Chapter- 23- Disneyland
“So”, Booms Shankar’s voice. Or atleast thats what his name is suppossed to be for now.
“You motherfuckers thought you’d get away eh? Thought you would just…..walk out the front door, tell the whole world and become heroes eh?” Laughter follows.
I don’t answer. You can’t really talk back when you have the mouth of a Chinese AK-47 rifle copy pressed to your cheek. Even if you wanted to.
“You bloody Indians are all the same” He continues in Hindi with a slightly coarse north western accent. “ You are a disease. A virus. And you Kids are the larvae. Not being satisfied by devouring your own morals and ethics , You have corrupted the minds of our women and children too.”
“Really? Then why don’t you take you and your jealous friends back to Pakistan so we can all die and go to hell?”
I watch as one of the terrorists gets up and hits Aryan across the face with the Butt of his rifle. I see blood spray out from his mouth.I think Aryan just lot a tooth.
“Lets leave them alone , we can deal with them later” commands Shankar as they leave the room. Silence follows.
“Well at least we got one thing clear” I look at Mooli. He’s shaking his head and giving the smile that people give when they know their life’s over.The kind of smile that reflects how trivial are daily activities are.The kind of smile people give when they realize all that they thought was the world to them, has no real value at all. I see him like that and wonderr if he can see through the lenses of his glasses that have dust all over.
“Huh what’s that?” I ask,
“That none of us are making it to an IIT for sure.” He grins.
“Or the NDA” adds Aryan smiling.
“Fuck you” I say
“Why? You gay?” Mooli grins.
“You think?” I retort, nodding my head towards Priya.
Gauri was right. About one thing only though. We three could really not be serious about anything.
Priya looks at them with big frightened eyes like we are crazy lunatics in an asylum.
She looks at me with searching eyes. I look down.She looks away. My smile fades.
“I think we have enough ideas for the movie we wanted to make” Aryan sticks his toungue out and makes his lower lip flutter.
“Yeah who doesn’t want to see two hot guys, a geek and a cute girl get caught in a situation like this and die violently in the end” adds Mooli sarcastically.
When a stranger makes passes at your sister or girlfriend, you stop, warn and move forward.If that fails you take it a step further to what i call aggressive negotiation. In a place like Delhi, one however can skip the warnings.
When its one of your best friends however,you have full authority to beat the dirt out of him. If only my hands were untied.
In this situation, my sense of humour seems to have an edge over my possessiveness.
“I’m not a geek” I say.
“Yeah and I’m not hot” Mooli adds sarcastically.
"I'm cute. And I have really hot legs." in a very indiferent ' as a matter of fact' manner.
Priya manages a smile. I feel happy. Then i wonder if its because she knows we'r indirectly referring to her or because there was something she and Aryan never told me about.
I can see tears going down Priya’s cheek.I have the urge to wipe them.
I feel lifeless and cold. Some things are best left unsaid.
“Oh hot hot.Shut up .Since you by now you……. whats his name? Einsteins, yeah, must have figured out what we are up to, we’ve decided to let you be a part of it”
Shankar walks in with a few of his skull capped friends who hold two wired jackets with cell phone sticking out of the breast pocket. Like you needed to be Einstein to figure out what they were.
“So which one of you wants to try it out ?” He waves it around like it a T-Shirt on sale at a street market at night.
“Why not this rose petal” asks the one with a bright red streak on his forehead going upwards from the middle of his two eyes right upto his receding hairline while pointing towards Priya.
”Naah, She’s like a present for us, we’ll have plenty of time to appreciate and enjoy her” Grinned Shankar. Having said that he had just set my blood on fire.
Mooli and Aryan look at me with stunned serious expressions. Expressions I thought they were incapable of expressing before.
“Yeah you need balls for that mind you” says Mooli
I look away as Mooli is whacked with a rifle. He winces.
They leave us alone once again.
I catch Priya looking at me with hope. I know what she wants to say. But she doesn’t.
A sleeping animal seems to have woken inside me. It roars.
I manage to loosen the knot that seperates me from my sore forelimbs' freedom.
I push myself around the floor with my feet to get next to Priya. I resist the urge to give her a peck on the cheek. “uhhh.....Priya..uhm hi, could you... use your feet to untangle the knot , I feel it’s bit a loose , it should come off”
Her feet touch my hands, Electricity shoots through my veins. I feel alive and warm somehow. Weird.
“Hey you both, I hate to be a spoiler but this is not exactly a good time to for a moment, I can hear them coming up.” Aryan says. Stressing on the word moment
I move aside. Priya looks down smiles to herself. Somehow that makes me happy.
Shankar comes in with his entourage. Thought this time there is one extra person.
I see his face and everything falls into place. Aryan looks like a hungry animal. Carnal in nature, about to jump on him and tear him apart.
Mooli kisses the air towards them.
“I thought you said they were not going to be harmed” He quips. Bastard.
“They are fine look at them, they are still alive.” Smiles Shankar. “ We are proud of you Saqib. Our people need young blood like yours. If there is a reason we will be successful it is all because of you.”
“Could I have a moment alone with them please?” requests Saqib. “
“Sure take your time, you won’t be seeing them for a very long time” Laughs Shankar as the rest leave the room before him.
“You bloody son of a whore, if I get through alive I will kill you. Nothing mattera anymore. No I won’t kill you I’ll slit your throat, cut of your fingers and feet and leave you to bleed to death, like the butchers do to the goats , preferably worse, you circumcised piece of shit.” shoots Aryan.
The human mind never fails to amaze me. The moment words are spoken, read, images form faster in your head than before you want to form them. I think its called readiness potential.
Priya looks like she is about to throw up. I move further away. Just in case.
“Look guys I had no choice, they told me to tell them about you and I couldn’t say no. You’ve seen what kind of people they are. They would’ve killed me too. “
I feel like slapping him across the face, harder than I usually would.
Aryan manages to turn himself and makes a gesture with his hand.One that wouldn’t make his parents proud.
“Saqib could you come here please? We could use your help.” I recognize the voice to belong to the short dark one.
“Comming. Look I had no choice, they’d kill me and I don’t know what they would do to my family.I'll try to help you. Please try and understand God damnit”
He turns around and leaves the room. This is perhaps the last time I will see him. I will never forget that face for the few hours that I will live.
“Yes, how can I help-“ Two gunshots plunge the rooms and Saqib to silence. Mooli and Aryan look stunned and dazed. You know, the look people have if they have been shaken awaked while having a really cool dream.
Priya bursts into tears.
It amazes me how girls never seem to run out of them. Its like their tear glands work overtime since they're born. It amazes me more how it all comes out at one go. Unlike us.
“Time to go kids, get up” Shankar’s voice doesn’t seem alien anymore.
“Where are you taking us now?” Asks Aryan
“Disneyland. To see some fireworks. Come on.” Shankar’s pseudo-paternal voice is not comforting. I don’t think its supposed to.
“Euro or Hong Kong?? I prefer—“ Whack
Mooli is whacked hard a second time. This time his forehead and lower lip couldn’t take the pressure. He curses under his breath while he wipes the blood of on his T shirt.
We are brought into the second room. There is a large lamp hanging from the ceiling over a large table. On that table lie lots of wires of different colours and sizes, Cellphones that have been taken apart, a soldering gun, circuit boards and a few chemicals.I recognize a few from the chem lab, others from my google escapades(The CBI could be at my place right now for all you know.)Silver Nitrate, Urea, these guys had it all. They weren’t small time bomb makers making crude bombs. For a moment my pupils dilate, a sense of excitement takes over.
Then i turn around to see the expressions on my friends' faces. They had something similar to what i had on. Priya looks like a ghost.
I wonder if I will be shot first, in which case i will not have to watch them go one by one. But then again I might not be that lucky.
Image credits : Metropolis by digitalblashphemy(header) "Enemy of the state" Original artwork by Andrew Tong. ( footer)