Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Letter To The President

Before you read ahead...please note this is a "dark story" not dark humor...just dark...read only if you wish to be left with a bad taste in the mouth....

It was one of those fights, that couples have, and like always she stopped talking and he wished he were dead. Yes you know those common place fights. One was awake watching tv and talking to friend, the other sat on the computer installing updates. I'm guessing you can figure out which was which. It did get late that night, and there was a early morning meeting he had to be in for by 9:30.

The alarm buzzed dutifully at 6, the maid as the lord would have it showed up almost punctually at 6:05...and he as was his duty got up scrawingly to open the door to her and then hover behind her to ensure everything remained in place as it was before she came in. Yes you're lucky if you get a trustworthy house help these days. Actually its lucky if you can trust yourself these days.

The 5 hrs sleep hadn't worked wonders for him, he needed his 8 hrs and this was 40% short...and it was a long drive and time was running short. He knew with his sleepy head...he shouldn't have been pushing the accelerator...he knew....he....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz..........bam!!!!!!!!!!

The car went over the railing into the river...funnily though he thought...he couldn't feel the water yet...Soon he thought, it'll come gushing in...this is the way to go he smiled....his eyes barely opened...before the impact rendered him unconscious...

When they opened there was tube down his throat...he couldn't really make out much...he flickered back into sleep...the next time he could make out bandages and people, couldn't really make out their faces...but these it didn't seem like they were angels...finally he could move his head around...but not his hands...one had a tube going into it...another was cuffed to the bed...cuffed?

Then he remembered....in his sleep he remembered what had happened, the speed...the drowsiness...he had hit someone from the back...it was they or him, was it a him? must've felt the water. He woke up with a scream...but no words came out...infact he couldn't even move...all that reflected his realization were tears...tears that for days couldn't stop flowing down his eyes...whether he was awake or asleep...the same scene played over and over...and much as he hoped it was always him ramming the car ahead of him...not the other way round.

The day the tube came out of his mouth...the police came before his family did. He was thankful for that. The police wanted a statement...he had a condition..."you will not allow any of family to come meet me"...The police guy was surprised...that wasn't a usual request...but he was adamant...and his will was followed. His statement was simple..."I was driving, it was boring, so i drove fast, it was still not interesting enough. The guy ahead had a good car, I wondered how strong it was...evidently it wasn't strong enough." Needless to say...the police were shocked...and as the word got out...the doctors, the new people, the family...no one could believe it...but believe they had to...it was the murderer's own words.

The disbelief turned into a rage, a rage that demanded speedy justice. People demanded that he be stoned in the middle of the road...He didn't care about those shouts, he could hear them from his window, but there was only one scene he could see...only one scene he couldn't change...the only thing that mattered...was undoable...

The courts, and shame on any of you who think justice is not delivered speedily in this country, fastracked his case. He was brought in bandages, on a stretcher to the court. He was given the option of having a lawyer defend him...he refused...His only request was for one adjournment..."Sir" he addressed the judge "Before the law of the country tries me, I think there is someone else who has the first right to have a go at me"

"Who" the judge asked indignantly

"The victim's family...If you so permit, I'd like to speak to them alone for a few minutes"

"Unusual but fine, you can have ten minutes before you are tried by the law of this country"

In the cell of the courthouse...from behind bars he saw the parents entered. Looked middle class like his. He wondered how'd they ever get over the loss.

"I will not apologize to you he said, for my apologies will not change a thing, but I do believe you of all people should get to know the truth". And he told them plain and simple, the fight, the meeting, the speed, the drowsiness, the crash. "Do not forgive me, for your son died an unnecessary and untimely death, but please try and find peace in your heart. May you find the strength to live through this, I'm saying this, cause I can't. Bye" And he turned and walked away.

The court scene was slightly longer with its procedures and irrelevant questioning. He'd wish they'd get over with it soon, it was hard trying to avoid looking at his mother, and the only thing he wanted to do was to look at his mother...but he couldn't, he couldn't...be strong he said to himself or she'll cry...be strong.

"Sir he interrupted when he couldn't take it any longer. I think we are beating around the bush, why is the state's lawyer trying to prove that I am a drunkard, what relevance does it have to this case. I am not, the facts of the case are this. I like speed, I like thrill and I found killing a man thrilling. You let me loose today I shall do it again, you let me loose 20 years from now I shall do it again."

That quite nicely sealed his fate...it was the gallows...rarest of rare circumstances. It was quite filmy, just like they showed in the films, the judge broke the nib of the pen after he completed the judgment. He almost broke into a smile, his first light moment in two months.

They took him back to the hospital and then in a few days to the central jail's hospital. He was really great-full though that they never let his folks about. Another month he was out of the jail's infirmary and to a proper cell.

What did you do they asked him, killed a man he said, and liked it to, and quite likely will do it again he said with a grin. No one ever thought of troubling him after that. He's got the smile of a devil they said, the devil himself.

His first question however was, so when do you hang me? The answer left him stunned, far worse than the impact of the car. Four years, they said..."Four years?" he asked...It's a long list and we don't have enough 'jallads'. What do you mean long queue, how long could it possibly be. They told him and he almost crapped in his pants....

That night he couldn't sleep, four years, he couldn't live four years with those dreams, four years would drive him mad.

The next day was spent pacing about, the analyst in him was back into action. Every problem has a solution he told himself...It was post lunch time that the solution literally walked to him. A young lad, probably must've just crossed out of his teens approached him. "Bhaiya...aapko englisss aati hai?". He nodded "Bhaiyaa aap president saab ko mera pardun later likh dogey?" A pardon letter that was it, that was it!!!

He wrote to the President the same evening...Dear President of India, Have we not enough poverty in India that you must spend more money on us. We the condemned are enjoying the fruits of democratic labour for years and those outside, the innocents are dying of hunger. Where is the justice in that. As I understand you do not have enough 'jallads'. Well I volunteer my services. I am willing to pull that lever as many times a day as you can get your potbellied policemen to load it up with those lined up on the gallows. By the way how're the flowers this season, I heard the weather's been real nice and springy, have a good flower show on you're lawns."

He didn't know what the President's reaction to the letter was, but he was pretty sure it reached the intended destination because he was shifted out to a lone cell away from the main jail and was given a rations fitting for a licensed murderer, mutton and a quart of cheap rum. The first time he approached the gallows he wondered of all those who'd gone there before him, some who had gone there to hood the 'victim' and pull the lever...some who had the hood put on them and fallen through the trap doors with their eyes popping out...Pulling the lever the first time he didn't really feel any emotion, the body fell, the noose ran taught and crack went the neck, job over. It was the fourth day that his hand shook once, it was the young lad he had written to be pardoned. He puked that day, couldn't touch his food. After that, he found peace. He didn't know how, but he did. He didn't need the liquor, he gave up on the non veg. When he was not yanking the lever he was strolling about the jail talking to the prisoners, helping the elderly, teaching maths to the younger ones. The first day he did that, a gang had surrounded him, after all he was the one sending them to their deaths. He had smiled at them and said "Why do you think I'm doing this, I'm getting there as fast as I can, you want to send me home faster...be my guest" His answer left them wondering, he was "yamaraj" himself they said, some one actually fell down on the ground and lay prostate before him chanting some mantra, and then others followed suit. "These Romans are crazy" he said to himself. Since that day he was both feared and revered, not just among the inmates but by the police also.

One night his mother called out to him in his dreams. It had been two years and five days since he had last seen her. He finally requested a meeting. They came, there were tears, howls actually, he joked about the yamaraj bit, she laughed through her tears. He told her about the nightmares, how now they were gone. "Will you now come back?" she asked. "Every person has his destiny, this mine, don't feel bad, this is what the lord willed, even though through tragedy he has helped me find peace, you must too.

The next day was a rapist's turn. He had raped a cousin of the chap who'd been hit by his car he was told. He pulled the lever "bastard" escaped his lips. He went for a walk after that, came back to his room and slept...A month was left to his turn, but they never got that chance, the next ten people on the list were either pardoned or as if by a miracle acquitted.

There was a prayer ceremony in the jail for "Yamaraj" who had come to do his deed and taken the lives of those he had wanted to along with him....Just as was written in the scriptures...

....These Romans are Crazy...

5 comments :

Pesto Sauce said...

There are different ways of finding peace....some do by pulling levers, some by repentance

aria said...

wow.. loved it! what an unusual story and so very well-written .. gripped me by neck and didn't even let me budge for a minute..
I could manage to smile a few times in the midst of horror..

Dazediva said...

Brilliant piece of writing !
At one point I thought he might have actually killed the wife :P

~*SOLANKI PROPERTY CONSULTANTS*~ said...

Really nic article.... grt thought process.... @facebookraone@yahoo.in

Devi Priya priya said...

Win Exciting and Cool Prizes Everyday @ www.2vin.com, Everyone can win by answering simple questions.Earn points for referring your friends and exchange your points for cool gifts.