CHAPTER 8: CAPTURED!

Fortunately,since it was a low intensity blast,there were no casualties. The suspects were JeM of course. But they didn’t take the responsibility behind the foiled attack. The attack was clearly aimed at the socialising group of youth who were behind the  attention grabbing hash tag campaigns #JeMLosers #BackOffJeM on various social networking sites. But the brave bouncers at the entrance foiled their plan.

The club was evacuated as soon as possible. And we too left the place quickly before the media personnel’s come and ask us absurd questions like “How do you feel after the blast? What was your reaction? ”

And then the next day,the monotonous life was back,albeit with a bad hangover from the previous night’s experience. I was late at office and the over strict head of my department gave me an earful. I just stared down and pretended to listen. My mind was still not over my first kiss,and more importantly,the blast that could have proved fatal.

The day was extremely boring. Doing the same thing again and again and again between switching to playing games and exploiting the free WiFi, the day ended. As I was about to leave, the supervisor came again and gave me a serious look.

“Did you finish the work that I assigned you this afternoon?”

“Er…no Sir.. ”

“Then what are you waiting for? It’s urgent. Go and do it. Now.”

I couldn’t do anything but go back to my seat and stare at the dead monitor. The supervisor left and there I was,all alone with loads of work to complete. I called my Mom and informed her about my late arrival.

With a considerable amount of determination and dozen of coffee cups later,the work was completed.
I looked at my watch.

12:00 AM

Seriously,I should be awarded the best Employee of the Year.

I left my cubicle and moved towards the gate. Even the watchman was asleep! It seemed as if I was the only unfortunate soul in this company.

Taking the 12:13 train,I reached Thane. But I knew that reaching home would be difficult now. Courtesy: The TMT bus service.
Always late. Breakdowns. Zero maintenance. Poor state of buses. Worst frequency.

And it was still the same,like a  decade ago. No improvement. And I’m sure that it would be the same 100 years later too.

But I was too lazy and sceptical to go via Mulund. I knew that chances of getting a bus at this time is close to 0%,but I decided to give it a try.

The bus stop was deserted as expected. I went ahead and sat on one of the seats and fiddled with my phone. The silence was eery. The flickering tube light added to my irritation. Playing the latest version of Flappy Birds (which was even tougher) while listening to some of my favourite tracks
was the only option left to kill the time.

20 minutes later:
Still there were no signs of the bus. I went to the conductors room only to find some of them wrapped in blankets,enjoying the nap. Others were half asleep,confused between duty and sleep. I understood that standing there only meant stupidity.

Better change via Mulund.
Then why did I wait for about 20 minutes then?
10 minutes more.
A last try….

As I left the room, I glanced at the dark corner behind the bus stop wall. I spotted someone talking over the phone. His face wasn’t clear due to the bad lighting and above that, he was facing the other side of the wall. He was constantly murmuring something over the phone.

I took my seat at the bus stop again and was about to immerse myself in the lyrics of Enrique when I heard his distinct voice from behind.

Seems like I have heard his voice somewhere..
But where!?

I decided to eavesdrop on his conversation.

“Ya sir,everything is fine..tension not..I will handle….ya..ya..no place for errors..I know..I know Saab.. Ya..last week..yes sure..”

At once,I understood whose voice it was.
The same guy who flummoxed me at the multiplex and tried the heinous crime of blowing off innocent people.
(and the fact that he spoiled my Don3 show is unforgivable! )

The perfect time for REVENGE.

Cautiously, I took out the steel bottle from my bag and the next moment I banged it on his head without any further thought.

BANNGGGGG!

The force with which I banged the bottle made it sure that he fainted on the spot. Climbing the wall,I jumped to the other side to find him slumped on the ground. His mobile device lay on the other side. The call was still on hold.

Junaid..you there? You alright? Can you listen me? Junaid…Ju…

I disconnected the call. I was correct.

“So Junaid, how do you feel now? So grounded eh? Oh..oh..I’m so sorry,you can’t hear me right now.
Oops! Maybe I banged the bottle too hard I guess. So so sorry JUNAID!”,I slapped at his face which now lay in a pool of blood.

He shouldn’t die. He is a priceless catch. The gateway to unanswered questions. I think I should hand over his body to the police.

And as expected, they arised.

Alpha: Yes! Hand that thug to the police now. He should face the brunt of the law. He should be punished. You will become famous overnight.

Beta: Haha..!

Alpha: What now? You have nothing to defend eh? Nothing to say against me?

Beta: Frankly tell me one thing,do you think justice will be meted out to those affected by the blasts by handing him over to the law? Do you expect them to take swift and apt actions and hand him the perfect punishment? Do you even expect them to take the issue seriously and end the case without further delay? Well,with all the experience over the years, I don’t think so. I feel as if they’ll just take this as some other normal case and feed him Biryani for 4-5 years. Put him in a Z plus security chamber with AC with all the media attention and after a decade when people aren’t interested in the case, fetch out some info and put him to death. Hence, justice is served. Right?

Beta nailed it once again. I decided that Junaid wouldn’t be handed over to the law. Instead, he will beg for mercy from us.

I went ahead and caused a stir at the conductor room claiming that some robber attacked this guy and fled away. With their help I took him to the nearest auto rickshaw stand. I assured them that I’ll admit him to the hospital.

Such a kind guy. Tough to find such caring people nowadays..,
I heard one among the conductors.

I smiled at him and ordered the driver to go to Apollo hospital.

With a stone heart,
I later changed the destination to Adi’s house.

It was about 1am when the auto halted outside Adi’s apartment- a two floor bungalow in which Adi lived on rent on the first floor.

Paying the driver,I headed towards the lift with Junaid’s arm over my shoulder. For a weak person like me , Junaid’s weight was too much to handle. Still, I managed to drag him to the lift. But,since my luck always played spoilsport, the lift was under maintenance.

I put down his body and threw my hands in exasperation. I called up Adi to help me,but he didn’t receive the call.

I looked above and saw faint rays of light from Adi’s window.

That bastard is awake. He’s acting!

I called him again but it yielded the same result. No response.

That’s when Junaid started moaning back to conscience.
A kick on his face made him sleep again.

Carrying his weight on my meagre shoulders,I crawled to the first floor. As I reached Adi’s door,I put him down again.

Knock Knock

No response.

I tried the doorbell thing, but as expected, it wasn’t in a working condition.

At last I had to barge open the door with the little energy left in me.
There he was,drooling over the couch,popcorn spread all around him. A couple of broken wine bottles lay on the ground. CDs of B grade Bollywood movies stacked up in a neat CD holder. The TV still showed the erotic movie he was watching with much interest. On the other side of the wall, shone the prestigious Man of the Series award and plethora of other trophies that he had won for his team during his college days.

The perfect life.

I switched off the TV and then slapped Aditya back to life.

“Where..where am I?”, he grumbled, half asleep half awake.

“Earth Sir! ”

“Huh?”

“The third planet in our Solar system. Do you remember Sir? ”

“Merrrcury Veeenus Earrth……oh ya!”

“Good. And we have a guest Sir. Can I bring him in?”

“Ya..ya..is it a girl?”

“Umm..No Sir.”

“I’m a bit sceptical,but since you’re a good old friend of mine, I grant you the permission.”

“Thanks my friend ”,I obliged and dragged Junaid in.

“Why did you kill him Sooraj? Why? You’ll be behind the bars man! I..I won’t help you out.”,he smirked,still high.

“Well..he’s alive. No issues there..the only problem is that…. ”

“What?”

“He’s a terrorist.”

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