. But nothing was unusual nowadays; at least, not for me. I kept driving, and finally reached the headquarters, and soon stormed into the office of my superior, who was talking to someone.
“Can I talk to you alone?” I asked, and looking at my face, he asked the guy to leave, while motioning me to sit down.
“Yes, Maher, what do you want now?” he asked in a tone of total lack of interest, as though he was expecting me to storm in anytime now.
“I want you to relieve me of this case sir.”
The mug in which he was pouring his coffee nearly fell out of his hand, while he nearly choked himself on the doughnut he was eating. “What did you say?” he replied, having regained himself from the jaws of death in that instant.
“Precisely what you heard sir,” I replied with a measured composure in my voice.
“But what about Stanley?”
“What about him sir?” I asked him indifferently, trying to avoid any eye contact while staring outside the window behind him.
“You very well know what I mean Maher. You are the only one who can get him; you bloody well know that. Stop acting in such a sissy manner,” he spoke to me, trying to sound tough. “Plus, I am not willing to relieve you.”
“If I am so capable sir, then how in the name of Lucifer could he have poisoned the forensic scientist right under our noses?” I spoke, anger clouding my low tone, as I tried hard to hide my anger.
“You have lost it Maher. Do you even know what you mean right now? Since when did you feel so defeated?”
“Right after this poison was given to my soul by someone who mocked me so loudly. I failed totally to prevent the killer from attacking another person. He has killed so many, and what have we learnt so far about him? That his name is Stanley; that he has come back from the dead, and that . This is my achievement on this case,” I fumed loudly, creating quit ea storm in the office, which was now crowded at the door with people curious to know more about something that was of no concern to them.
“Calm down, Maher. If you think your screaming is going to get you relieved, then forget it; you are not going to be let off the case; not until you get me Stanley for sure,” scoffed my superior, and stormed out of the room, leaving behind a host of people who were now ogling at me, while I gnashed my teeth in anger.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Laaleshwari

“Welcome. You must have been waiting for a very long time, I believe,” she said to me. She walked towards me in the lounge, where I had been waiting for her.
“Not at all,” I replied, as I got up to shake hands with her. “In fact, for a minute I thought that I was late, for I do not wear a watch. My name is Rohit.”
“I know that, Mr. Mattoo had informed me previously. I am Laaleshwari Kaul. I was looking forward to meeting you. How is your documentary shooting going on?”
“Fairly well,” I spoke, as I walked along with her into the hospital, as she led me towards the infirmary. “How are you today?”
“Just as usual,” she spoke, as we went past one ward after the other. The day was very normal. “Boy,” I said, “It’s a bit chilly today.”
“You think so? I thought the weather was better than last week. It was really hot,” she smiled, as we closed in on the infirmary, which seemed a nice, warm and cozy building made of wood and stone. “Here is the infirmary. Do you want to go and have some tea first in my office?”
I nodded in agreement, as we headed straight towards her office, and she ordered some tea, while we began to talk.
“So, how come you are still in Srinagar, Ms. Kaul? I mean, when all the Pandits were being pushed out of the Valley, what made you stay back? Did you not fear for your life?” I asked, as we sipped the tea that had come in.
“Well, it is difficult for me to state the reasons. There were threats against my family as well. My father, in fact, was shot dead a couple of years prior to the mass exodus of the Pandits by JKLF men; what is ironic is that the very people who shot him dead are today pretending to be moderate separatists of the Valley. I do not want to indulge into any useless political talk; that is not meant for me. I am a psychiatrist; my job is to look after people who are suffering from mental disorders arising due to various reasons in this state. I can only talk about my patients and what is wrong with them.”
The tone was non-committal and asked me indirectly to talk about the things we intended to, not which made little sense in this climate of obfuscation and confusion, and where only bitterness and frustration ringed in the air; where anger was both the cause and the effect of all problems. I quickly rescinded my ideas, and gulped down tea. “So, what is the general profile of your patients?”
“Oh, there are numerous. Some are primarily suffering from some disorders, wherein they keep having recurring nightmares. Others are suffering from depression due to the trauma of missing or encountered husbands. Then there is also the case of women who have been severe victims of sexual abuse as children, and also of domestic violence. Also, there are patients suffering from amnesia arising due to shocks that they received.”
I was hearing what Laaleshwari was saying, and wondered as to what had been achieved with all the meaningless violence in this land that God had created with a lot of care and passion. Somewhere, it is said that humanity invites against itself due to its actions. But why should the target be the people who were not at fault? Why are the women and children the victims always, while the bloodshed continues unabated? Why do people love to incite passions, while conveniently ignoring the same when they become a spent force, and leave them to fend for themselves, while they sit in their plush homes, having hot tea and discussing ways to brew storms in their teacups?
“And how do the families of patients treat you?” I asked, “I hope I am not getting very personal with that question.”
“No you are not,” she responded with a smile and a puzzled look accompanying each other on her face. “You do not have to apologize for transgress that you have not committed. Of course, it is rare to see families of the victims, you see. It is considered a stigma to be a patient with mental ailments still in this country…”
“You mean to say in Kashmir?”
“I mean in the whole of India, Mr. Rohit,” she corrected me politely, “and so these people rarely get any visitors. And those that do are usually to upset to interact with me.”
“But you must have had some interaction that is particularly memorable to you,” I insisted, while picking up my tea, which had been served.
“Actually there is one. It involved this woman named Ayesha, whose brother was an ardent worker for the People’s Conference. Apparently, when he got to know that I was the head here, he had refused to admit her sister here in the asylum. In fact, I was threatened to leave the Valley altogether,” she spoke in an off-hand manner, which took me by surprise. However, the tone suggested that it was something that happened too often with her.
“And then? What happened then?” I probed on, curious to know the outcome of the incident.
“Do you know Mr. Rohit, what significance does the name Laaleshwari hold for the true Kashmiri?” she posed the question in front of me. I nodded, and said that I researched about the spirit of Kashmiriyat, and what it meant to the local Kashmiris.
“Its good to meet a Delhi person who at least knows his Nund Rishis and Laaleshwaris,” she commented sarcastically, making me feel a tad uncomfortable, which I hid, being reluctant to reveal a vulnerability in my understanding of today’s Kashmir. “I chided him with a quote of Laaleshwari devi, which translates thus:
Shiva's present everywhere.
Where lies the creek to distinguish
Between a Hindu and a Mussalman?
Quick witted if you are,
Recognise yourself and realise God !
And then, I took her away with me, leaving a horde of fuming agitators behind. Today, however, that man has left the Conference, and does follow up on his sister regularly. In fact, he is one of the few people who follow up on the patients here. He even apologized to me for what he had said that time. Of course, I never was angry with him, so the question of apology never rose.”
I was sitting there, with the teacup still in my hand, looking at this woman of substance, who had defied everything: the bullets, the death threats, the bombings as well as the bullying at the hands of such groups as Jamaat-e-Islami and Dukhtaran-e-Millat, only to emerge stronger than ever, with a clearer resolve.
Before leaveing her, I asked a question that still lingers in my mind to the extent of haunting me, “Do you see the Kashmiri Pandits coming back to the Valley? Or at least, would your family ever return?”
She looked at me with an expression that I could not translate. “Mr. Rohit, I am not a political person; I never was. All I can say is that I can perhaps live with all the security around me as is given to me. But do you think that three hundred thousand Pandits would confine themselves to these prisons in a country where their freedom is as much a birthright as it is to the Muslims, and where they are equal stakeholders in the Valley as the others are? Should they live all holed up in the lands where they were born, and die that way? They would rather die in a foreign land than die as prisoners in their own homeland. Have a nice day.”
Soon, I was led away to see the women who were suffering from various kinds of ailments, and yet who share one thing with perhaps all women across the world: that they are victims.

I could not make the documentary. I quit that project after I returned to Delhi. I was too disturbed with all that I had seen in that sanitarium, and do not even wish to discuss that day with anyone. Suffice to say that is was something so bad, I get nightmares on that. However, I will never forget the woman of steel whom I had met that day. I pray to God now that the fate of Kashmir and its people is decided with voices like hers, and not some gun-toting or screaming lunatics. Also, I pray that the Kashmiri Pandits may one day be able to return to the land they can truly call their home. But the second prayer will not happen in my lifetime; I am sure of that. And perhaps, even Laaleshwari is certain on that, For honour is dear to all human beings, and Pandits today would not be granted that by anyone in the Valley.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"I Have Been Poisoned"-Chapter 10

And I was brought back into action for inspecting another body. It feels strange sometimes that all I do is to tear up some already torn, mutilated or rotting bodies for a living. But that’s what people do; some kill for a living, some bury them. Me; I just inspect them to ascertain reasons of death.
I was looking through this body, which was relatively neater than the others, when my second assistant came in to say that Maher had come in. I was perplexed; Maher had not met me for several months now. What could he possibly have to do with me now?
I instructed him to ask Maher to wait, while I washed my hands at the sink, and moved out of the room that should also be called “The Museum of Death”.
Maher was there, waiting for me besides the lonely window that was the only source of natural light for my room, and seemed a bit lost, when I entered in. “So,” I spoke directly, “what’s up? What brought you here?”
He turned around to look at me. Those piercing eyes conveyed a sense of frustration that meant something, but I could not understand that. “Is everything alright?” I asked, curious about this strange turn of events that was playing itself out like a c-grade suspense thriller.
He sat down in the chair, while I sat in mine, and what followed was perhaps the longest pause, the longest moment of silence that could have ever been possible. They say something about the theory of relativity, and how time is relative. Well, in our case, the relative frame was perhaps stretched to infinity, for the momentary silence became unbearable, as the smoke rose in whirls from his burning cigarette, which he did not take all the way to his mouth for some time, perhaps trying to figure out what he should say to me, or perhaps how he should say something important to me. Eventually, he gathered some nerve to say it.
“Do you remember Stanley?”
I was stunned into a moment of contemplation. What was the point of asking about someone who is already dead? A whole set of ugly scenes began to roll in my mind, slowly like a movie projector slowly unwinding a reel, only that this reel was not wanted. I was recalling some scenes that I did not want to. “Well,” I said finally,” what about him? He’s dead, isn’t he?”
Maher made an expression that could never have been positive in spirit. I began to feel weird. What did he mean with that?
“I am afraid he is not. He is very much alive, and has committed two murders.”
My head began to spin for a second. How could that have been? He had been washed away in that horrifying flood, as if nature wanted to remove the filth that crawls about on its surface forever. And yet, even nature did not manage to beat this insect’s resilience. Why? I began to think, while fidgeting with my pen, and stared outside with so many questions racing in my mind. Maher looked at me with a bit of concern. It was obvious, for there was a lot of history between me and Stanley. And this was nothing but a matter of concern for a police officer past his prime, and an autopsy woman who did not want to carry on.
“I fear that he will target you, very soon. I do not know how, but he will do that, sooner or later. I think we should build a safety net around you, so that nothing happens to you,” spoke Maher, who was crushing the cigarette that he had not smoked at all. “That’s the best we can do for you right now.”
“That is the best you can do, Maher,” I spoke in an absent-minded way, for I was far, far away from the entire scene, and was recalling what had happened so many years ago, which had the power to make me sleepless on some nights still. How can I forget that night, when he had tried to kill me, and had it not been for Maher, I would have been dead?
You may be surprised at all that is happening here, but let me tell you; there is a history between me and that killer. He almost had me the last time, and somehow the thought of that night is making my stomach churn. Or is it something else, I began to wonder, as I experienced a searing pain rise in my stomach. I was surprised. My periods were far away; then what was this?
Suddenly, the horror dawned on me, as I fell out of my chair, to the shock of Maher, and began to writhe. “What happened?” he asked me, agitated with all that was happening here.
“Call the ambulance. I have been administered poison,” I managed to speak, and was soon losing consciousness, while sounds kept drifting around me, of Maher calling the ambulance, and of that night I want to forget.
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I am hiding behind the bed, while Stanley is moving around in the house, plodding his heavy feet on the wooden flooring of my house. My breathing is getting heavier by the minute, which I am trying to relax, but how can we relax in such a tense moment, with the rush of adrenalin in my system taking me on a nervous high, while I hear his footsteps get closer with each passing moment?
Suddenly, I hear the door of my bedroom clicking. I scamper to hide myself under the bed, while Stanley’s feet keep moving around, right within my sight, much that I do not want to see it. He is toying around with me, I know that; and there is nothing that I can do in turn to save myself; I can only bide my time.
Just then, someone stormed into my house, and then, a medley of footsteps march in, while I can still see nothing more than feet, and hear the voice of Maher, seeing whom perhaps Stanley is now trying to find a way out of the room….
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I opened my eyes, to see myself on a ventilator to allow easy breathing. Maher was there, along with some woman I had seen somewhere…ah, that journalist, whose photo came in the paper. I look at them, while Maher spoke to me very quietly,
“You had been given arsenic.”
Hearing this, I just began to drift out of consciousness again, much to the chagrin of several unknown faces and voices that I managed to notice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Confessions of The Murderer-Chapter 9

Am I crazy? Maybe. Can you call me lunatic? Probably. Can you say that I killed her? Most certainly.
Does it matter to you why I killed her? It does, though you were in no way related to that woman. That scum was rightly killed. She was aware of her beauty, and was ruthless in taking advantage of it. The woman was a blot on how society should be. How can anybody use something advantageous about them to create havoc like that?
What about the editor, you may ask. What wrong was he doing? I’ll tell you what wrong he was doing. But how can you understand what wrong he was doing. You people are the same ones who were complicit in his crime. You are the same people who were reading that salacious gossip that the newspaper “The Daily Star” was belting out. The trash was absolutely unacceptable; it was crass and vulgar, just like that woman (what was her name? Yeah, Dawn Jones) How could he have done that?
I still remember that night and the rising waters, as me and Maher were struggling to stay afloat. And that son of a bitch was not even to let go of me, even if it were to mean the death of both of us. I was running out of air, and my lungs were filling up with water, as I felt its pressure on the walls of my lungs. Damn him, I was thinking, and was almost ready to die there, when all of a sudden I realized that Maher’s grip was loosening. I was stunned, and almost motionless for a while, even as Maher completely let go of me, and the current carried me away to which place, I cannot recall, for I woke up after a long time, not knowing where I was. But now, I am back.
Do you want to know my name? Does it really matter? Anyways, since you are curious like all other human beings, that human nature is, my name is Stanley. You can just call me Stanley. There is no need for you to go all crazy. Where am I hiding; that would be your next question. I would not like to reveal that to you, else my mission would not be fulfilled. Don’t worry, mon cher. All of you would be impressed to know that I am closer than all of you think. I have already made my appearance, and have also made my presence felt; it’s for you to figure out where. I am trying to hide around, but keeping a track on what Maher and that journalist bitch of his are up to. She is helpful, that Young. She is made of sterner stuff, or knows how to hide her emotions well, for I did not hear any shrieks or gasps when I told her about her beloved boss’ murder. Only silence greeted from me, followed by that oh-so-journalist spirit, which starts to question you even before you realize it. I did not give her time though, just like I gave no time to her editor, who could not even scream when I shot him through his head; somehow screams do not gel well with the daytime, and so I decided that this death should be instant. And so I went into his office, and pumped bullets into his body. How come no one came to know about it? Because no one was around; it was lunch break, you see. People love it whenever they get an excuse to get out of their seats, and disappear, only to appear at a time that they find convenient. This guy was gorging on something he had ordered. What was it? How does it matter, anyway? What matters is that he is dead now, and that I have committed yet another murder.
How come Maher did not recognize me, if I am so close to him? Isn’t that question burning up your souls, you curious cats? I do not look the same. That flood had left me so disfigured that I had to go for a new face. But let me tell you, it was not a happy experience, and this is not some cheap third-grade soap going on here, where the villains get to torment the protagonists. It was a painful experience, all thanks to Maher, for which he will pay in many ways.
Who am I going to murder next? How long will I keep doing this? What will I achieve? Patience, my friends; be patient, for the roots of patience are bitter, but the fruits are sweet. How can I do something like this, without letting Maher know, without giving him any hints whatsoever about what I am up to next? It would be unfair to him, for try as much as he did not to, he did go of me, to give me freedom once again, and as a good human being I have to repay that debt as well. It is just that there is that woman, that Sam Young, who is putting in a spanner in the works, and creating a mess that I do not want. The matter is between me and Maher; why the hell is she dawdling around here? Anyways, we will soon find a use for her, won’t we, dear readers? But Maher has to be careful, for I hold the cards once again, and have the winning hand, so he better play well. All the best, Maher.
I am a crazy lunatic, that’s what your impressions about me, isn’t it? Maybe you are wrong; maybe you are right. Even I am not sure why I am killing people here; its just that I like to see blood stream out of dead bodies.

The Economic Slowdown Needs Immediate Address

The Buck Stops With the Duo (Courtesy: Bloombergquint) The fracas in Maharashtra notwithstanding, things are at a critical juncture ...