This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 34; the thirty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is "Of-Course, I'm insane"
The news spread like wildfire and engulfed the entire Village. An undercurrent of fear ran along with the news, a fear that was leaving a smoky trail of uncertainty and ambivalence. The otherwise busy main road, which not only bisected the village geographically but it also drew an imaginary yet a formidable line between hearts, lay deserted. The familiar siren of the police van was trying the spread a sense of assurance, but the villagers knew, the assurance might be fake.
This was not the first time and definitely not the last time, Inspector Bhanot was watching dead bodies -two dead bodies, charred beyond recognition. In his service of twelve years, he had tackled many situations, but he was very well aware, when emotions get mixed with rage they turn into lava and when it comes in contact with a tiny spark ignited by religion, an uncontrollable volcano erupts. Inspector Bhanot could see such lava slowly infringing the villagers gathered around, his first task was to ensure that the lava didn’t get the ignition. ‘Call Chaudhary and Ansari to my jeep.’ Bhanot whispered. The sub-inspector nodded. Bhanot dialled the number of the local MLA and started walking towards the jeep.
‘I understand your loss.’ Bhanot said, looking directly into the red eyes of Chaudhary and Ansari. Crumbled within the back seat of the Jeep, the heat emitted by their bodies was slowly turning the jeep into an oven.
‘I have lost my son... Only son.’ Chaudhary screamed. ‘And who’s responsible...’
‘She was a piece of my heart.’ Ansari interrupted. A voice, which was soft initially because of the pain erupting inside his throat, rose many decibels higher. ‘I will not spare anybody.’
Intense argument ensued after the statement; Bhanot was listening to them silently. Perhaps, it allowed then to vent their anger, and as far as it was inside his jeep, Bhanot had no problems.
‘I just spoke to the MLA, it’s election time... You have to understand the situation.’ Bhanot said, interrupting, keeping his composure intact. ‘A loss is a loss. And both of you have suffered. You need to understand the sensitivity of the situation. MLA is reaching here in the evening. I need an assurance that the situation will not deteriorate further.’
A few feet away from the dead bodies, Sushil was sitting, nervous. He had warned of a situation like this when Mohan had told him about his love. It was a cold evening; they were sitting inside the dilapidating Guest House outside the village and enjoying their weekly dose of liquor. When two pegs of alcohol went inside, the revelation surfaced.
‘I love Shazia.’ Mohan had said, initially under his breath then he had shouted, ‘Shazia I love you.’ with passion.
Sushil could read the intensity and seriousness in his voice. Had it been somebody else, he would have laughed it out, but Mohan was different. He was the son of the “Chaudhary’s” – The richest family of one side of the main road - the Hindus. But, he was the only sensible Chaudhary. Sushil was not sure when and how his sensibility became so irrational that he fell in love with Shazia, the daughter of “Ansari’s” – The richest on the other side of the road – The Muslims.
‘Are you insane?’ Sushil could only say this. The concern was evident on his face.
‘Of-course, I’m Insane... Love is insanity, isn’t it.”
‘In a place where they kill people because they marry people of the same Gotra, do you really understand what you are talking?’
‘Isn’t it good.’ Mohan had laughed aloud. ‘She is a Muslim, nobody can tell her to be my sister because she from my Gotra.’
‘Last week, both the families came to know about the affair.’ Sushil said. He was recording his statement in the police station two days after the incident. Bhanot was sitting calmly. The situation inside the village didn’t deteriorate. The MLA and the opposition party had to intervene regularly. Nobody wanted to take any risk because the elections were just a few days away.
‘How?’ Bhanot asked.
‘Somebody had seen them together in that guest house. They used to meet regularly there.’
‘Was there any other option? You know the situation in the village. Who would have accepted their love? I have seen saab. They love...,’ as if bile erupted inside his throat, Sushil swallowed some air, then continued, ‘loved each other to the level of insanity. But the road in between, it was too wide for them to cross.’
‘You were his best friend, how come you couldn’t foresee something like this?’
‘He was very tensed for last one week. The families had had many heated arguments over phone. The situation was deteriorating. He had told me once, Shazia was also with him,’ Sushil closed his eyes as if he tried to remember the words exactly the way they were said, ‘ “if we cannot live together, we will die together.” But I had not thought that they will take a decision of such an extreme so early.’
‘So it’s a suicide, not a murder?’
‘Murder? Who will do something like this Saab? They were Chaudhary and Ansari.’
‘May be the Chaudhary or Ansari themselves? It is election time.’
Sushil’s eyes remained wide open at the mention of such a possibility. He licked his lips but his already dried tonge didn’t help. Such a scenario had never crossed his mind.
‘They were Mohan and Shazia saab, heart of Chaudhary’s and Ansari’s. I don’t think the families would do something like this.’ Sushil said.
‘Okay, so for you it was a suicide.’
‘Looking at the situation and I have seen them very closely. Yes.’
‘What happened to your hand?’ Bhanot said looking at the bandaged right hand of Sushil.
‘Bike accident.’ Sushil said immediately, as if the answer was rehearsed.
‘Accident... ohk... No burn?’ Bhanot said, looking at Sushil from the corner of his eyes accompanied by a cunning smile. Sushil shook his head without meeting the eyes of Bhanot.
After two Years
Bhanot was sitting on his desk. He was transferred so he was putting his final comments on unresolved cases. The file of Mohan and Shazia’s suicide attracted his attention once again. He had already put his remark as “Suicide” yet he had kept the file on his desk for a long time. It reminded him of a case, the only case, he didn’t want to close in true sense, though he completely knew the story. He himself had changed the autopsy report after all. He picked another file from the stack, kept both the files side-by-side on his desk, and started laughing. The other file was of an unresolved case of two missing dead bodies filed by the district hospital. The complaint was filed just one day before the suicide of Mohan and Shazia. He put his final comment on the file, “Unresolved. No lead. The case is dead.” This was Bhanot’s last gift for the peace of the village.
Sushil was sitting alone in the Guest House, drinking and laughing at the burn scar on his hand. He had spent two years of his life without his best friend, but he was satisfied, his plan had worked wonderfully except that he had burned his hands while burning the dead bodies smuggled out of the city hospital. The rotund guard of the hospital morgue still asked for money wherever he saw Sushil. But he was contented with the fact that the road that once divided Mohan and Shazia, took them away to a life filled with happiness.
Happiness is such a subjective term. Were Mohan and Shazia really happy? They spent the initial three months in Delhi. Fearing that somebody might identify them, they moved to the ocean of people called Mumbai. Two people who were born with silver spoon were spending life, fighting every second for survival, in some suburban slum.
She never regretted her decision, though even after two years, Shazia would woke in the night and cry remembering his family and village, then she would cuddle up with the tired body of Mohan and sleep with the contentment that at least Mohan was with her.
Mohan, on the other hand, had only one regret. He could never provide a comfortable life to Shazia, which she deserved. But that in a way increase his love towards her. He silently wished that one day the world would change; the main road of their village would be just a road, and would not be viewed as a barrier between the hearts. Every night when Shazia cried, Mohan woke up after sometime, went outside, looked towards the sky and said, ‘I know you are one. Why cannot the people who believe in you understand this?’
Disclaimer: This work is an imagination of the Author, any resemblance with a person living or dead is purely coincidental.
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