The Misjudged Criminal

“This country has gone to the dogs!” muttered the mechanic as he bent over my shiny bike.

I stood behind him and said nothing, boiling in the unseasonably hot weather that seemed to force every drop of water out of my body as sweat. I glanced at my watch and realized I was getting late for work, and the traffic would have built up to an impenetrable mass of steel and smoke by now. Bangalore on a summer morning is not for the weak-hearted.

“You’re lucky they didn’t rip this whole thing off. It’s a custom-made part and very expensive,” he said and continued to tinker with the bike, crouched so low that he was almost squatting. I asked him to hurry up and told him that I was getting late for work.

1 Year Earlier:
He knew he didn’t do anything wrong. He hadn’t meant to steal the diamond. He’d just found it lying on the floor next to the dead body, shining prettily in a pool of congealed blood. He’d picked it up, wiped it on his shirt and had tried his best to avoid looking at the corpse, which was stinking up the place a bit. Just as he had thanked his luck on finding a diamond as big as a gold ball, he heard the distinct sirens of an approaching police vehicle. He’d panicked and run in the wrong direction, almost directly in front of the two bright headlights that screeched to a halt. Two constables had jumped out, armed with their lathis and had yelled something at him. He hadn’t paused to think. He had just run.

He thought back on his stupidity as he ran down the deserted roads of Rajajinagar, past the Navrang theater. He could hear the running feet of the constables pursuing him, yelling at him to stop. They had probably just wanted to question him. He should have just stayed there and answered their questions. Who am I kidding, he thought bitterly. They would have just framed him for the murder, confiscated the stone from him and thrown him in jail to rot for the rest of his life. The cops in this city were notorious for their stupidity and laziness. I did the right thing, he thought, as he ran.

He picked up speed and decided to dodge the pursuers in the countless narrow alleyways that peppered Raj Kumar Road on either side. His heart sank as he heard the sound of the siren at a distance behind him. The police jeep had joined the pursuit! He looked around and saw a half-open shutter of what looked like a motorbike service center. He didn’t think – he ducked in and the darkness of the warehouse enveloped him. He could hear his heart racing madly as he stood still in the corner, in complete darkness, and worried that the cops would hear it too. He didn’t move a muscle and stood there for a long time after the running constables and the police jeep had passed the warehouse. He dared not move and go out again. He felt around him and his fingers found a blanket hanging from a wall peg. He snatched it off and draped it around him. He could feel the bulk of the diamond pressing up against his thigh through his trouser pocket. He clutched it tightly and made a decision that he would regret for almost a year.

Yesterday:
Midnight found him walking alone, dejected, shoulder slumped, clutching a half-empty bottle of the local whiskey. His whole life had been a series of missed chances and unlucky coincidences that had almost ruined him once. He still shuddered a bit when he thought back to that fateful day a year ago when he had almost been caught for a murder that someone else had committed. Every now and then, his hand went to his thigh where the golf-ball sized diamond had poked him – in his darkest dreams, he dreamed that he had the diamond in his hands and enjoying the wealth that it brought him. Not a day went by in which he kicked himself for hiding the stone in one of the parked motorbikes. The only thing he remembered was that it was an Avenger motorbike. He had hid the stone in a crevice of the engine and stepped out of the warehouse to make sure the coast was clear. He didn’t want to be caught with the stone in his possession in case a constable or two were canvassing the area. He had walked around slowly, ready to drop to the ground and pretend to be drunk and homeless at the first sight of a cop.

No one had been around. After about fifteen minutes of walking around, he had decided to chance it and had headed back to the warehouse to collect his precious diamond. He had stood in front of the warehouse, shaking in anger, cold, fear and the deepest despair, staring at the shutter that was now firmly closed and locked. In his panic, he had walked all around the building trying to find a way in, but in vain.

The next morning, he had been present at the warehouse door when it opened, and had been chased away by the security guard. He barely had enough time to notice that the precious motorbike that held his diamond was a black Avenger 220 CC bike with the registration number 9669, before he had lost it in the seemingly endless traffic of bikes and people that came in and out of the warehouse. He had taken up an all-day vigil across the street from the warehouse, waiting for the precious bike to be wheeled out, and he had decided that he would take his chances in broad daylight and try to remove the diamond from its crevice. All his hopes had been dashed by a fat man who rode off on the bike. He had seen the fat man riding the bulky motorbike through an endless stream of tears in his eyes.

He stumbled and fell to the ground as he remembered that fateful day and let out a wail of despair. He cursed God and everything that he felt like cursing and crawled on all fours in the middle of the empty tree-lined street, with only his shadows and the harsh orange street lights for company. He crawled to the sidewalk and sat down heavily, taking a swig from his bottle. As he lifted his head to drink, he saw the goddamn bike parked across from him. It was that bike! It was a black Avenger 220 CC bike, numbers ending 9669. He looked at it, his hand paused mid air and the whiskey pouring on his legs and onto the street, which he didn’t notice. He stared at the bike for a good, long minute and looked around to see if there were anyone else on the road. He dropped the bottle and scrambled hastily on all fours across the street to the cursed bike, grunting with anticipation and pain. He crawled up to the bike and his hands trembled as he touched it. Tears welled up in his eyes, his lips quivered as he cried, this time in joy. He seized the strange-looking engine part with both hands and ripped it apart. He looked longingly at the little golf-ball sized diamond that fell out of the crevice and sat in his palms. The engine part that he had ripped apart dangled from a few cables and wires, dripping petrol, oil and other fluids on the ground, and saw the man run away, whooping with joy and laughing hysterically.

Present Day:
“But why would anyone do that?” I asked, as I paid twenty rupees to the mechanic.
“Carburetors fetch anywhere between four hundred and five hundred rupees, sir,” he said. You’re lucky they didn’t steal it. They were probably interrupted by someone.”
“I guess so. Thanks,” I said, climbed on to my bike, and rode to work. The thought of someone trying to steal my bike’s carburetor angered me. The thought of negotiating the traffic in the heat of the summer put me in a bad mood. I just knew the day was going to be a long, bad one.

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Calvin And Hobbes: The Last One

He opened his eyes to darkness. He felt around with his hands and found the wall to his right, along which his bed lay. He groped around until he found a switch and flipped it on. Harsh white fluorescent light filled the room and hurt his eyes. Reflexively, he closed them and groaned. His head hurt – no, pounded from within, and it felt like a million sledgehammers threatening to break open his skull. He turned on to his side and winced as sharp points of pain pricked his joints and when he couldn’t take it anymore, he sat up. Still dressed in his clothes from the night before, he looked down at his hands and feet, wondering how he ever got home. The last thing he remembered was his tenth beer. There had been a lot of shouting, a lot of music, loud music, and a lot of dancing. He vaguely remembered throwing up somewhere, and sure enough, he saw the dirty yellow stains on his white shirt and blue jeans.”Shit,” he muttered, and swung his legs off the bed.

Standing in the middle of the room, he stretched himself and took a step towards the bathroom when he stepped on something soft and furry. He looked down at the old stuffed tiger he used to play with as a kid, and kicked it under the bed in anger. He had suffered enough because of it, and he had no intention of ruining his life further.

“Twenty years,” he said to the bit of furry tail still visible from under the bed. “Twenty years of my life ruined because I thought you were real. They stuck me in a nut house and asked me to swallow pills every two hours. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Then, calming himself, he took a few deep breaths and said, almost chanted, “You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He walked into the bathroom, showered, shaved and came out feeling refreshed. As he stood looking at his thirty-year old beaten, worn-out, pot-bellied frame, he thought back to the day in his youth when he had burned his parents alive. The tiger had asked him to do it. The tiger had said it would be a good idea. He had listened to the tiger and killed his parents. Pain wracked through his mind and he shut his eyes tight as tears rolled down his wet cheeks. “I’m sorry,” he said to no one in particular.He was different then, before the medication, before the doctors, before the black-outs…

When he turned away from the mirror, he was about to reach down to grab a shirt from the floor, when he stopped dead in his tracks. The stuffed tiger that he had kicked under the bed was now back where it had been. The single remaining beady eye and the empty socket where the other bead had been looked up at him in a cold stare, unflinching, as if daring him to talk. As if daring him to scream, to shout, to say something. He stared at the tiger, frozen in mid-step and too scared to do anything. He swallowed a large gulp of fear and said, “You’re not real. You’re not real. You’re not real.”

He turned away closing his eyes and shut both his ears with his hands, still chanting his mantra. When he stopped to catch a breath, he heard someone call his name from behind him.

“Calvin,” the voice said. “Why won’t you talk to me anymore?”

“No!” he screamed. “Don’t talk to me! You’re not real!” He still was turned away, now crouching near the wall, his head resting against the corner. “Shut up!”

“You think I don’t miss you, Calvin?” the voice asked.

“You’re not real. You’re not real…” he continued in monotone, rocking back and forth, drowning out the tiger’s voice.

“Of course I’m real. I’m right here. Turn around, Calvin.”

And he didn’t know why he did it, but he did. He turned, opened his eyes and saw the tiger standing there in the middle of the room. The tiger was smiling at him, standing on its hind legs, holding out its hands as if waiting for an embrace. Calvin took a tentative step towards the tiger, still confused and the madness showing on his face with no inhibition. “NO…!!” he screamed. “You are NOT real!” and he ran towards the bed-side drawer, pulled out a gun from inside and put it in his mouth.

He looked at the tiger’s eye and saw the tears rolling down to its cheek and forming tiny puddles on the floor. He was crying himself. He couldn’t stop the tears.

“Don’t do it, Calvin,” said the tiger, stifling a sob.

“I’m sorry, Hobbes,” he said and pulled the trigger. As the last shard of life left his body, he thought he saw a stuffed tiger lying at his feet. He tried to smile and tried to tell himself that the tiger was not real. He tried, in vain.

The Death Of The Knock-Knock Joke!

Fellow blogger and close friend, Scorpria, just killed the “Knock-Knock” joke!

For centuries, the Knock-Knock jokes have enthralled us and held us captive in their charm and wit and charisma, and total disregard for pronunciation, punctuation and common sense! They have never failed to bring a smile to our faces and laugh at our own ignorance! Now, the Knock-Knock joke is no more! There is evenย  a Wikipedia page dedicated to this great joke!

This was the conversation, verbatim, that occured on the 18th of July, at 4.59 pm.

Me: Hey Scorpria, mind if I tell you a great Knock-Knock joke?

Scorpria: Oh, not at all! I love them!

Me: Knock! Knock!

Scorpria: Come in!ย  ๐Ÿ˜€

…………

Doctors, please note the hour of death. Obituaries are called for, and may be deposited in the comments section.

Due to the gruesomeness of the murder, I also call for a discussion to decide the most appropriate punishment for Scorpria. Such murderers cannot be allowed to walk the streets scott-free! Also, please be noted that a motion has been passed to officially christen July 18th as the “Knock-Knock Day,” in loving memory.

Rest In Peace!

Image Courtesy: metal-archives.com

The Day I Almost Died…

Well, not exactly. But I came dangerously close to losing my life. ๐Ÿ˜€

I live a dangerous life. My job takes me all the remote corners of the city and more often that not, I end up rubbing the wrong people the wrong way. No, I don’t give back rubs for a living, but something close. Whenever I fail to make my clients look like God’s gifts to mankind, and end up looking bad in public, they scream bloody murder and run behind me with guns, knifes and swords, baying for my blood. A few days ago, I almost regretted being in this business. ๐Ÿ˜€

Everyone would probably agree that the word “jobs” does not mean “people”, literally speaking. This schism between the two words is enhanced if they are used in a sentence like this: “We’re offering jobs…” and “We’re offering people…” ๐Ÿ˜€

Journalism is losing its charm in this country and when this happens, the quality of people entering the field drastically comes down. Exceptions aside, all the new kids in journalism are very green, with loads to learn, starting with the difference in meaning between the two sentences above! When a multinational company’s CEO is quoted as saying, “We’re offering people…” I tend to get a bit nervous and fear for my life. The moment I read this quote in the paper that morning, I gulped and crouched under the table, and sure enough, ten minutes later, the hits started pouring in. ๐Ÿ˜€

“Whom do we offer PEOPLE to??”
“We offer PEOPLE??”
“What sort of a joke is this??”
“Where do you stay??”

and so on…

The CEO wanted me killed. The mafia had a gleam in their eye, wondering about who it was that encroached on their human trafficking business. The MD of the company wanted me killed. My friend, whom I was doing a favor by promising him a quote by the CEO of the company (it was technically his client) wanted me killed, fired and then shot. The bloody journalist was “not reachable” on his phone. ๐Ÿ˜€

This is the last time, I thought to myself, that I help out people outside my clientรจle. I’ll stick to my own circle and face the music on my own, with the number of people baying for my blood reduced by half, well under the panic limit. ๐Ÿ˜€