Well what I am about to tell you is quite an unbelievable little story.
Just wish it doesn't happen to you.That's all.
It is a story of just one fateful Friday evening, just a few hours really, in a lonely textile industrial estate, far away from mainstream civilization embedded in a small town 50kms off Ahmedabad. The place was mostly secluded except for the passing nomads or gypsies or the occasional tourists who wandered into the town by mistake.
The data entry operator, Nehaben regained consciousness on the other corner of the room in the back office. Her eyes scanned the room slowly. The old fan whirred nonchalantly, the files on the tables flipped back and forth, the window pane squeaked every time the cross breeze picked up speed. Coffee cups lay on the table, one of them spilled some coffee and the bill of materials was stained. The computer was switched on and the excel ledger template was open, with the cursor blinking after Rs.2,00,000 on cell AB24.
There were two other men in the room lying unconscious.
The clot on the carpet suggested there was blood.
She tried hard to remember what happened and how she got into this situation but memory seemed to play hide n seek with her.Her head was pounding with pain. As if something had hit her real hard. Feeling extremely thirsty she gingerly got up to look for some water near the pantry. She dragged herself to the water cooler in the adjacent room, and managed to drink some water.
Till a few hours back - accountant Jayeshbhai Patel was having yet another ordinary Friday. But that changed quickly.
He slowly opened his eyes… and saw a blurred wall clock. His head was hurting. He couldn’t remember why or when he had fallen asleep or why his head hurt. He slowly got up holding his head.
He was prone to migraine headaches, and kept a bottle of medication near his cubicle shelf, but today, he just couldn’t find them. Jayeshbhai’s head throbbed even more, typical migraine symptoms and the headache grew worse. Before he could get to the bottom of the issue he needed to take care of his excruciating headache.
He frantically searched cabinets, chest of drawers, desk stand, everywhere, but no luck. He clutched his head as the pain became unbearable, the world was spinning around him.
A bag full of money lay half open in front of him. A lump sum amount which the owners gave to the local MLA before every new project. The owners were shrewd and made sure that their employees were totally dependent on them for survival. The process was simple and that was the key. Not attracting attention. It had worked for years.
It was a simple green duffel bag no more no less. The owners would lock the lower chamber after Jayeshbhai would count the money accurately, double check and seal it inside. There were only two keys – one with the owner and the other with the receiver. It was a bag designed for serving only one purpose – transfer the black money to the MLA’s.
Nehaben would camouflage the bag with textile samples. Jayeshbhai would double-check and account for it and Rajan would deliver it. Being a small town there was practically no escape possible.-well almost.
Jayeshbhai’s headache was unbearable now. As he fumbled and tumbled through the office mess he came across a few tablets lying under the table. He followed the trail and finally found the bottle. He lunged to get the tablets quickly.
Seeing this, the driver Rajan, panicked even more. His eyes widened in horror as he saw Jayeshbhai reach for the tablets. He was trying to say something while struggling to free himself. The knots were so tight that his wrists bled as did his forehead – as if someone had slammed his head on a table. The ruptured veins were ample testimony.
With trembling hands Jayeshbhai popped 3 or 4 tablets while spilling some on the floor. The half filled water jar on the side table helped him wash down the tablets.
As Jayeshbhai regained a bit more consciousness he saw the driver, Rajan, who was supposed to deliver the bag, tied up and gagged. He was bleeding from his right temple and left nostril.
‘What happened to you …who did this to you’? Jayeshbhai asked dumbfounded and slightly groggy.
Rajan was panic stricken; his muffled screams as a result of the gag were getting louder.
‘Sssshhhhh’ – I will remove it – if you tell me the truth’ Jayeshbhai said coldly.
‘Was it Nehaben?’
Rajan was shaking violently, tears rolling down his eyes, which told a story of inexplicable fear.As Jayeshbai moved closer to Rajan , he moved his head so vigorously that the back of the head hit the corner of the table.
He passed out.
Jayeshbhai slapped Rajan’s face repeatedly trying to wake him up.
Just then Nehaben emerged from the pantry.
As she saw it – Jayeshbhai was holding Rajan, there was blood on his shirt and Rajan was bleeding, unconscious and probably dead. She froze for a moment. Her fists clenched the paper weight near the side table.
‘I-I didn’t do it’ Jayeshbhai said stammering.
There was an eerie silence between them. Each doubting the other’s motive and action.
The half opened bag lay in between them screaming for attention. They looked at each other without blinking even for a second. Pressure was building up in anticipation of the next action.
In a swift strike, Nehaben hit the paperweight on Jayeshbhai forehead. He slumped on the table groaning in pain. Nehaben was still shaking as she struggled to calm herself down.
Her only wish was to hijack the bag not kill Jayeshbhai.
She had planned to render Jayeshbhai unconscious switching his medication with Valium sleeping tablets. But something had gone wrong somewhere. As she bent down to arrange the bag, Jayeshbhai regained partial consciousness and hit her with the iron paper punch lying on the table. Nehaben collapsed unconscious on top of the bag.
Jayeshbhai unable to fight his consciousness slumped back to unconsciousness.
Still tied and gagged when Rajan opened his eyes and it was déjà vu.
Everything seemed exactly the same at 6.30PM, 7.30PM, 8.30PM, 9.30PM.and now it was 11.00PM – still no change. His head still hurt, he was tied, and Jayeshbhai and Nehaben lay unconscious in various positions.
How could he be waking up tied every hour and not remember how he got
into that situation.? Why was he tied, and who tied him?
Something was not right.
Slowly some bits n pieces of memory came back to Rajan.
All Rajan wished was to hijack the bag without anyone seeing it.
He had bought some powder from the travelling gypsies, which promised temporary loss of consciousness. That's all he would need to whisk away the bag.
As Jayeshbhai worked on the computer he quietly mixed the powder in his jar and went into the pantry to make sure he poured the rest of it in the water cooler.
Jayeshbhai had unwittingly drank the water from the jar – and immediately felt something was wrong.
He caught him near the water cooler and it led to a scuffle between them.
Rajan freaked out in nervousness and tried to run, forcing his way out.
Jayeshbhai latched on to him and in an effort to bring him down he banged Rajan’s head on the table. Blood rolled down Rajan’s temple and he slipped into unconsciousness. Jayeshbhai tied him up to the leg of the table and gagged his mouth with his handkerchief.
Nehaben had walked in just after that. Seeing Jayeshbhai in the act of hitting Rajan she panicked and started to scream for help. Unable to explain the situation to Nehaben, Jayeshbhai hit her hard and knocked her unconscious.
All Jayeshbhai wanted to do was to hijack the bag while Nehaben was away and the driver Rajan was inside the other room. That way he would face the least resistance to take the bag out.
His only wish was to take the bag and run away not hurt or kill anyone in the process.
But before he realized his plan, the effect of the substance was strong and Jayeshbhai slumped on to the floor hitting his head on the corner of the table.
Jayeshbhai, Nehaben and Rajan breathed their last in that lonely back office.
Such a sad thing isn’t it? Money does things to people.Like it did to Rajan who had come to me at 5PM today.
‘Can you give me some magic potion’Rajan asked.
‘What do you want it for?’
‘Well I can’t tell but I just wish some people to faint for some time, that’s all’.
What Rajan, did not know, was the fact that the powder I gave him, triggered a temporary amnesia and under stress it also magnified violent behavior. It also dried the throat in the process.
So every time they woke up feeling thirsty, they drank the same water, and again went into the effect.
All I needed to do then was to wait till all 3 of them were unconscious or dead.
I have the duffel bag with me, and the key to the secret chamber. I have the money.
I wish Jayeshbhai,Nehaben and Rajan eternal peace.
Gyanban Thoughts - This fictional thriller is inspired by the concept of Cube.The four pillars in this Cube were of Wish,Greed,Heist and Violence. Almost a story in itself - one leading to the other. The central idea being an exit-less loop.
How these 3 characters get entangled in a situation of their own creation. The fourth element, or character if you will, is deliberately kept anonymous.He is the one who narrates the story.
The story is woven around the effects of the dangerous Ketamine drug abuse.Ketamine comes in the form of a powder, pill or more commonly a liquid. The liquid comes in a small pharmaceutical bottle and is usually added to a beverage for consumption.
Behavioural and physical signs and symptoms of ketamine use:
* Sharp breathing
* Confusion over simple tasks
The story also hints at the numerous so called ayurveda tents the gypsies put up in every city promising cure for every possible ailment , dream or wish. I had once visited one of these farcical tents and had a lengthy chat with one of the practitioners and learnt the variety of problems people bring up to them.Some of them originally started out as counselors,but then eventually moved into quick fixes for every day problems.
Let us wish for some common sense amongst people!
The Wishious Cycle.