“Just wait for a minute, will be at your doorstep any moment,” I said to my friend, Anish. He was a regular middle class boy, who had never been to pub before and so, overexcitement and restlessness was drooling from his mouth. Since it is my birthday, I am taking few of my friends for a treat to a local pub here in Kolkata.
“Come down dude,” I called him up and honked twice. He came down in a hurry and stepped into my black Skoda Octavia which was my twenty-first birthday gift. He seemed to be pretty excited as I had mentioned earlier. From his residence I started towards the pub as my other friends were asked to reach the venue directly.
“Aah! Incognito,” he exclaimed “looks pretty funky.”
“Well it’s my favorite,” I replied “let’s step-in.”
Anish and I walked down in the cellar over the red carpet. He was quite mesmerized by the odd world charm of the pub.
“Hey people,” I greeted my friends at the entrance “sorry for being late.”
“It’s okay, birthday boys are allowed to be late,” one of the three of my friends replied to my apology.
“And by the way, he is my friend Anish,” I said, introducing Anish to them. They got familiar with each other soon and we stepped inside after getting our hands stamped so that we may make succession entries.
Incognito was a crossover pub with half world draped with red and half of them with black, probably to show it was unisex. Anish was still stunned as never before such loud and clean music had hit his ears. But he got used to it later. We also had a few glasses of liquor each and were a bit high as was our usual habit. Finally, it was time to leave.
“Okay people, let’s leave,” I said in a half drunk tone.
“You sure you will drive?” Anish asked in his part of doubt. Other’s hardly said anything as they knew of my habits.
“Dude, just sit and watch,” I replied and sat in the car.
We were high in spirits and with Pink Floyd playing; life seemed to be enjoyed every bit of. Suddenly, due to wet roads, the car skidded and made way into a bus stop where a couple of people were waiting for their last hour buses to arrive.
I was too stunned to retaliate. I just let out a squeal and fell unconscious on the wheel. As soon as I came back to my senses, I found myself behind bars and my friends across what seemed to me like the LoC. I also came to know that the people I had rammed in were seriously injured but were out of danger.
“Get me out of here as fast as possible people,” I screamed. It was midnight and my voice echoed across the police station and woke up the constable who was sound asleep. He was least amused and signaled me to be quiet and asked my friends to leave.
“Appoint the best lawyer for me and get me out of here as soon as possible and yes, don’t care about money,” I requested. “Whatever money it takes, work it out soon and inform my father about it, he would do it.”
It was a horrible thought of spending the night in a prison. It was totally dark inside, only the dim light that apparently lit up the police station. I sat thinking about what is there in store for me when I realized that I was not alone in there. I stared hard and observed another person who seemed to be a teenager of about my age, only probably suffering of anorexia. I went near him and tapped his shoulder lightly. He lifted his head up and appeared quite nonplussed as if he wasn’t aware of me.
“Uh-oh! Whho are you?” he asked surprisingly. His face more bewildered than before.
“Hello!” I greeted him, “my name is Roshan Kapoor, you might have heard of me sometime back?”
“Oh yes,” he replied, “the son of the industrialist Ramesh Kapoor.” He was friendlier now. He hadn’t been inside since long I guessed as the news wasn’t old either, I concluded. My father keeps featuring in the newspapers as he is the king of the party circuit apart from being the one of the biggest industrialist in the state.
“How long have you been here and what are the charges against you?” I asked in a monotone. The question was very straight forwardly put and was too quick according to me. But it didn’t surprise him. He was probably longing to talk to someone and he obviously found a friend in me.
“I have been here for around two years,” he started and I was amazed. It was one in the midnight and I didn’t feel like sleeping and this probably, was the night of amazement “I keep track of outside world through newspapers which I get once in a week.”
“I had been charged for the murder of my neighbor, Diwakar that I actually committed and there was no one to defend me as there were hundreds of eyewitnesses around who saw me with blood ridden dagger in my hand,” he paused for a quick sip of water and continued, “The incident took place amidst Diwakar’s wedding. He was getting married to another friend of mine who once loved me. I was aware of Diwakar’s behavior with women and even during his marriage proceeding, he was eyeing another girl who blew a flying kiss to him. Now, I was already in a rage since morning after a heated up argument with my wife. So this fuelled my rage as I didn’t want my friend’s life to be spoiled. A rage of fury aroused in me and the dagger I always carried with me for safety was inside his veins. In no time he was dead and the witnesses carried me to the police station. When in court, I was in no mood to defend myself. As for my family, I had invested enough money for them to survive till my death.”
Now, the word death came very harsh on me. I was quiet after listening to his story. What a time, I have to spend a whole night with a murderer, psychic case that too. I didn’t want to spend my fun filled days in prison. What a birthday gift I got and how it went a waste. Why did I drive in drunken condition? Why didn’t I listen to Anish’s warnings?
All these questions went revolving in my head like a spinning wheel when the murderer spoke.
“My name is Alex Patrick,” he said. Hmm, the name did sound familiar. Okay, I read it in the newspaper.
“Okay, I will probably sleep now. Will tell you my story when I wake up,” I said and laid flat on the floor. I didn’t believe that I was sleeping on the floor, that too a rough, dusty floor. How I missed my comfortable bed and my soft pillow. All these thoughts compelled me to not to sleep but soon, I was asleep.
Next morning, I waited for someone who would take me out of this dark cell, out to the bright world. I was thinking of being free when my parents came towards my cell. I was very happy to see them.
“Good morning son,” my dad greeted me, “how was the night?”
“You are asking me?” I replied.
“See Roshan,” he replied “I tried my best to get you out of here but all I could do is to spare you from the harsh punishment you would have got.”
I remained quiet with my head bowed. I looked back to see the ‘murderer’. He was still asleep.
“Even after my best efforts,” he felt silent for a moment and then said “you will still get a minimum of two years in prison. So, I guess you have to spend your time in here. At least, you would learn something. Sorry!”
I figured that my father was probably fed up of my habits and wanted me to stay in the prison. My mom was adamant and didn’t speak a word though I expected her to respond.
Saying so, he turned to leave. I shouted from a distance but my shouts were unheard. I felt like a horse slapped by his master for loosing a race. I turned my tear-wet face and saw that Alex was looking at me. His eyes fixed on mine.
“Well, well, well, that’s good,” he said, grinning “perhaps I found someone well suited for my task.”
“Task, what task?”
His grin became more prominent and eyes more mysterious. I had seen that look before and was scared.
“This task,” he took out some pieces made of material which shined like metal.
“What are those?” I asked.
“They are pieces of dynamites and other disastrous material which we would use for getting out of here.”
“Where did you get them from and why do you need me for that?” I asked, still confused and more scared than before.
“My wife gets them for me on her visits and I was waiting for a literate person who would read and explain me the parts,” he said, still with a sheepish grin on his face “and then, you would be my prey to get out of here.”
He gave a shrill cry of laughter. I thought of calling the police but there was no one to hear or to respond.