Monday, March 11, 2013

WASTED


Arul couldn’t quite understand what he was feeling. It was 12 am in the night. He felt so light. Relieved, rather. All the sorrows and embarrassments and disappointments and hopelessness that were weighing him down seemed to have been plucked away from his soul like a miracle.

He felt all the agony that had wrecked havoc in his life for the past 6 months, since the news of Vidya's impending marriage, was wiped away like a clean slate. It was as if he had obtained a new perspective on the all consuming sorrow and melodrama of a love failure. He mentally winced at the memory of how he had humiliated his family by bursting into Vidya's home and demanding her to marry her -for he had loved his distant cousin dearly for the past 5 years. She had no clue of his affections and was joyously getting ready to marry the guy her parents had chosen for her.

Now, looking back at his actions that have caused his mild clinical depression, he felt sorry that he had thrown away so much of his time and energy on a silly crush. Sigh! You live and you learn. It was now time to put it all behind him and think of fresh beginnings. Arul, unsure of how to deal with all this relief drifted to the window and stared at the winking stars. His lips spread into a small smile. "How befitting to start over right at the stroke of midnight" he mused.

As he wandered to the balcony he saw his friend Kumar below, sitting on his bike and smoking. He was surprised to see Kumar Anna at this midnight hour. Kumar and Arul met every weekend. They played cricket for the same team. Kumar stays close to Arul's house and is 7 years his senior. He often comes and picks up Kumar when they go for match as Arul, a college student, does not own a bike yet. Like now, Kumar will wait beneath Arul's balcony and wordlessly, Arul will climb onto Kumar's pillion.

 As he sat behind Kumar Anna in the thumping bullet, he felt so happy that to be with Anna - a familiar figure with whom he can share his new found happiness. The midnight has lulled all the souls of the street into sleep. The roads were empty and the streetlights – at least, those that were not bust, cast eerie golden pools of shadow. Even the dogs and cats, that usually dart here and there were curled cozily into their own warmth and dozed. This would be Arul’s first visit to Kumar Anna’s place, even though they knew each other for more than a year now. He felt a little odd that his first visit is at this ungodly hour. But since Kumar had no issues about it, Arul rode wordlessly with him and they arrived at the gates of Kumar’s residence.

 As Arul was about to get down from the bike, two dogs pounced at them out of the blue. With their teeth bared and a low menacing growl rumbling from their throat, the guys felt as if were dropped right in the middle of a scary movie. The ferocious black dog was looking at Kumar and barking furiously. Its barks echoed eerily in the cold deserted night air. In the ghostly moonlight, Arul could feel the shock and fear that was coursing through him reverberate in Kumar. They did not know how to tackle this beast and escape with all their flesh intact on their legs. To make matters worse, the black beast latched its paws onto Kumar's leg. Scared out of his pants, Kumar tried to scare the dog away by revving up his engine. This made the other dog to leap in front of the bullet. With its front legs planted solidly on the wheel, the second dog started barking angrily -not budging even an inch when Kumar tried to move his bike forward.

 Arul could see that they were literally trapped between two crazed, frantically barking monster dogs. Arul, who is already scared of dogs, was at his wit's end. The barking continued unabated and the black dog, which was clinging on to the trembling legs of Kumar, turned towards Arul and started snapping at him. Arul could handle it no more. He jumped out of his seat and took off -running like a madman down the street.

To his great horror, the dogs ditched Kumar and started chasing him.
 

 To his great relief, Kumar watched the two crazy dogs take off like rocket and disappear round the corner of his street. He was perplexed and still shaky from his midnight adventure with the dogs. “I have come home numerous times at this hour, sometimes even later. What made these dogs –that too the familiar street dogs that I see everyday - behave as if they were possessed?” wondered Kumar.

 He quickly opened the gates and let himself inside. He felt too nervous to venture again into the dark to lock the main gates behind him. He dashed into his home and jumped into his bed, quickly discarding his clothes and changing into comfortable shorts. As he lay, staring at the ceiling, he felt his heart rate return to normalcy. “Thank God I escaped without any scratches or bites” he murmured.

He then set the alarm for 6 am and drifted off into a dreamless, uncomfortable sleep.

 

Even before the alarm could irritatingly wake him up, Kumar got up - wide awake. The mistress of sleep ditched him even without the final caress of the state between sleep and wakefulness. The time was 5.30 am and he didn’t have the usual urge to burrow into the bed and doze for another 30 minutes. Instead, he started thinking about today’s match. They were playing against their rival team –from the other end of the city. He started strategizing and plotting about the 15 over match.

 Brushed and dressed, Kumar slipped on his shoes and pocketed his wallet. Swinging his bat on his shoulders, he snatched the mobile from the table and checked for messages.

“Today’s match cancelled. Reasons later” flashed the message from another team mate, Sashi. Frustrated and irritated over waking up this early for a wasted cause, Kumar called up Sashi.

 “Dai, what the F*&% da? We are playing our rivals. If we cancel the match now, they will think we have chickened out!” Kumar shouted.

 “Macha, listen to me da…our Arul…he is no more.” Sashi said quietly.

The shock blocked further words escaping from Kumar’s lips. Kumar remembered last night, and he just could not believe that someone so young could just die.

 “Macha?? You there da? Am now at his home. They have taken the body for post mortem. Why don’t you come over?”

 “Sure…sure…I will be there soon. What is the need of post mortem? Was he murdered? When will they release the body?” Kumar couldn’t stop himself from shooting questions to Sashi.

 “These government procedures…I think we can count ourselves lucky if we get the body in another 5 hours.”

“Okay da. Will see you at Arul’s place soon” Kumar replied and kept the phone down.

 

 Kumar sat down heavily on his bed. Even last night he remembered taking his last fag outside Arul’s place. Everything was as normal as they could be. How come he died? That too so suddenly? Kumar’s thoughts kept circling round and round Arul.

He then dragged himself to the death house. His heart clutched at the sight of Arul’s parents. Their grief –so intense and so apparent –felt like an icy blow to his heart. The house was packed with friends and relatives. The crowed spilled on to the street, where the mourners were gathered in clumps under the shade of Shamiyana. Kumar managed to locate Sashi and his other cronies and walked towards them.

 “Sashi, what happened da? How did it die? Even last night I was here and everything was normal. When did you get the news of his death? Infact, today morning I was about to leave my home to pick him up for our match. I was so shocked to see your message.” Words tumbled out of Kumar.

 Before Sashi could answer, there was a commotion at the gate. Two policemen were escorting a body bag, which was placed in the freeze box by two health workers. The police handed over some documents to Arul’s father –who wordlessly passed it on to Sashi. The police turned to us and said“Get these documents photocopied. They are the post mortem report”

 Sashi was looking at the body bag in a stunned state and he was not responding to the police. Arul's face was swollen and blue. The face barely held any resemblance to the young and smiling Arul. When the police prompted Sashi again, Kumar nodded to them and dragged Sashi out of the house to his bike. Sashi climbed wordlessly and they went to the nearest“Xerox” shop. Kumar went to the shop and ordered for 3 copies, collected it, paid and came back to his bike.

As he was about to start the bike, Kumar glanced at the report.

Deceased Name: Arul Prakash
 
Deceased Age: 20 years
 
Date of death: 21st Aug
 
 
Cause of death: Choking due to intense pressure on the windpipe caused by self strangulation
 
Time of death: 00.00 to 00.15 hrs
 

 

PS: Based on a true story. Credits for Prasanna for sharing this story with me and planting the seeds of WASTED.

 

20 comments:

kunal.patil said...

Thrilling !!!!

Subash Balan said...

Makes us read twice :D good going ..u r on ur way again ..well done gal :)

Subramaniam said...

The key to a good thriller is not letting the reader guess whats going to happen next.

Frankly I didnt quite realize even what was happening or what the story was about until i got a little nudge but WOW, when I did, it was like rewind and let your spine tingle!

Fantastic job on a new genre but if it were just a little more convenient for dense people like me to understand by ourselves :)

slowhand said...

Buddi,


Super...excellent...fantastic

This piece....This is what I want in the coming projects...

BTW...is Prassana Kumar anna???

Balaji S said...

Awesome Read - very well narrated! :) Kudos to the writer!

Balaji S

Azhagiri Umapathy said...

Well narrated story...!

P3 said...

Well recounting this still sends shudders down my body... Thrilled to think I was Kumar Anna in the real life version... Spent a few sleepless nyts after this day... Commendable effort WIFEY! keep them coming I say! Love

bala's bytes said...

I heard this story from "Kumar Anna" the day after the incident....it was more interesting to read though!!

May Arul's soul RIP..

Great effort...!

роородி (GS) said...

Well done.. Has the credibility of a true story and the honesty of incidents in narration.. Though I felt he narration is a bit hazy..

Praveen said...

Nice read.. gave a chill .. ana Self Strangulation puriyalaye ?

Ameet Karthikeyan said...

Great work Aruna!!! Even though I knew the incident, it was good to read..

Ameet Karthikeyan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madhumita said...

Awesome Story...Thrilling...Felt the same when heard from Kumar (Prasanna)...

a said...

@all -thanks a lot for your comments :)

@GS and Praveen -I know! i am little rusty. Hope I get back to form quickly :)

nithya sampath said...

Aruna,

Very good read. Managed to hold the suspense till the very end. :) Good job!

abi said...

good one.good narration.
keep writing

Anusha said...

Awesome mams ..Well narrated story..

sreesathya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krishnan A said...

good short story , intresting keep writing

Krishnan A said...

good short story , intresting keep writing