SATYANWESHANA

Prologue

Circa 1983

Till yesterday, rains were lashing all around the city disrupting the normalcy of the people. In this particular locality, half the time there was no electricity and the households which could afford a television were slowly losing their celebrity status. But there were a few loyalists who frequented these homes even when during rains, to be a part of this solemn occasion.

Today, the entire city woke up praying to ensure there would be no rain, and by afternoon, the weather took a turn for the better. The sun was shining through the dispersing clouds.

The offices and schools were shut, there were hordes of people gathered around these celebrity households and other important places where the services of the radio could be availed. There were a lot of oscillating voices expressing anguish, exasperation and joy. After a couple of hours, there was an uncanny silence that engulfed that entire locality. It was the last ball of the 52nd over and Michael Holding was facing Mohinder Amarnath. The next moment was something no one ever expected and many couldn’t actually believe.

India had just achieved the unlikely, with a win over probably the best team then.  People were rejoicing and that particular moment was a small victory for every one of them who were running  around the streets distributing sweets and even more for those optimistic people who had stocked up crackers. It had been quite some time  since India unified in such large numbers. All the sadness, enmity and hatred were forgotten momentarily.

The sky was glittering and the world seemed happy through the eyes of the kid who was looking at it through his window. He then turned his gaze down the streets where the actual celebration was happening and silently cursed his Baba’s convictions.
Baba was a pious man with a standing in the society and he believed that movies and sports were the two evils from which children had to be protected. He didn’t want them to be distracted from the goal of uplifting their families from its prevailing middle class existence. The kid looked back longingly at the wisp of smoke that was left by the cracker that just almost reached the moon and walked up to the terrace to pick up the clothes left there for drying.

The kid was livid with his Baba, he jumped down the ledge and went down the alley behind his house and lodged himself in his favourite spot. A place which no one else knew and was concealed enough to escape from his parents when they were angry at him, which was any moment now. He settled himself snugly in that excuse of a crevice and was looking at the still river that was not the least affected by the turn of events.

Amidst all the revelry and cacophony, the sound of a departing soul went unheard, but unfortunately not unseen. The blood had formed a small puddle and there were splatters all over the walls with a couple of drops trickling down the brows of a kid who no longer was one. He was uncannily rigid, his eyes reflecting the crimson of the blood and the unnerving calmness of the river

 

Circa 2015

He woke up with a startle clutching his gun tightly and ran it over his forehead wiping the sweat, lingering on for an extra second over his brow while he locked eyes with his next victim.

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