Tuesday, May 24, 2011



He opened his eyes, slowly. Things were a nebulous wreck in the beginning. But they were coming back to him. The streets- the strangers- the buildings… The police station. (PART 3)

Shravan looked at the creaking old-fashioned ceiling fan, full of dust, hanging there, doing everything else but that which it was suppose to do. He heard someone say- as though from a far-away land- “He’s awake”! He sat up and looked around. It was not a police station as he’d seen in movies. The movies, had clean pictures of famous leaders like Gandhiji, Subhash Chandra Bose and a few other people whom Shravan did not know. There was a hero- who spoke the language of honesty. He fought for justice and had a beautiful heroine singing songs about him. This was nothing like that. This was the real one. The dirt, the disgust. There were real people around.

“You- you there! Are you dumb or what? Can’t you hear”? He heard someone yelling.

He looked around and saw a hefty police man, with a big mustache. Dark. All the meat in him, Shravan could tell, did not come through the honest means. Honest money could never feed a belly that big. He could be a villain. But definitely not a hero in movies, Shravan felt himself thinking.

“Come here”! said the hefty police man. And Shravan felt himself obeying.

“What’s your name”? demanded the inspector.

“Shravan.. Shravan Kumar, saab”

“Where are you from”? Though, the inspector appeared least bothered about the details that he was about to hear.

“Kashi”, replied Shravan.

“Ran away from home? Did you steal anything”? Shravan felt- may be this was what it meant to be a police.

“No saab. Just wanted to see the city” replied Shravan, looking at the inspector, uncertainly.

“Hmmm…”- the officer appeared to be in a deep thought.

Sometime later, the officer spoke again, “You hungry”?

Shravan did not know what to say. This was the first time he was coming across this question in the city. The officer called out to a constable and made him bring Pav and tea for Shravan. Shravan had his food- his first taste of the city- in those murky corners of the Police Station. The officer did not seem concerned about Shravan anymore. He appeared busy- beating up a few petty thieves, signing papers. May be he was wrong. May be the officer did want to help Shravan. He went up to the officer once he was done with his food. He was not sure what he must say to the officer. He stood there- looking at the officer. The officer looked at him closely, for a few minutes, and then spoke-

“I am Inspector Sinha. I. P. Sinha. I run this place”.

Shravan did not reply.

“I want to give you one advice that I want you to remember for the rest of your life”.

The inspector came closer to Shravan. Shravan did not feel intimidated. And Sinha almost whispered- as though he was initiating Shravan about the secrets of the world- he spoke:

“Food- never comes free”.

Sinha let his words sink into Shravan and then continued.

“You will do a job for me. I’ll pay you well, have no doubt”, said Sinha.

Shravan understood that he was not supposed to deny. So he asked, instead- “What job, saab”?

Sinha looked at him- smiling to himself as he said, “For a few months from now on, you will not be Shravan. Your name would be Bhanupratap. And you will remain here, in the lock-up”…

(..To be continued., Part 5: “The Birth…”)


A said...

oh man... name change and then what...waiting...

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I feel a little nauseated, as I think of the aftermath of this. Please don't let it be the way I am conjuring it up. He lived once, or did he?

Blasphemous Aesthete

Chitra said...

To be continued at an interesting place.... mmmm.....

Aayushi Mehta said...

Nice, I love the twists in the tale. You're building up the mystery very well. Looking forward to the next chapters :)

Casey Freeland said...

This gringo in California is riveted.

Wonderful work.



RamMmm said...

Typical link episode. Short preview of what was to come. The title was apt for the closing lines.