Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2nd Chance...?

My daughter narrated an incident from school, about how an innocent guy in her class was victimized by some bullies - and how the class teacher came to his rescue.

Reminded me so much of this story I'd written a while ago... :)


********


It was late. And the play wasn't anything to write home about. And in any case, Damodar had gone there to please Suchitra (Suchi for her friends), who'd pestered him to buy the damn tickets.

"Please, Damu. For me?" She'd implored, with those beseeching eyes he'd fallen in love with silently, over the years.

"But.."

"Please Damu. It's for the eye-camp."

A beat...

"Eye-camp?" She'd repeated, looking him in the eyes.

He'd handed out the hundred bucks in silent resignation. Money-mindedness was the last thing he wanted her to guage him with.

Now he walked across the dark street (no street-light as usual, he noticed), and reached the main road that connected the grid-separator and the alley towards his home. Suchi had decided to stay back to help her friends change. She was one of the organizers anyway, so well..it made sense.

They were through with college a few years back, and still lived in the same neighborhood, but he couldn't muster enough courage to convey his feelings to her.

"Loser," Amit, his pal since first year, had hissed, as Damu silently watched that idiot Pritam whisk her away from under his nose. He hurried his steps as the memories bobbed up and down his head. Pritam had joined a year late, but was more popular and had even won the affections of Suchi. It was almost like those 'good-boy-loses-girl-to-smart-hero' movies he'd seen so many times. And here he was, his life an almost identical replica of...

Bang.

He turned his head. Fine time to burst crackers.

Bang... again.

Behind him. He turned and saw some commotion on the main road. A wail. Some shouting. He was in the alley now and hastened, his heart beating faster. Then he heard someone running into the alley. Behind him. And then a car turned into the alley, following the runner.

Bang. This time it deafened him and he lunged to the ground. He thought he'd been shot at. But no, it wasn't him. He looked up and right behind him, the runner was lying on the ground. Two guys stepped out of the car and pumped two more bullets into him and hurried into the car.

"hey, who's that?" A voice inside the car demanded. Then a command to shoot him also.

Damu started running. A bullet whizzed past his ears and entered a tree. His mouth all dried up, his first thought was - I'm dead.

He turned into a cross road. A voice inside his head commanded him to head into the construction site on the side; without thinking he ran inside and ducked behind a pillar. A few seconds later, the car stopped outside. A few muffled voices. "...probably hasn't seen us. Cannot identify us.." were the all-important words he heard. Oh please, make them go away, he prayed. Then the engine died, sending a wave of panic again. The doors opened and slammed shut. He quietly hid behind sacks in the inner room of the house.

"Come out, you rat," they were speaking in the local language. He wondered how many of them were there, in all? Probably four. Maybe he should just talk his way out. Then another voice in his head, "don't be a fool. They are here to kill you, and they'll do it anyways. Talk or no talk. So just be quiet."

Scuffled footsteps entered the room.

"You think he's here?"

"Let's find out. But first, ask these guys to move. We don't want cops welcoming us outside."

The other guy left and a moment later Damu heard the car come to life and drive away.

Just then the caretaker of the site walked in, sleepy. "Who?"

"Your in-laws, just shut up." It was obvious the caretaker had seen the gun, for he didn't speak after that. The second guy walked in again.

"Find him," commanded the first guy.

"Who...who's here, sir?" The caretaker squeaked.

"None of your business."

Damu couldn't believe he was watching a harmless play only an hour back, only to be facing his death now.

A hand moved the sacks.

"Just pump a bullet or two into all the sacks. That's how you kill rats."

Damu offered a silent prayer, thanked his mom and dad for everything, expressed his love for them...and thought about Suchi. "I love you, Suchi," he said in his mind. There. He'd said it at last. And having said that, he suddenly wanted to live. He didn't want to die like this. He'd been a loser all his life. He couldn't die without first proclaiming his love for her. Maybe things could indeed be worked out by a cordial talk. He stood up.

"Ah..there you are, you rodent" smiled one of the guys. He couldn't see them clearly but they looked like they meant business.

"Look..please leave me. I..I didn't see anything."

"Oh yeah? You think we're fools."

Come to think of it, they were..wondered Damu. All they had to do was do their job and scoot. Why the hell did they have to come after him? And now he'd really seen them. And he had to die for that. Drat.

"Look, you could've just gone away. I was shit scared anyway..Please.."

This made them think. Just then, two loud 'thungs' like a tuner fork rang in the air..and the two guys were lying on the floor. The caretaker was standing behind the gangsters, with a flat iron rod.

"Quick sir, go call the police. I'll tie them up."

"Yeah...ok..uh..hey, that was quick thinking. Thanks. But...are they..dead?"

They bent down and checked. They were alive. Damu sighed with relief and ran out.

*********

"Construction worker helps nab two dreaded gangsters. Saves possible victim's life."

Damu read the detailed report, his name and all...folded the paper and leaned back in the sofa..closing his eyes, with gratitude, and some guilt. He was sure Suchi would've read the report. He sighed again. Maybe he should've taken those bullets after all...

*******

10 comments:

Reflections said...

The story was engrossing:-)!!!!

But why guilt????

Neha said...

Didn't understand the last part. Was it 'coz Suchi would think of him a loser again?

Nice story though..kept me hooked as always :)

Bikramjit said...

phew lucky escape that one ..

but as others why wud he want the bullet .. he helped in catching two gansgsters.. bravo and good of the caretaker ...

Bikram's

Mirage said...

Fantastic narration. I liked the close escape of Damu. His last minute thoughts and feelings..it was very well penned. :)

Red Handed said...

Just sooo lucky Damu is to get away from it! Close escape I must say..
Nicely narrated

Tongue-fu Lady said...

I can't imagine a start for a new year better than this..its great reading your blog again :)

phatichar said...

Reflections: Thanks..

The guilt..hmm, well, what can I say - for the mess he created, for himself and the poor worker? Donno, really what I thought when I wrote that.

Neha: Yes..just another nail in the coffin of his 'hopelessness', I guess

Bikramjit: 'better take the bullet than have her read this report' types. He has own inner demons to handle, you see.

Mirage: Thanks dear.. :)

Red Handed: Thanks..yeah...he escaped one incident, but don't think he wanted to face the one following it. Such is life, no? :P

Tongue-fu Lady: Welcome back!It's great having you here again.

lilac said...

wow interesting story!

sumitra said...

Very interesting narrative. Gripping, really. Awesome job, yet again. Do you write film scripts? If not, you certainly should.

phatichar said...

lilac: Thanks :)

sumitra: thanks..yes, i've written a film script - no takers yet (unfortunately the industry doesn't just work on talent and perseverance...u need pots of luck as well, not to mention Godfathers ). thanks for the kind words.