March 01, 2014

Untitled : Part 12

[Previous Part]

I turned around and looked ahead. In front were 2 burly figures. Only one of them was enough to take me out. Their faces were not recognizable because of the light beam from a vehicle behind them.

I remembered Parag. If only he had been here, he would have been able to rescue us out. He was the bully. If Parag had been here I had at least thought to fight them. But I was no match to them alone.

Amazingly though I wasn't afraid about what was going to happen to me. I just wanted Saara to be safe. I didn't want anything to happen to her on my watch. A part of me wanted to scream, "RUN SAARA, RUN! DON'T LOOK BACK. DON'T LOOK BACK. JUST RUN. SAARAAAA...". But my vocal chords were paralyzed with fear.

As the men slowly walked towards us, I looked at Saara. She was calm. How can you be so calm? What's wrong with you, Saara? But that comforted me a little too. 

As they came closer, I saw a shade of greyish green on their uniform. They were from police. I felt a little better. 

One of the men came up to me. He was at least half a foot longer than me, even though I was a respectable 5 feet 10. I looked up to him. A dark face with black goggles, moustache covering the face from ear to ear and a big mole on the right cheek. His belly could easily be used as a punching bag. I was sure, he would come in one of my future nightmares now. 

He sized me up, while the other man stood behind. Then he looked at Saara, ogling her for a little more than my comfort level. I felt enraged.

"Excuse me sir.". I barked. He looked at me again. "Do you need anything?".

The inspector looked confused. Then he uttered something. Again, it was in Telugu. I didn't get a word. Damn it, why can't I get an English or Hindi speaking person today?

His puzzling looks were on my face now. I looked at the other inspector. He was busy making his tobacco. He looked a little fairer than the black demon in front of me, moustache also was a tad bit shorter and lighter. I felt he was a work in progress, and after a few years he would develop into his senior. The Pokemon analogy came in mind. Com'n Rids, this is not the time to think about Japanese anime. I shook my head. 

I looked at the black demon again. "Who you?", he roared. I think he knew only that much English, but it was enough to send tremors down my spine. 

"I... I.. My name is Ritender. I am from Lucknow. I studied here for coming. I mean, I mean, I came here for studies. She is my... friend. Saara."

Aha... My friend Saara! When exactly did we become friends?, my rational brain was at work. But it was not the right time to listen to it. I ignored it for the moment, hoping Saara would understand too.

"What doing here?", he demanded.  "Alone lane...", and then he restarted his native monologue, only this time his voice was getting louder with each word. I looked at his eyes, they were cherry red. Black demon. Black demon.

The inspector behind seemed unperturbed about what was going on. He was enjoying his tobacco and looking at his mobile like a zen monk. May be he was trying to figure out how to operate a touch device.

I did not get a single character of what the black demon was trying to narrate to me. But I was sure, it wasn't good. My brain needed something to kill time, while the long speech was going on. I started to think what is going to happen now. He would give me a few tight slaps without any reason. That's what I had seen in movies. Then he would kick me into their jeep and take me away. Parag, Saif and Pankaj would have to come bail me out. They would then tell Maa, Papa. I was screwed. 

May be they will take Saara too to the police station. No, not Saara. I won't let that happen. 

"Inspector garu... ", a soft but warm voice interrupted the inspector's torrent of words and my train of thoughts. Inspector stopped his speech and looked at Saara. I followed suit. 

Saara then started her own brand of native verbal onslaught. The verbal duel continued for a few minutes. I didn't understand what they were discussing, but I was obviously rooting for Saara to win this battle of words. Saara held her fort calmly, and the inspector too for a change kept his volume in check.

How expressive she was right now. That kangan going up and down her wrist every time she moved her hands. That nose ring wobbling every time she sneered. And those raised eyebrows were perfectly symmetrical around the black dot on her forehead. I looked at her nails, they were uncharacteristically small. It was a good day for the inspector. I thought I was in charge of protecting a sparrow. But here we were witness a little lioness in Saara.

That other inspector was still gazing at his mobile like it was a Philosopher's stone, completely ignorant of what was going around his surrounding. I felt like punching him in the face, but he was much stronger than me. Common sense prevailed.

In the end Saara said something and looked at me. I caught just one word of that sentence - "Anna". I knew what that meant. The inspector also looked at me. He came closer and then put his burly hand over my shoulder. Then he said another big line and finally, "Ok na?".

I knew he wanted me to agree. My head nodded automatically without me having to put any efforts.

The 2 men went back to their jeep parked at the start of the lane and sat in it. The junior started the jeep, while the senior took a last look at us. He made a sign with his fingers. I did not know what it meant, but I took it as a warning. After that, they moved away.

After they left, Saara looked at me, sighed and said, "Let's Go. We will take a shared auto from the next road". Then she started to move.

But , only one word circling my head right now - Anna. Anna. Anna.

Did she... Did Saara call me her elder br...?. The other alternative of going to the police station felt so much better now.

 "Saara", I called her. Saara stopped at distance.

"What did you tell the inspector?"

Saara smiled. I tried to decipher what that smile meant. "Let's Go, we are getting late".

I followed her meekly. My heart had started to pound again. This time for another reason.

"Please, Saara. Tell me what did you say to the inspector?".

[To be Continued]