Lethal Whim

Ji wished for a secret weapon.

He had concluded that the only way to end crime against women and children was to be able to attack culprits from stealth. He wanted to do better than Batman. Indian criminals were too shifty to take on someone like Batman. So he reasoned. They shouldn’t know what hit them.

It isn’t clear to this day if Ji had a divine intervention, or if he experienced a violent spasm in his sleep one night.  Police dossiers mention that the hunt for clues is on. But the fact of the matter is, when Ji woke up, he felt a little weightless. After he had dressed following shower, he casually interlocked his fingers and pressed to crack his knuckles. Then headed out. He saw someone he knew and waved at the person. The latter seemed to look through him.

A couple of similar observations later, Ji was sure that he had become invisible.

He spotted a lanky young man with a hint of a moustache, making passes at a girl passing by. He walked straight up to the boy, grabbed him by his wavy hair, swirled him around and smashed his face to the wall. The paralyzed young man began to scream. Ji then flicked open a knife, and started slashing through the boy’s trousers from behind, while having him pinned down. When the last shreds of the boy’s pants had come off his legs, Ji proceeded to destroy his testicles. That was when he remembered there was some work he had attend to. He let go of the boy, dashed out of sight, ran for a couple of kilometres, and transformed back to his regular self.

Ji checked the newspaper the next morning. Not a word about this strange incident. Nor any mention on the Internet.

He decided the only way to contain any crime was to strike terror into the hearts of the people. They have to sit up and take notice. In the limited time he had on hand during evenings, owing to the clandestine nature of his ‘operation’, he set about looking for signs of trouble. He would float by like a ghost, wreak havoc and flee.

The news people and social media did dig this. They added emotion to sensation. Other things that went into the mix included sorcery, religion, politics to name a few. Respectable publications turned tabloids overnight. Homicides started trending. Crime it seemed had just gotten glamorous. The thugs and hooligans wanted their fifteen minutes of fame apparently.  Women in the city had never felt more unsafe.

Ji flunked his exams a couple months later. He realized that if he had to make a living, he needed to pass his exams. His invisibility would only empower him to loot.

Ji is now praying hard to get back to being normal. He is disappearing without warning, and greed & lust getting him through his moments of invisibility.

Dangerous times. We should all pray for Ji.

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Apparent conviction – A flash story

At first glance, Bhadra, analyst at a leading BPO in Bangalore, was your average Joe. For that matter, even after several glances and beyond, he would probably remain one. He liked Cricket when India played, and preferred to watch movies on TV, mostly universally acclaimed hits. He believed in ‘settling’ down in life and taking the middle path. To that end, he got married.

Bhadra was a proud Bangalorean and spoke Kannada. Whenever he sensed slander by ‘outsiders’, he would quickly launch an offensive. His stock phrasal retorts included Chennai’s heat and chauvinism, Hyderabad’s white-collared forgers, Kerala’s communist leaning, Mumbai’s underworld and terrorism, and Delhi’s rapes. Did I mention ‘rape’? Bhadra echoed the popular theory that women invited rape.

It was a pleasant Sunday evening. Bhadra and his wife had planned a visit to Orion, the new shopping mall of a few million square feet.  Hailing from a neighboring village, Rekha the blushing bride was as acquainted with western attire as would an Arab be to a kilt. To keep with the city’s fashionable ways, and her husband’s wardrobe preferences, she wore a simple black tee over sulfur blue jeans, but salvaged some of her cultural ground with glinting gold bangles and a symbolic black dot on her forehead. Bhadra was at his casual best in an orange round neck tee, with ‘I was born intelligent, but education made me stupid’ screaming across his torso and the ‘stupid’ firmly planted on his potbelly.

Bhadra and Rekha walked almost a kilometer from their tenement in Jangasandra, to flag a rickshaw. The road was deserted, and most of the shutters were down, a usual Sunday evening sight.  The young couple walking hand-in-hand made idlers, present in pockets, all curious. Rekha started feeling nervous. She and her husband were clearly getting all the attention. Bhadra was oblivious to it for around a minute, then saw that his wife was treading cautiously, looking at the muddy ground beneath her feet. He assured her everything was OK, and people new to the locality got the attention. Right under the veneer of composure, he was praying desperately for time to come to his rescue.  No sooner than he got busy with his prayers, did he hear a voice to his left bellowing a recently released Kannada serenade. He turned and produced a hesitant scowl, only to be met with jeers and whistles.

Rekha was praying as well. She prayed for nuptial intervention, and a swashbuckling one at that. The reality however was of nervousness, and feigned nonchalance.

They came to the main road presently.  Within a couple of minutes, they were inside the relatively safe interiors of a rickshaw.

Bhadra broke the ice and told his wife, “as long as we live in this area, please wear loose-fitting salwar kameezes. Don’t forget to have full sleeves stitched.”

“I feel unsafe here. Can we move to a different locality?”

“Nah, don’t worry so much. These are just boys out to have a bit of fun in the evening. They’re known to be boisterous. Don’t pay heed to these jokers. “

“But that’s not good, is it?”

“I understand, but feel happy it’s only this much. We aren’t as bad as Delhi yet.”

-Met