Friday, December 16, 2005

Chapter 3...contd.

It was 2:00AM in the morning when Raj drove into the gas station. It was a cold winter night and there wasn’t a soul on the streets. The foggy conditions and the complete absence of any human presence made the city look surreal. Anuj was standing under the tree waiting nervously for Raj.

Anuj had started getting threatening calls almost a week ago. Initially, he had disregarded them, but now the caller had started mentioning the specifics of his daily schedule. This was alarming as it suggested that he was being followed. Discretion is the better part of valor, so Anuj had decided to stay out of sight for a while. Hopefully a couple of days out of sight would throw water on the fire. Raj’s family was in the process of moving out of the military housing in the secluded army cantonment, and so he had offered to let Anuj stay there for a few days.

“Thanks man, I was freezing,” mumbled Anuj as he got into Raj’s car.

“No problem man! We need to fix this though. Hiding is not going to help. You’ll be looking over your shoulder forever.”

“I know, I just need to sit back and take a breath…lets talk about it tomorrow,” sighed Anuj as he leaned back and closed his eyes.

The next day was spent making phone calls. One byproduct of a corrupt legal and police system is the emergence of influence-peddlers. Delhi was awash with these parasites. One didn’t need any particular talent to be an influence-peddler, as long as you knew a politician, or a senior police official you could parlay that connection into a lucrative business. The wealthy and the poor had a grip on most cities. The former, because they had too much to lose and the latter, because they had nothing to loose. The wealthy relied on their money for connections, and the latter relied upon their voting power and mob mentality. The professionals, who constituted the middle-class were usually the ones caught in the middle – Too poor to buy any connections and too well-off to be able to rock the boat and risk losing their dignity.

The fragile, albeit outsized egos of people caused numerous perceived slants and resulted in big business for the influence-peddlers. To handle the goons let loose by Mitu’s parents, Raj and Anuj were talking to people who might be able to intervene and arbitrate the situation.

After a week of harassment, a day spent currying favor with buffoonish intermediaries and degrading apologies to Mita’s loutish step-father, Anuj was free from the fear of being attacked and maimed just for falling in love.

Days like these made Raj feel glad that he was leaving the country. He had absolutely no interest in these petty ego games and just wanted to go to a place where one didn’t have to worry about ruffling anyone’s warped sense of self-esteem every-time one stepped out of the house

4 Comments:

At 1:48 PM, Blogger dkjariwala said...

Keep it moving..

One suggestion: Instead of title like 'Chapter # ...contd..' could you name it 'Chapter #.. Part 1', 'Chapter # .. Part 2', so on and so forth. It's easier to track it in my reader using meaningful title. Also, it will help all those readers who will read this novel once it becomes famous! :)

JD

 
At 12:59 PM, Blogger dkjariwala said...

No updates?

 
At 4:46 AM, Blogger greensatya said...

Hey Nachiketa, I read all the chapters. You have written as an established writer.

The details of life in Delhi are so accurate that even I can relate.

Good work !

 
At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No new posts ?

 

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