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Ideals in Frenzy

January 21, 2014 | By

Every Calcuttan knew by now that come sunset the city’s teeming streets turned into battlegrounds and men were killed and abducted to score points in a bloody political game. It was called revolution!

Short Story - Ideals in Frenzy

The rain beat down hard against the roof. The wipers swished furiously across the windscreen.

The rain beat down hard against the roof. The wipers swished furiously across the windscreen. Ayush cursed himself for the umpteenth time for getting held up at a client’s son’s wedding and taking the risk of driving home so late.

Every Calcuttan knew by now that come sunset the city’s teeming streets turned into battlegrounds and men were killed and abducted to score points in a bloody political game. It was called revolution!

“Look out, you fool,” screamed a voice from the rear seat. Blinded momentarily by the headlights of the onrushing truck, Ayush swung the wheel to the side with all his might. The car lunged off the road, missing the truck by inches.

The man on the front seat beside him had been thrown against the door. The three men on the rear seat were awkwardly sprawled over each other.

“What the hell are you doing?” yelled the man beside him, poking him with the shining razor blade. “We want to reach Khidirpur alive, not dead. I’ll kill you if you try to act smart.”

But Ayush’s eyes were glued on the man crouched against the left rear door, his head hanging loosely on his chest. He seemed unconscious. Ayush remembered when the three men had forcibly stopped his car by blocking the road, the fourth one tried desperately to free himself from their clutch. But the men yanked open the doors and threw him in with two men climbing in after him and the third jumping on to the seat beside Ayush.

Before he knew what was happening, Ayush was on his way to Khidirpur, with four unwanted passengers and a knife at his throat.

All the three looked like in their early twenties, with unkempt stubble and furtive eyes that radiated demonic fury and intense hatred. The fourth man’s shirt had a big wet bloodstain, probably caused by the oozing from the stab wound on his shoulder.

“Hey you, wake up,” the short, stocky fellow sitting in the middle of the rear seat, pulled the unconscious man roughly by the collar. The man did not respond.

“Must be half dead by now. Wait till he gets the full dose of our medicine. He will cough everything out,” the man beside Ayush chuckled.

So, his captors weren’t abducting him. The unconscious man was their victim and he was a mere conduit, Ayush thought as a cold shiver ran down his spine.

The car turned towards Red Road. The beautiful avenue flanked by trees and wide expanse of the Maidan was a haven for surreptitious lovers in the evenings. It now stretched ahead, lonely and forlorn in the middle of the night. Ayush slowed the car at the traffic light, purely on habit. He sensed a movement and then watched transfixed as the drama unfolded on the rearview mirror.

The injured man’s head shot up and his right elbow crashed into the midriff of his captor beside. With one swift move of his left hand, he unlatched the door and tumbled out of the moving car. In an instant he was up and clutching his bleeding shoulder fled into the massive tree-filled lawns of the Maidan.

It took a moment for the others in the car to recover from the shock. The man beside Ayush almost pounced on Ayush, stepping hard on his foot on the brakes making Ayush cry out in pain.

He turned off the ignition, pulled out the key and threw it to his companion who was still doubled up from the blow on his stomach. “You watch the car. We will take him on,” he rasped, and bounded out of the car with the third man and raced off in the direction of his prey.

Ayush turned around and looked at his captor who seemed to be in his late teens. He was still clutching his side but his eyes were alert, watching Ayush cautiously, with a long curving knife ready in his hand. Ayush took off his glasses to wipe the mist.

“Don’t move. I’ll cut you in half,” the youth said harshly.

But his voice shook a little, betraying his inexperience. His eyes searched in the direction his mates had gone.

“I think they will catch him easily. He was badly injured,” Ayush said, following the youth’s gaze. “Shut up,” the youth said, a little softly this time.

“Did he hurt you badly? Once in a football match, the rival teams stopper banged into my belly. God, it ached for days,” Ayush continued after a pause, trying to strike up a conversation.

“You played football?”

“Yeah, I played in the left wing, feeding passes to the strikers.”

“I was the star striker of my club, Aryan Juniors,” the youth said, a trifle sadly.

“So why did you quit?”

“Because I quit college two months ago to join the party. The cause is more important than my career,” the youth said, his voice raised in new vigor.

“What cause?” Ayush was curious.

“The cause is the revolution. When our party comes to power, we will give the downtrodden their rights. That rascal who ran off is a bloody capitalist. We won’t let them suck our blood any more,” the youth said, firmly.

Ayush smiled faintly. “Your rhetoric reminds me of my college days, at least 10 years ago.”

“Why?”

“It’s the same that we mouthed then. The revolution began at that time. But we did not stalk the streets at night or kill people to get our voices heard. They heard us because the truth was on our side,” Ayush said, coldly.

The youth squirmed uneasily. “Times have changed. If we don’t bump off the rival party workers they will kill us. That’s the game,” he said defensively. His voice lacked conviction.

“And you think you can give back the downtrodden their rights by killing people?”

The youth didn’t reply, thoughtfully running his finger over the knife.

“I don’t think your friends are going to come back,” Ayush said. The youth started, as if he had forgotten all about them. More than fifteen minutes had passed. “Maybe they got caught by the enemy themselves,” Ayush added, watching the youth’s reaction closely.

The youth’s handsome face had fear and doubt written all over.

“Chowringhee is their area,” he muttered almost to himself.

“This is the game isn’t it? You kill one in your territory and they kill two in theirs,” Ayush persisted.

“But you started this game, didn’t you?” the youth turned on Ayush with a barely suppressed vengeance.

“No, we didn’t,” Ayush replied with a steely determination. “We educated the farmers in the villages. We awoke the laborers in the factories. We taught them to earn their rights with dignity,” Ayush said. “We started the revolution. We didn’t play a game.”

The youth was stunned at the tears in Ayush’s eyes. Suddenly he smiled. “Come lets go,” he said.

“Where, Khidirpur?”

“No. Home.”

Ayush grinned. “Let’s go to my place tonight.

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Editor in Chief, Learning and Creativity; Consulting Editor, Silhouette Magazine As a professional business journalist, Antara spent 14 years covering business stories but alongside kept alive her passion for writing on cinema. She writes extensively on the changing trends of music, direction and filmmaking in cinema and her articles aim to provide well-researched, complete and accurate information on the legends of cinema for the movie enthusiast. Her articles have also been published in Dearcinema.com and Du-kool.com. Antara is Editor-Creative Director of Wisitech InfoSolutions Pvt. Ltd
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