Friday, June 19, 2009

Poisson d'Avril

12:30 AM and it was totally crowded at the Bangalore airport when Paddy came out of the security area with his luggage. He had just returned from a 3 month business trip from Paris. He was supposed to come back next week but Paddy had slogged real hard to land on this day so that he could surprise his wife Sunaina. Pushing the luggage trolley, he came out to find a taxi guy with his Company placard. He had been waiting for Paddy. Due to the company’s cost cutting measures, he had to share the cab with 2 other colleagues. “My personal space! Wonder how they plan out this share funda with different flights and time” he thought. The 2 other colleagues of his were already there inside the cab and after he had thrust his luggage in the rear, he made his way to the door. Though he did request to seat himself next to the driver, the driver promptly said no and signaled him to sit behind. “Weird company rules and people follow it! Logic and common sense have just vapoured out” he thought. The 2 other colleagues didn’t want to give away the window seat and so Paddy had to squeeze in between them. He sat there cramped and vexed.
5 minutes into the journey, Paddy could feel his mobile ring in his pant pocket. So compact was his fit between his colleagues that he could hardly move his shoulder. He thought about who would have tried to call on his office phone. “It definitely isn’t from home or from friends as none of them know I would be in Bangalore today. Should be someone from office, who could it be? It shouldn’t be an emergency call. I can call back later. Wonder which department these fatsos are from. Creatures!” he thought, striking a glance on his sides. Few more minutes and Paddy could see Sunaina running towards him in slow motion. It was broad day light though it was early morning. She was wearing plain yellow saree with the same colored blouse, earrings, bangles and nail color. “Fortunately the lip stick is pink” he thought. He could hear Udit sing “Tum paas aaye, yun muskurayein, tum ne najane kya sapne dikhaye” from somewhere far behind! Suddenly the cab came to a screeching halt and Paddy came out of his slumber. Before he could realize what had happened, one of the supposed colleague of his, planted a tight slap on his left cheek! Paddy was furious and biting his teeth hard looked at the colleague on his left who had planted a sparkling stroke on his cheek. “What the…” and before Paddy could even complete, the driver thumped his fist hard on his jaw. “Ouch!” that pained. The colleague on his right pulled out a knife, held it under Paddy’s neck and said “One wrong move and you will smell your blood.”
Before Paddy could even think of doing anything, the three men forced his face onto his knees and pulled out his wallet, mobile phones, ring and his gold chain. The Driver turned around and started to drive the cab with Paddy’s face still on his knees. After about half an hour or so, the cab came to a halt again. “Ok Sir, here is your bank’s ATM machine. Now be a good boy and tell us your debit card PIN number” said the Driver. Paddy didn’t think twice and gave his PIN. The driver went inside the ATM counter and came back with 25K cash and said, “Let’s shove him somewhere ahead. We still have loads of cash to play around with.” Half an hour later, Paddy was thrown out of the cab beside the curb. “Rascals, Idiots, this will be your last. I will have you guys arrested, you rogues” shouted Paddy at the speeding cab. “God, what do I do now? I don’t even know where I am. My baggage, foreign currency and gifts inside it, everything gone. No money, no phone err wait a minute” talking aloud, Paddy pulled out a 100 rupee note from his pant secret pocket. “I can’t call Sunaina. I’ll check with Sri or Sunil when I find a booth or something. I don’t even have coins. Let’s see. For starters, I’ll start walking south as that’s where I think we came from. Hopefully there is police station on the way” he thought.
10 minutes and he hit the highway. He kept signaling for a drop to all passing vehicles but none stopped. This return journey of Paddy had turned into a nightmare. He was in pain and was extremely tired and angry. Few more minutes of walking and he saw light at the end of the road. “It must be a dhaba or something. At last, something to cheer” he thought and increased his pace. 15 minutes and he was inside the Coffee Day bar. “Wow, this place is open even at this time! Let’s check if I can make a call from here. A cup of hot coffee would do no harm too” he thought. Locating the cashier of the bar, he tried to explain his horror story in brief and asked him if he could make a couple of calls. “Sure Sir. You can use this landline. The police had been here just an hour ago to collect their usual. Now they must be asleep somewhere. The nearest police station is 10 Km away. You can catch them for an FIR only after 10 AM” replied the beamish cashier. “Thanks, I’d like a Latte please” Paddy said and turned around to dial Sri’s number. “Such a chatty cashier. It seemed like he was waiting for me! Anyway, why isn’t Sri answering the call? May be he left it on Silent mode” Paddy thought and he dialed Sunil’s number, “Pick up, pick up. What the heck?! Why are these 2 idiots sleeping like logs today?!”
Cursing his luck, he hustled to his right only to find the waiter right behind him with the Café Latte he had ordered, in the tray. And before both of them realized, the coffee was all over Paddy’s dress. “Rotten luck of mine. Idiot, couldn’t you stay a bit behind”, Paddy blurted out. The waiter shaken by the whole thing murmured, “I was behind you only, Sir”. “Oh! Come on. Righto, it’s just not been my day. Anyway, will you please show me the restroom door?” demanded Paddy. The waiter pointed to the direction of the door. Paddy walked 10 paces and turned to his right to find the men’s door. Couple of minutes later, he came out and just when he was thinking what he needs to do now, he tripped on something and fell flat on his face. Smarting, he turned back to see what it was, only to find a young lady struggling below the table. “What the hell are you trying to do?” shouted Paddy. “Shh! Please don’t shout. Those men. Do you see 2 rogues searching for me? I need help. I’m in serious danger. I can explain everything to you in detail later on. Please take me out of this place. Please, I beg you” pleaded the panic stricken lady. Paddy didn’t know how to react. He looked at her. She was young, cute and she was shivering with fear. He slowly tried to glance on top of table. He could see 2 roughnecks on the other side of the room talking to somebody. The inner voice of his, told him to help her.
“How do we get out of here?” Paddy asked her. She told him that those 2 rowdies had parked the car just behind the rear exit in front of the table and they had stopped here for some coffee. Seeing that they had not locked the car, she untied herself and hopped out of it and hid here. Suddenly Paddy stood up as if nothing had happened and in a quick motion, he stormed out of the rear exit. He saw a Sumo parked there with the keys on. In a few minutes, they both were in the Sumo and driving on the highway. 10 minutes later, Paddy turned towards her and asked “Could you care to explain something?”. “Sorry Sir. I was just caught in my thoughts. Thanks for helping me and getting me out of there. My name is Gayathri. I came to Bangalore with my uncle 2 months back in search of a job. But that rascal uncle of mine sold me to these guys. I have somehow managed to stay a virgin till now despite all the torture that I went through. Finally when they sensed that they couldn’t push me anymore, they got my father here yesterday and blackmailed me to go to bed with some idiot. They said that they will kill my father if I don’t agree and shoved me inside this car. They were taking me to Silver Oaks resort where that idiot was waiting. I somehow managed to escape and I met you in the coffee bar. Thanks a lot once again. You are a god sent angel to me” she said and started to break into tears. “Ok, ok, don’t cry. So what do we do now?” asked Paddy. “Sorry. Please drop me at Hotel Honeymoon. My father has been locked there. I will free him and then go to a police station or may be back to my village” she said.
An hour later, they were in front of Hotel Honeymoon. That hotel was on the outskirts of east Bangalore and that place smelled of rotten shit and urine. “Shucks, what a shady place” Paddy thought. There was no one at the reception. “Lets get your father out of here and I’ll drop you at a safe place” suggested Paddy. Gayathri took him inside the hotel to room# 9. The door was locked from outside. She knocked it gently and said, “Appa, Appa, You there?”. There was no reply. After numerous futile attempts of hers, Paddy decided to break open the window. He took a stone and thudded the window with great force. To his surprise, not only did the glass window break into pieces but the whole window frame too came down and fell inside the room. Paddy looked around to see if there was anyone inside the room. It was pitch dark inside. On instinct he reached his pant pocket to pull out his mobile to switch on the torch for some light source. He then realized that not only had he lost his mobile to those rogues but that his hand was bleeding from the cut he had sustained from the broken window glass. He rubbed his hand against his pant and jumped inside the room. He switched on the light and then helped Gayathri inside thru the window. To his surprise, it looked more like a 2 bedroom house inside. “You go look for your dad while I break open this door” said Paddy.
2 minutes later, Paddy entered one of the rooms to find her. “What are you doing here in front of the wardrobe? I have opened the main door. We need to get out of here fast” said Paddy. “I think they have locked him inside this. I can feel his body resting against the door. But I don’t know why, he doesn’t speak nor does he react!” she said. Signaling her to step aside, Paddy forced the wardrobe door. As Paddy tried to open the door, they both heard some noises outside. “Fast, some one might be coming” she said trembling. And suddenly the wardrobe door opened and both Paddy and the man inside fall hard on the room floor. Gayathri screamed in horror. To Paddy’s shock he found that her father was stabbed with a knife on his back. Before Paddy could get up and think about what to do, four men entered the room. Gayathri turned to one of the men and screamed, “Help me brother. This person wanted to have sex with me and he threatened to kill my father if I dint oblige. He broke the window and entered inside and even after repeated pleadings from me and my father, he was desperate on his intention. My father tried to help me and it ensued in a fight between him and my father and this person, he killed my father” and she broke into a melodramatic cry.
Before the four men could react, Paddy jumped and ran towards the main door. He ran towards the Sumo and to his amazement he saw the front tire flat. He could hear those men storming towards him and shouting at him. He started running as fast as he could. His tiring mind was now a fiery concoction of anger, frustration & pain. The men behind him were not giving up the chase. Worst, the number of men chasing him had doubled. Out of nowhere, a jeep appeared in front of Paddy and his body thudded against it. He cringed in pain and fell on the ground. His body trembling and his eyes moist, Paddy looked up to see who it was. A burly bearded cop came out of the jeep door. The men who were chasing Paddy stopped in front of the cop and a few of them explained the lady’s version of the story to the cop and the rest caught hold of Paddy. The cop hardened his jaw, looked at Paddy and said, “You look like an educated and a well off guy, do you need these things in your life? What sort of world do you live in? Don’t you have any wife or sisters. Do you know what you have done and do you know its consequences? You think you have loads of money and you can get away with anything? Get into the jeep and I’ll show you what the real world is.” He then turned to the men and motioned them to stuff Paddy inside the jeep. “Get that Madam to the station, one of you” he said as he started the engine.
Few minutes into the drive, sensing that it was the right moment, Paddy started to explain the whole story to the cop. It took Paddy more than half an hour to complete his piteous story and then he took a deep breath and said, “Sir, please, I’m innocent. I’m happily married and I have a doting wife. I work in a reputed firm too. Don’t you think I’d be a fool to ruin my happy life?” and before he could complete, the cop turned around and screamed, “Shut up! Do you think I’m a fool? You IT people make loads of easy money and you look down upon poor people and public servants. You think you can cook up some story and I would fall for it? Ok, Sliver Oaks was the resort you mentioned right? Let’s go there then”. “No, Sir. You are getting me wrong. I really doubt if that resort story was for real. That lady might have just used that name” Paddy said. “Stop it or I’ll show you how cops deal with guys of your kind. Not a word more. We are going to the Sliver Oaks resort and that’s final” the cop yelled. That sealed the duologue and with that Paddy gave up hope. He was ready to accept his fate.
20 minutes later, they were inside Silver Oaks. The cop stalled the jeep in front of the reception entrance, locked Paddy’s right hand to the jeep with hand cuffs and said to him, “You stay right here. You will be in deep trouble if you try to escape. I’ll be back in a minute.” Few minutes later, a young guy, possibly a waiter inside the resort came to Paddy, opened the hand cuffs and said, “Sir, you are asked to come inside. Please follow me.” A shaken Paddy followed him into the reception and the foyer which lead them to a huge hall. The waiter stopped there and said, “Please go into the door at the right corner. They are waiting for you inside.” Paddy didn’t know what to do or what to expect. It was 7:00 AM and he had had enough of the nightmarish day. With a silent prayer, he dragged himself ahead and entered inside the room. Suddenly couple of balloons burst, the lights turned on and about 40 people started singing “Happy birthday to you, Happy birthday dear Paddy, Happy birthday to you”. It took a few minutes for Paddy to realize that everyone inside the party hall were his friends with Sri, Sunil and Sunaina standing right in front of him. Sunaina came forward, kissed Paddy on his cheek, hugged him tightly and said, “Happy Birthday Paddy. I’m sorry sweetheart but that challenge of yours was too hard for me to digest. You considered yourself the Baap of making Bakras out of everyone. So we all bakras owed you a big one. Happy Birthday and Happy Fools day!”

4 comments:

Deeps said...

Hey!

My guess throughout was soosoo very right! :) heheh April Fool antha nu helbitte....
Nothing led me to conclude this way. I just thought that you are always good at surprising people.. and so when you asked me as to what I can expect in the next part after you gave me the first part to read, I said something entirely deviated from topic and said april fool and I was RIGHT! hehehhe

Sooper alla..
Believe me .. the story line did not lead to this. Till the last min, it maintained a very serious mindset....

As usual you have narrated the story beautifully. reader can easily have his own visuals of the scenes :D that is really great...

☆♪♥Shalini♥♪☆ :) said...

Hiiiiii Sunil..

The very first line of your blog reminded me of one such surprise you had given to Soumya long back... You had landed a day earlier or something in Bangalore if I am not wrong ;)... He hehe...
Seriously I thought you were the hero of the story when I started reading it..
A nice one.. Hats off to your writing skills.. So when do we see a collection of these in a form of a book?? :)

Shilpa said...

Hi Sunil....

Great story... :)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
As Shalu says we are expecting a book soon.All the very best...
:)

ಗೀತಾ ಗಣಪತಿ said...

nice one, an interesting read as always.
Too many pranks played on the poor chap!

by the way, whats the meaning of the title?