(Disclaimer: This story is purely a work of fiction and the characters have no resemblance to any of my friends alive or on facebook)
The land-line phone trilled….and my mom shrieked “why doesn’t anyone except me pick up the phone in this house? Are all here deaf?” and then she beckoned to me “Its for you, that veena-ponavaen aka waste fellow Venkat is on the line”….and as the line was open and she wasn’t covering up the mic, it was really meant for him, I guess. So I hurried over and took it from her and said “bad time to call machi”. Venkat sounded even more agitated than he usually did “get out of there. Get out of the house now and call me back when you are safe somewhere”…I didn’t need a second word. In a flash, I had pulled on a shirt and was heading out the door screaming to my mom to lock the door. I could hear her cursing Venkat behind me, but it didn’t matter right now. Something was wrong, very wrong and I was about to find out what.
When I hit the street I had a moment of indecision about which direction to take? Should I go up the street or down? Which side was the danger which Venkat had hinted? His way to my house was usually at the top end so I better go the opposite way I thought and hurried down to the end of the street and flagged down a passing auto which was luckily passing by and asking the driver to take me to T.Nagar dialed Venkat back. “Who?” was the first question I asked him. “Uh! Kumar…I could see his face from the window…he was in a Tata Sumo with maybe ten people in it and they were driving straight up your street” I thought this one over and asked “and?” Venkat went on “now they are parked at the end of the street and waiting – I guess for you to pass by and I am in a tea-shop opposite”.
I cut the call and dialed home and my mom picked up as usual “where did you rush off leaving the front door open? Any dog could have come in.” “Mom” I said carefully “listen to me..One of my friends is in an emergency condition at the hospital, I had to go give blood. Did anyone call me there?” my mom slightly mollified now said “some guy kumar called and wanted to talk to you. New friend? I don’t know where you pick up these guys. Sometimes I think half the people in this city are looking for you” that seemed to be hitting very close to the truth so I hurriedly cut her off “Gotta go mom, bye” and called back Venkat “yep, definitely kumar, he called home. Who could have given him the number?” Venkat said in a strained voice “definitely one of our guys only. Some traitor has sold you out. They are just sitting there watching and waiting for you, what are you gonna do?”
I needed time to think this one out so I told him I would call him back and cut the line. Meanwhile we had reached T.Nagar and I ducked into Kasi arcade, a fairly empty mall, and headed straight for the empty pantaloons showroom and picking up a random pair of shirts ducked into the trial room..the identity of who sold me out wasn’t important right now, I could always find out later for I had my suspicions, what mattered now was against all the rules of the game, kumar had taken a drastic step. He had made it personal, he had invaded my privacy, attacked me at home and he had to pay for it.
I called up Srini then and his voice sounded dull “where are you da?” Srini replied “Ganga hospital machi, and they are refusing to give us TT injection” I smacked my head with my palm and asked “can you talk more clearly at least once?” Srini said “Our friend Kumar came by the room this evening around 3pm, me and Sudhir were having a booze party ” they usually did every afternoon so it wasn’t a big deal for them “and we were pretty gone too far to even get up and run and he had about eight or nine goondas with him and they were jumping and stamping all over us as we lay curled on the floor. Thankfully, the booze took the pain away and we didn’t feel a thing all the while..ouch” he screamed “That injection really hurt”. So, Srini and Sudhir were out of the game, uh?
I came out of the trial room and handed over to an expectant salesman the two shirts shaking my head in a apologetic way and made my way out of the shop. I called back Venkat and asked “Anything?” “No” he said “They are still waiting for you at the end of the street, but they are getting some looks from the people here, can’t see how long they can wait without attracting attention”…I thought that one over and told him “stay with them, if they leave follow and stick with them, I will call you up frequently and arrange something at my end” and then I called up the only other guy I could at that time -Mahesh “Mahesh, listen, Kumar’s at my house, yes, with men, I need you to tell me that you didn’t have anything to do with this, no, I don’t suspect you till now, otherwise I wouldn’t be calling you, yeah I know, only Kamesh could have sold him my address and number and I will deal with him later, but right now I want you to do something – whatever happens next between Kumar and me -YOU stay out of it” I cut the call and took a few deep breaths..There that took Mahesh out of the equation, he was a wild card and I couldn’t have fought both of them at the same time. Now that he was safely out of the way, I could take care of kumar. Time to ring Syed Bhai and fix a rendezvous.
When I called Venkat, It was pushing 9pm and Venkat was pissed “Where are you? I have so much to tell you” I asked him back “Where are you now?” Venkat snapped back “Me?, I am still following that as*** kumar, his men left around an hour ago- they couldn’t sit around in the car all day wasting time in front of your house, I saw him pay them off and send them away back to Ayodhya-kuppam. He is now in his car and heading home and he is almost there” and then I told him “I am right here waiting, see you in a few seconds” and we screeched in front of the black Fiat Palio and forcing it to stop, our men pulled off Kumar and walked him screaming and blubbering straight to the Chevy Tavera I was sitting in.
I waved Venkat onwards from where he had stopped abruptly and waited for him to join us before turning to Kumar and saying “heard you went looking for me today, why didn’t you call me here to your house instead?” he kept silent but glanced up at the house beside which we were parked and which was all dark at that late time “you want me to call her?” I asked “you want her to see you getting beaten for her? To become a martyr..no chance.. If she were here now I would challenge you to single combat and kick the crap out of you. Unlike you I don’t need all these guys here, they are strictly for decoration, I can beat you singlehanded, you want her to witness it? Shall I ring the bell, wake them up and call her down, Mithuna? Mithunaaaa” I shouted at the dark house. Kumar flinched visibly at that, coward that he was he didn’t have the guts to tell her that he was going around the city beating up people who proposed to her, as he considered her his property. They being area- neighbors’ for so long he had proposed to her and had been turned down multiple times, but still he went about terrorizing others who thought they had a chance with her.
I told him then “Look kumar, I wasn’t serious about her till now, I was just pulling my enemy Mahesh’s chain by flirting with his girl. But now you have given me a reason to get serious. I am now going to pursue her to the end and there is nothing either you or Mahesh can do to stop me and so” I punched him in the face then “Two can play at this game of hired rowdies, and for every rowdy you can hire, I can get a bigger and meaner dada to oppose him. Be a man and fight your own battles and remember Naan Adichha Nee Thangammattey” and I signaled to my men to take him two doors down to his doorstep and leave him there after ringing the door bell. We then got into the Tavera and left. Tomorrow was the traitor Kamesh’s day and then finally Mahesh.
This fight was just starting and all unknown to the pretty girl sleeping all unconsciously at the house just up the street- for whom all three people were fighting blood and guts for.