Friday, April 24, 2009


"This is perhaps the most intriguing case FBI has ever encountered." Ron said to Brown. Both of them were very able officers of FBI. Ron Crick was senior to Steve Brown, despite the two being very close friends on a personal level.

"Certainly. Three murders, three different locations at the same time, and with the same revolver. It’s frigging impossible!" Brown exclaimed in wonder. The complication of the case could put anybody thoughtful.

"Call Francis. I am assigning this case to him."

"How could... I mean how could you assign that case to a tyro like him? He has been with us for just 10 days, though he did make an impression, but handing over such a delicate case to him...wouldn't it create an issue?" Brown said, doubting Ron's decision with great disbelief.

"Francis is sheer genius. Haven't you seen the brilliance he exhibited in the last case - Linda Carey's murder mystery? That case was hanging for about 3 months, and that guy solved the thing in just one hour and that too in his mind. No paper, no evidences ... just in his mind. This is what you call genius!"

"Yeah, he did the impossible, but still! This one is not that easy nut to crack. We haven't encountered such a complicated case like this ever before. What about the authorities? Won't they question your decision if you give such a big case to a beginner?" Brown was worried.

"Francis won't give them enough time to question my decision. Two days at max and the job is done! That's what Francis is all about! Call him in my chamber." Ron said.

God forbid for his name not being Sherlock Holmes. Even Sherlock Holmes would have tough time competing with him. He solved 15 cases - eight of which were pending for over two months - in just 10 days. His genius proved to be a matter of envy for all his colleagues, not even sparing the senior officials like Brown. Just 10 days of joining the FBI, Francis Dawson had shown his mettle across the branches in the country.

"Good Morning Sir... I mean Sirs." A voice of grave baritone came from the throat of a short bespectacled young-fellow standing near the ottoman. He had just entered the room making no noise, neither footsteps nor the door's creak. His attire was nothing spectacular, with crumpled pants, a furry blazer and dishevelled hair giving his appearance a tinge of mystery.

"Mornin' Francis. How you doin'? Come have a seat. So, are you enjoying your work here?" Ron asked in a pleasant voice. He signalled the secretary for a coffee.

"Yes Sir, the work culture is very good. Some of the pending cases were really mind-boggling but I enjoyed every bit of time I spent with them. Especially in the last couple of cases, they seemed really challenging to me. It took me almost one day to solve them." Francis exclaimed expressing the amount of difficulty the last two cases posed for him.

"That case was pending for more than two months, anyway, leave all those past glories. I've a new case for you! Certainly far more challenging than the previous one." Ron said. Brown looked towards him with a doubtful face.

"That's quite interesting. What it is about?" Francis said. His face shone and eyes sparkled, his curiosity quite evident from his face.

"First have a coffee, Dawson." Ron said seeing his secretary coming with a tray of coffee with three mugs.

"How do you do it Mr. Dawson?" Brown suddenly broke his long spell of silence.

"Do what, Mr. Brown?" Francis looked into Brown's eyes with a questioning look.

"Solve mysteries. Your sheer genius in the cases you've been. You are a matter of envy for many." Brown said, definitely envied.

"A matter of pride, isn't it what you mean Brown?" Ron stared at Brown sternly. Francis remained indifferent to Ron.

"It's nothing genius sir. I just think from a criminal's perspective. If I had been the criminal what I would have done to accomplish that task with utmost perfection? After studying the crime-site, you need just around 15-20 minutes of mind-work for the execution of the crime in your head and you're done. It's simple...actually very simple." Francis said in a humble tone.

"So coming to the point. Yesterday, three murders took place at three different places - Wimpole Street, Mall road and Ormond Garden Area at around 5:30 pm in the evening - all at almost the same time. The forensic expert analyzed the bodies and what he has come out with has blown our minds. The murderer shot three 21.9 mm flat-point bullets in each of the body. All those bullets bear exactly the same dent which predicts that all of the three murders have been carried out by the same revolver. But how? How could it happen at around the same time? The places are almost two hours away from each other even if we use the fastest transportation means." Ron said. He looked towards Francis in hope and anticipation to note what the genius' response was.

Francis was silent. He did not respond at all. His eyes were resting upon the window, his fingers juggling the small paper-weight that was there on the table and his face blank.

"I told you Mr.Crick that you can't blindly trust anybody. See, he too is confused, rather he's struggling. Is this what you call genius?" Brown seized the open opportunity to criticize the maven. Francis was not affected at all.

"Just give him some time Brown. Keep your gibber inside your throat." Ron rebuked irritably.

"I..." Brown was interrupted by Ron's index finger on his lips.

The pause continued. Two minutes passed. None of them spoke. Brown, irritated at both of them, stood up and walked away from the room.

A dozen multiples of two-minutes passed. The lull prevailed. Ron's faith in Francis didn't depreciate. Francis' eyes were still resting upon the window, his fingers however stopped the juggling task and his expression was moving towards the brighter side. Suddenly, he exclaimed, "I solved it!"

Bewildered Ron could utter just one word, "How?"

Francis, with a childlike excitement, answered ...


This was what Zafar read in the weekly magazine MEDLEY's story-section. With bubbling anger and rising impatience for the long wait he would have to do for the next week's issue, he threw the magazine in the hearth and went to sleep.

P.S. Wanna kill me, isn't it?
P.S. If I had continued to solve that mystery, the story would be in the category of 'yet another thriller', but now it's graffiti - unique and different. I regard this one as my most innovative creation.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love Story

Once upon a time in the small town of Muzaffarnagar.
Manu never expected that one day his obsession for books would teach him so much in just one day.

12th April, 2009
"I am leaving this town on 12th April evening forever. My Father has decided to send me to Delhi for graduation. I didn't have the courage to tell you about all this personally since I know that I would never be able to conceal my emotions and I would end up hurting you in some way.

Before I leave this place, I want to let you know how important are you for me. There have been moments of fun, of joy and even of fights in between us and when I look back to those moments, I cherish every second that I spent with you. Your mere presence in my life has touched it to the core. You are the only person with whom I can share my feelings without any second thought. I don't know whether you have the same feelings for me or not, but before I leave this town, I must tell what you mean to me. People say that you hear bells ringing when you fall in love, but for me I can just hear one thing and that is my heart throbbing every time you are near me. I love you and will always love you come what may.
Through this beautiful book 'Love Story', I wish to begin another beautiful love story.

I will be waiting for your reply till 12th. If you don't have feelings for me, then for my sake don't reply to this letter. It is always better to be hopeful for something rather than being heart-broken for life. I promise that I will never bother you again.

Always yours,
6th April"

16 years old Manu was startled. This letter fell out of his newly purchased second-hand Eric Segal's 'Love Story' while he was juggling the book in air.

He turned the first page of the book, the name was Samridhi Kakkar, City College dated 8th April '09. Eyes were stirred with amazement - just seven days old book found in a second-hand bookstall. He felt responsible for something - The Chosen One for helping in the initiation of someone's beautiful love story.

"This Samridhi must haven't skimmed through the book, the letter in particular. I must try to reach out to her and hand this to her. It is a matter of love, after all. And I 'definitely' know what love means!" He thought.

At the college
The next five hours were difficult time for Manu. He straightaway went to the City College which was closed, 12th April being a Sunday. However, the office was open and there was just one staff who was too preoccupied in making a syrup out of the betel leaves in his mouth.

Manu enquired, "Bhaiya, can you give me the address of someone named Samridhi Kakkar in your institute."

The staff spat making a red heart-shape on the stained yellow wall and rebuked, "How could I give somebody's residential address to any stranger? Kuch chai paani, kuch bhi nahin, aa jaate hain log."

Manu, took out 20 rupees note from his pocket and handed to the guy. "Bhaiya it's important. Please hurry up." Manu said in quite a disgusted tone.

The staff slid the note in his shirt pocket and began to search through the register cursorily.

"What name did you say? Kakkar?" The staff asked in a garbled tone balancing a tablespoonful of the red syrup in his mouth. He was adept in this task of balancing.

"Yes, please hurry." Manu said, he wanted to finish off this responsibility as quickly as possible.

"If you are in so much haste, then do it yourself." The staff chided gulping another triangle of betel in his blood-red mouth.

Manu went towards the register, searched frantically and two minutes later he had a piece of paper adorned with the address - "Samridhi Kakkar, Sahni's girl's hostel, Cavalry lane."

He rushed to the place as quickly as he could.

At the Hostel's reception
"Can you call Samridhi Kakkar?" Manu asked.
"Samridhi, Room no. A-16, please come to reception." The guard announced.

Exactly 3 minutes, 34 seconds later
A good looking young girl of the age-group of 19-21 came to the reception.

"Hi, I am Manu Ujjwal. I purchased this book today at the Nalanda Bookstores. It bears your name." Manu went forward and said.

"Hi. Yeah, I sold that book a couple of days ago, even without reading it. So what brings you here?" Samridhi said, quite courteously.

"Why did you sell it? I heard it's a good book." Manu said, ignoring Samridhi's last question completely. He was still unable to initiate a talk about the letter.

"The start of the book - it was like 'What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died. That she was beautiful and brilliant.' I hate sad love stories." She said quite glibly.

"Where did you get this book from?" Manu asked.

"A friend of mine gifted it to me. Why are you asking me so many questions?"

"I found this in your book. I am sorry that I read it, it is quite personal." Manu said handing over the letter - the love letter to Samridhi.

She was puzzled. She read through it, her eyes were wet and her voice broke. She wiped her tears, gathered herself and said, "Thank you so much. You don't know what it means to me. I love Kiran from the last two years but never could convey my feelings to him. I was afraid that he does not like me. But, you have saved me from a sin. Thank you, thank you brother."

Manu smiled. The 16 years old had found a sister in her.

At Kiran's Place
"Come with me, I want you to meet Kiran. You are a Messiah for us." Samridhi said and took Manu with her towards a house on the parallel road. Reaching the fences, she called, "Kiran" when a handsome young lad came out.

"Hi Sam, how are you?" He smiled towards both of them as he moved out of his portico.

Samridhi ran forward and hugged him tightly. Kiran was confused with this sudden public display of affection and something more.

"You dumbass, where are you going without me? And why the hell were you afraid of telling me personally. If it were not Manu, I would have lost you forever. Thank him."

"What the hell are you talking about? I am going, what non sense. And who is he? Stop kidding Sam. April fool's day has long been gone!" Kiran shrieked quite irritably and pushed her out of his hug-field. Manu was bewildered. His newly awaken sister-safeguarding feeling haunted his mind, yet he was too stunned to react to Kiran's creepy behaviour.

"You know everything." Samridhi was nonplussed with his annoyance.

"What thing? What are you talking about?" Kiran said.

"Thank you Kiran, you made me feel so special! I love you too." Samridhi said.

"I like you too but isn't it quite a bizarre way to propose? I would have loved if you did it in a much serene way. And what feeling special are you talking about?" Kiran was very badly confused.

Samridhi took out the letter from the book and handed it over to Kiran. Kiran's eyes rushed through the letter. His face was transformed into a living sweat source. He frantically pulled his cellphone out, and stared at the date - 12th April and time - 3.30 pm. His eyes were transfixed to the letter, which was all wet after having a bath of sweat and tears together.

The Long Run
Holding his tears as well as the letter he started running frantically. Sam and Manu were perplexed. They followed him like wild dogs after a piece of meat. After five minutes of marathon, Kiran neared a house where a short-and-cute girl with bags in her hand had just boarded a rickshaw. He ran towards the rickshaw and shouted, "Kiran!"

The girl turned back, her eyes filled with tears of joy and a zillion-dollars smile on her face clearly showing that she is happiest one out there in this world. The marathon runner reached his finished line when his sweaty T-shirt struck against his Kiran's bosom and he heaved a cry of joy and the other Kiran echoed.

Samridhi tear grands also became active, but with a gracious smile embellishing her beautiful face. She was feeling really happy for Kiran - both of them, and now she really felt that what it is to be in love.

5 Minutes Later
"Kiran? You both are Kiran?" Manu asked, with a childlike curiosity.

"Yes." The Kirans replied with a smile worth millions.

"Thank Manu. If you are together, then it's because of him." Sam said after wiping out every form of liquid from her face.

"Thank you. How did the book reach you?" The lady Kiran asked seeing Eric Segal's Love Story in Manu's hand .

"Let me explain", Lord Kiran began, "You gifted me this book with the letter inside and I passed it on to Samridhi the next day on her birthday without even opening it."

The lady Kiran was disappointed but the joy of togetherness overpowered the trifle disappointment.

"And then when I read the first line - 'What you can say about a twenty-five-year-old woman who died?' I got detested. I hate sad love stories. I sold it to a second hand bookstore without even knowing that there was something inside it." Samridhi continued the story.

"And that's when the Messiah came!" Manu laughed out.

All about love
And then there was lull. A two minutes long pause.

"Thank you Sam for being pleasant all throughout. I am sorry that I ran so suddenly without giving you any hint. I just could not wait after reading that letter. I hope you didn't mind how I behaved to you even though you liked me." Lord Kiran said graciously breaking the enigmatic silence.

"That's no problem. I cannot express how happy I am for you two. And regarding my liking for you, clearly, she loves you more than me." Samridhi said with a tearful smile. And all three of them hugged, finally squeezing the young Messiah between them.

I hate sad love stories." Samridhi's often repeated phrase echoed in Manu's mind.

"Clearly, Samridhi loves Kiran more than anybody else." Manu realized. Manu now 'definitely' knew what love meant.

P.S. Love is not measured by what you can 'give' for its sake, it is what you can 'give up' for its sake - Harsh.

Shorter Story : That 'THING' called love

Week I
"Don't ask about my past!" She said.

He didn't ask. He thought there must have been something quite distressing that might have happened to her, so he shouldn't ask. Curiosity multiplied as seconds ticked away. However, he kept his curiosity to himself.

He was a nice guy(and stupid too), the kind of guys who can be classified as an endangered species nowadays. It was their first talk. She asked his number ~ through net on that day itself after an hour long chat. He did not notice her experience ~ 15000 scraps and a dozen of flirty testimonials, rather was just awed with her choice of words and spontaneity(an euphemism for experience!).

He was in Delhi and she was in Bangalore. Distance was no obstruction since phone lines are always ready to be burnt ~ thanks to reliance on Reliance.

She called him. She started flirting with him. His handsome Orkut pic attracted all those polishing words. He was enjoying every bit of it - it was the first time in his life that it happened the reverse way. Quite a naive(and stupid) guy!

Week II
"I like you." She said. He felt perhaps this is what is called love.

"I like you too." He said with a flattered smile embellishing his cute face.

Talks increased. Even wildest experiences were not spared. He spread his life like an open book in front of her. She listened to him with her chat engine on. He was too gullible(and stupid too) to take a note of it. Plus, she did not tell a thing about her so-called past.

Week III
Thoughts about her clouded his stupid mind. She was good looking and she liked him. What more could he desire. He liked her too. His obsessive thoughts were given a break when she called.

"We both like each other. Why not go to another level?" She started. He was startled. Things had been made easy for him. He did not need to take an initiative. He just needed to say a simple word 'Yes'. He did it.

"Yes, I am ready." He said glibly(and quite stupidly).

"I love you!" She shot the wonderful phrase to his heart. It pierced through creating a wound of joy and he was ecstatic. Everything was so sudden for him. Like all of it had been already written by the Creator himself. He felt grateful to everything around him. Exhaling his long held breath, he said it himself - for the first time in his stupid life.

"I love you too." He said, quite shyly(and stupidly).

Week IV
She was happy. She asked him to mail his snaps. He mailed them. She showed them to her friends. He was looking really handsome. Friends were jealous, she could smell them burning. Her love(oh really, love?) stayed beautiful the whole week. He was all happy, swimming in the sea of love, with her as his lovely partner ~ as lovely as a piranha! Phone bills catapulted to the ceiling... he was relishing even this thing! Stupid!

Her scraps increased from 15000 to 17000. He was not its cause however. He didn't know about it at all since he had been too busy trying different swimming strokes in that algal sea of love. He trusted her. I told you he was too naive(and stupid too).

Week V
Something had gone wrong. He was too stupid to know what was it. There had been no arguments or anything whatsoever. But things were not smooth. He was still swimming though, he found in himself a good swimmer.

There were no calls or message. It was two days now. He was worried. He tried her phone, it was switched off. He switched on his laptop, logged on Orkut - his professional match-maker. He checked her scrapbook. She was talking to someone new...and somewhat more handsome than him, as his profile pic displayed. He checked Mr.Handsome's scrapbook where she had scribbled -

"Don't ask about my past!"

He (stupidly)realized that he had been swimming with a shark. He drowned surviving a brutal attack but now he was no more naive and neither stupid.

P.S. Dedicated to all the nice(and stupid) guys. The world needs your courtesy in the gatekeeping of hotels and department stores- your holding open of doors, your party escorting services, your propensity to be a sucker for a pretty smile is not required to please the sharks out here.


Somewhere around 1987
"The seconds hand ticked away passing cross 2:23 am of night. There was an abominable lull around when some footsteps tried to break it through. A bag in hand, footsteps as silent as the lull emerged through the darkness with a veil as dark as darkness concealing the light within. The door was unbolted and the footsteps now had the liberty to make noise on the newly built asphalt road of Sonamura, a tiny town of Tripura. Aliyah hurried her footsteps near the street corner at the local chowk to prevent any unwanted encounters and turned to catch that one last glimpse of the house that crafted her childhood."

'Umar, go and bring me a kg of sugar.' Umar's mother screamed from the kitchen.

'Umar, are you even listening?' The pitch of the voice increased and shook the man-in-need from his visibly mesmerizing concentration spell.

'Yes Ma!' Umar screamed in his partially occupied voice.

'Go get a kg of sugar and don't loiter around unnecessary. Plenty of studies to be completed.'

The 15 years old lad got up, hiding the second-hand book with its yellow pages and tattered cover beneath the bundle of the newspapers. If his mother knew about his hobby of reading novels hidden inside his course books, all his novels would be metamorphosed into a heap of ash in a single second. He took a jute bag in his hand and went to fulfill his mother wishes - of bringing her a kg of sugar.

'What would have prompted Aliyah to leave her home? Was she an orphan? Were her guardians mistreating her? Was she eloping with someone? What would happen...will she be able to escape?' Questions encompassing diverse possibilities piqued his thoughts during his short journey to the market. Five minutes of pondering and he was back with a kg of sugar, enthusiastically ready to carry on with his novel.

He searched for the bundle of newspapers. Oh! They were not present. He searched frantically around everywhere in the room but he could not trace even a single bit of it.

'Ma, what happened to the papers - the newspapers?' Umar was confused.

'I sold it. The whole bundle. The paperwala gave 30 rupees for that - 4.5 kilos in total.' Umar's mother reassured him with a smile.

Woah! Umar was frenzied. He could not even react in front of his Ma, since it would make his secret hobby quite obvious and attract fatal beatings. And regarding the book, the only thing he remembered other than its thickness and the shade of the yellow pages it contained, was the name of the author - Tareeq Habeeb, which was mentioned after the acknowledgments in the beginning of the novel. The tattered cover and the withered initial few pages being the reason for the misfortunes.

'Curse my luck! With 50 rupees a month as pocket money what more can I expect? A second-hand book in a condition a bit better than rags! And that too lost. Damn!' Umar was agitated.

Days passed, weeks passed, months passed. But the enigma of the story of Aliyah never left his mind. It had become his regular habit of going through every book at every book-store that came across him, in search of that long lost book of his. He found every other book written by Habeeb in the bookshop but Aliyah never turned up.

His nights would end up in predicting what might have happened to Aliyah and his day would begin with reasons why she left her home.

Somewhere around 2008

Months passed, years passed, decades past. School passed, college passed and now he was in job.
The 15 years old lad was now a well known journalist in 'The Chronicle'. His hobby of reading novels landed him in the career of writing. With occupation and preoccupation, his obsession with Aliyah was by now subdued, but his subconscious mind still traced back the reasons of her leaving the home. His habit of checking every book-store still persisted - less frequent though as he never found the same book.

One day, his boss came up to him and asked, 'There is a literary festival going on at the Sahitya Academy. This is the list of the authors I want you to take personal interviews. You need to be there in half an hour.'

He took the list and his eyes fell out of his skull with just a sight at the first name. Tareeq Habeeb it was. Memories of long forgotten Aliyah struck his mind with a great force. His obsession was renewed and that too with a new spirit. His only unfulfilled desire had been fulfilled.

Reaching the Sahitya Academy, Umar made himself comfortable in the green room where he was allotted just 15 minutes to interview the author Habeeb. Tareeq Habeeb - 92 years old with just one teeth surviving in his mouth and beautifully crafted wooden stick supporting his fragile body entered the green room. Umar stood in reverence and helped the author to place his bony body up on the chair. He was so thin that even a blow of air from mouth could shatter him into pieces.

'Hello Sir. It's a great pleasure meeting you. I have been intrigued by one of your novel for decades!' Umar began.

'Oh really! That's the first time I am receiving such a praise. I hope you have been intrigued in a positive sense.' He laughed in his jerky and wobbly style giving his body a full throttle shake.

'Definitely sir, I started one of your novels, I don't remember the title though but yeah I remember the character in it. It was Aliyah. She leaves her home at night and runs away. What a start sir, what a marvelous start! I had such a misfortune that I could not read more than one page of that novel of yours. I searched for that book around and around but I could not get that.'

'Oh that's The Death of Honour. That has not been quite successful at the market. Its sale dropped in the second month after publishing and I had to withdraw it back from the market.' Habeeb said with another of that saucy wobble.

'It had a wonderful start though! I would be grateful if you could tell me what happened later. I have been waiting for this day for decades. Please tell me the story of Aliyah...what happened to her?'

'Oh Aliyah! She was just a minor character in the novel. Actually, all that description of Aliyah was a part of the dream of the main character of the novel - Abdul. She had a role of just two pages until Abdul's dream finishes with the painful sound of his alarm clock.' Habeeb said with another wobble giving a full stop to his statement. It looked as if he was getting an electric shock. Umar was flabbergasted. He experienced another kind of shock - which does not shake oneself rather makes one static!

P.S. This interview ended with just the above conversation and Umar spoiled the subsequent Q-A sessions too. Umar's boss became really disappointed with his inefficiency. However, his disappointment took its time and vanished two months later when Umar Taufeeq's novel titled 'The Story of Aliyah' was nominated for the Man Bookers' Prize in 2009.

P.S. It's a total work of fiction.

Hell Ride

"100 rupiya," the serious faced autowala brashly. The fare-meters in the Delhi autos are placed just for display, as we all know, there is no point any auto-wala would agree on the metered-rate.

With just two seconds of mind-dwindling Anoushka with her friend Swati boarded the auto. She was going towards Vasant Vihar for the first time in her three years long stay in Delhi. So she had no idea what's the ideal fare for the distance while the autowala too was looking gratified(in a unique way) having encountered zero tryst with bargaining.

Her friend-cum-roommate Swati had to fill up the JNU entrance test form and Anoushka was more than eager to accompany her, after all it gave her an evident break from the irksome books of History, whose exams were waiting around the corner with a sly smile.

"It's so very sultry. Summers came so soon," Swati switched on her loudspeaker.
"Really," Anoushka said staring at the meter affixed in the auto quite curiously.

She switched on the meter, without the notice of the autowala, and whispered to Swati, "This way we would be able to bargain for the fare for the return journey, since we would come to know the exact fare for the place."

Swati, quite indifferent to Anoushka's smartness replied quite audibly, "We are wise enough not to be fooled by these dumbass auto-drivers."

"Madamji, have you read the newspaper today?" The autowala suddenly found a thing called tongue hiding in his mouth.

"No, not exactly. What's so special about it?" Swati said.

"Zaroor iski photo nikli hogi!" Anoushka remarked in a very low volume and both of them sparked into a wild laughter.

"Madam, it is nothing to laugh about. Since you have boarded my auto, it is my duty to make you aware about something. A week ago, a dead body of a woman was found in the ridge in Kamla Nagar area. The body was traced and it was found out that it was the dead body of a student of DU itself."

Their laughter had taken a U-turn and went back to its place of hiding.

"So what is so special about it in 'today's' newspaper?" Swati said in a grave tone. The sudden advent of a portable newschannel in the form of autowala seemed quite bizarre to them.

"The murderer was caught. It was an auto-wala." The autowala said. The noises of the crowd around came to a standstill for the bubbly duo. They were not only looking serious but also smelling so! ... being sweat drenched.

"The murderer was a licensed auto-driver and the girl boarded his auto late at night from the railway station. The girl didn't know the way where she was to go and that bastard took her near a secluded place, took all her money and tried to assault her. And when she resisted, he did the unmentionable and finally strangled her."

The meter was clicking with time and was at 21.70 rupees, but their eyes were completely unaware the meter. Their eyes were paralyzed, throat parched and breaths uneven. Taken aback with elements of fear as well as rage at the same time, their eyes kept staring at point of no focus.

"Bhaiya, ab bas bhi karo! We are not interested in knowing all this." Anoushka said irritably.

"Ok Madamji, but just reflect upon the condition. You girls sit in an auto and affix your phone up on your ears, having no idea where the auto-driver is taking you. He might divert from the way while you remain lost in having those lovey-dovey talks with your boyfriends and what-not? What do you expect out of us uneducated auto-drivers if you girls wear mini and micros and sit on the back seat of the auto? You two are cultured few, with decent robes but think about those chicks from your own universities who have nothing more than a small piece of rag to cover themselves up! They actually instigate any crime - the victim is only the convict!"

"Haan, bhaiya! You are right! Can you drive a little faster?" Anoushka urged to bring on this question session to an end. The meter had just crossed the thirty rupees mark, still some distance to go.

"Sure madamji. What I want to advise you is to be alert. Know your way and check whether the auto-wala is talking to someone over the mobile phone or not, because any evil cannot be performed single-handedly. Carefully note the number plate before you board the auto and if the autowala looks suspicious then just get down as and when possible."

"We are getting late bhaiya! Can't you speed up a bit?" Swati asked, this time a bit sternly.

"There is this short cut here, it will take just five minutes to go." The auto-wala said and drifted the auto towards the short cut. Innumerable trees on both the sides, numerable dogs - with face like wolves around - and not a single vehicle was all the four beautiful eyes could see. It was a boulevard of abnormal lull with the noise of auto buzzing around.

The eyes of the duo were appalled with danger. The sudden movement of the autowala 's right hand caught Anoushka's attention and what he took out of his pocket boiled up more than a litre of her blood.

It was not a dagger, nor a revolver neither anything that could harm anyone. It was just a simple mobile-phone, the thing which helps you disturb your bf/gf during their sleep! The duo were horrified to the maximum.

"Stop! I said 'stop'! Will you stop it!" Anoushka screamed out at her maximum volume pervading through all the lull and mystic stillness. The auto was braked after a much noisy screech of the tyre!

"What happened madamji?" The autowala asked quite genuinely.

"Take your 100 bucks and get lost otherwise I will call the police." Swati lost her temper this time.

"What did I do? What mistake did I commit! I just made you aware!" The autowala pleaded.

"Just get lost." Both of them screamed and turned back and forged ahead as fast as they could towards the main road. The autowala moved back to his auto. He pushed the crispy 100 rupees note in his shirt pocket. He saw the meter stagnating at 45 rupees. He did nothing unusual. He just restarted it and rode past them leaving them in a sea of dust behind the auto, with their heartbeat still struggling to get back to the normal with frequent step-ups due to the barking of the wolf-like-dogs. But nevertheless, they were happy to see that the main road was now quite visible near the horizon.

1 hour later

Swati bought the newspaper and after much exploration she found a news about an auto-driver headlined, "Auto-driver or a Hell-rider", with an excerpt from it quoted below:

Professionally, he is not a criminal but he has a special expertise in relating the criminal activities in explicit details. Seven cases against this unknown auto-driver have been registered. A story teller with great precision, he convinces girls that there exists some imaginary auto driver who is less of a driver and more of a rapist, and in the midway the passengers are convinced that the criminal is the driver himself ... passengers entrapped in fear pay him the full fare and run away to get rid of his company ... Most of the victims are college going girls...especially the outspoken and the over-stylish ones...Beware!

Swati shrieked, "Dumbass!"

P.S. Inspired from a true incidence.
P.S. If you don't comment, I will give you a hell ride!
P.S. The advices that the auto-wala gave are still universal. It has not yet happened but no wonder it may. Crime can resurface anytime anywhere. Just be alert!