'It would be on Friday ' remarked the party president Raja babu at the congregation of the party meeting.
Lal Prasad slowly raised his head,but could not utter his resentment...instead he asked "what do I need to do ?
Raja babu noted Lal Prasad's clenched fist...but chose not to address it.
'I will let you know tonight'.In the meanwhile make all preparations, I want maximum impact' trailed off Raja babu into his cabin.
Raja Babu had brought Lalla over from his village to the city of joy...and perhaps dreams.
Raja babu was an excellent judge of people and knew potential when he saw one. Lalla, as he was affectionately called, beat up 3 people in the middle of a busy street, Raja babu had noted the ferocity and intensity in every punch and kick he delivered.
It was intense. No one dared to stop him , such was the power of his aggression.
Raja babu knew at that instant, Lalla would someday be useful to him.
Lalla had a developed a certain perception around him - stay away - which was complimented by his height at 6 feet 2 inches ,a lanky frame , his face bore a scar over the left eye, ruffled hair, and eyes looking down with eyebrows raised, big deep set eyes, put on mascara, and a slight frown on his face perpetually.
The fire within made him stronger in the mind. People often got misled by his lean appearance only to get shocked and beaten later.
"how long and how many will you fight?' asked Raja babu in the canteen sitting beside Lalla sipping tea, as drops of blood sprinkled on the white saucer.
“You need to get out of here and do something more important else risk dying an anonymous death .
Lalla did not respond. He looked at Raja babu with his eyebrows raised and eyes lowered, and went back to drinking his tea. After a brief moment of silence, Raja babu took the napkin on the table, and wrote his number down. “Call me, if you want to be something in life'...and left without waiting for Lalla's response.
Few years later,marriage,poverty and no money had forced Lalla to call the number.
"What are you going to do' ? Inquired a worried Susma lying in a general room at Ruby Hospital...
' I don't know, and stop bothering me with questions ..Lal Prasad said to his wife in a deep baritone...without inflection.’
You know I can't refuse Raja Babu after all he has done for us. This is his hour of need and I have to standby him'.Lalla said as he opened the top two buttons of his shirt and sat down on the floor.
Just this one last time and I am done with the debt’.'I will leave all this and start a new life Susma.. We’ll go somewhere else and make a new beginning...I am not going to get defeated by the system anymore..’
Just then , the phone rang - 'at sunset on Friday we will light up the park... a familiar voice said at the other end of the line. We meet near Ruby hospital sharp at 5PM - the minister is arriving for the function at the park opposite the hospital.' 'That should be the last function he attends along with his followers." click...the phone hung up.
Friday morning during the regular checkup Dr.Gandhi said ‘Mr.Prasad you would need to get ready by evening for the delivery…possibly earlier..We have given Susma some medication already’.
The clock seemed to tick faster that day…every tick tock hurt Lalla’s head. He was tensed and for the first time in her life Susma saw her husband’s vulnerable face under the tough exterior.
The minister was on his way & the motorcade preceding his car signaled his proximity. Lal Prasad signaled to his fellow party members to get ready for action…as he lay hidden behind the dark glasses of the parked white ambassador.
The vibrating phone in his left pocket showed Susma on the screen..
‘Please come now...They are taking me to the delivery room’..sounded a harried Susma.
‘Susma I can’t I am tied up, you know…’ screaming in labor pain Susma interrupted & pleaded Lalla ....he disconnected the phone.
The minister stepped on the dais and began to address the crowd. His party members were in the front row – this is exactly where he had to disrupt the proceedings. His fellow party members had their own share of arsenal to ignite…he had a gun.
Lalla slowly moved out of the car and walked into the park as an ordinary follower and sat near the exit gate.
It was time.
Just when he was about to take a shot – his phone vibrated again…he thought it was Susma again and did not take the call…before he could take another aim a sharp gunshot pierced his back..Chaos triggered.and simultaneously a loud explosion was heard...
There was dust in the air and people were screaming…Lalla got kicked and pushed as he rolled on the ground struggling to keep consciousness and go to the hospital a few yards ahead…as he lifted his head up he saw his fellow party member lying dead on the ground.
The crude bomb shrapnel had fleeced his skin, slit his throat and blood oozing from his mutilated left arm clutching a vibrating phone…
Meanwhile, in the operation theater Susma and the doctors struggled to deliver the baby as the chaos in the park led to disturbances in the hospital..The mob broke glass panes and ran helter skelter some in shock and some to shock others…
As the clock ticked ...the doctors were beginning to look at each other while trying to untangle the infant from the same source that gave her life… now could be the reason for her death.
There were complications in the pregnancy, she had probably died at birth some thought, for a few seconds...as the umbilical cord had almost choked her...but she fought.She survived. She arrived in this world with blood on her face and determination in her genes. The frantic efforts of the surgeons had given her a new life.
When Lalla unclenched the phone from the corpse he saw Raja babu flashing on the screen…
‘hello...Bhanu Singh…are you there..did you manage to kill Lalla ?’ ‘I knew he was having second thoughts about being with us, besides he knew too much, he had to die today...Disrupting the ministers gang was an added bonus…we killed two birds with one stone...good riddance to bad rubbish isn’t it Bhanu’..
Lalla gathered his breath and courage to speak a few words....‘Raja babu…my debt is over…..oh and another thing... get yourself insured..At least your family will benefit from your demise’.
Lalla threw the phone away..And walked towards the hospital bleeding profusely…he fell 20 steps short of the operation theater and his life - where his daughter was born…undefeated by her fate and circumstance...
‘She was born to fight’ Doctor Gandhi remarked…I’ll call her Aparajita’ said Susma closing her eyes with a wry smile…
Gyanban thoughts - This post is an ode to the 70's Hindi Film Industry.The character,the backdrop,the sequencing all are an attempt to expand my writing skills to a different genre - that of a masaala thriller.I have tried to be completely visual about the scenes and enacted them in my mind.! Was itching to do a character sketch of Raja babu in further detail giving an angle of twisted positivity to it..maybe in it's sequel.