Namita knew she was prostitute now. Worse, she knew she was a puppet in the Sub Inspector's hands. She was completely powerless, she was completely debased and she hated it. She hated Tony the pimp for his hand in it, but more than anybody else, she hated Gaitonde the policeman.
This business about 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' is greatly misunderstood. One traditionally thinks of housewives turning nasty and throwing saucepans and rolling pins. Sometimes, people think of mistresses. Rarely, if ever, does it apply to prostitutes.
Also this thing about 'Behind every great man, there is a great woman'. The phrase is understood as being applicable to wives who are extremely tolerant and supportive. It's rarely about the noble and selfless deeds of a prostitute.
In the case of Gaitonde, however, this second phrase was perfectly applicable. One year was too short a period for out-of-turn promotions to materialize in the Mumbai Police, but Sub Inspector Gaitonde was tipped to become an Inspector within the next couple of years, and even get a bravery award for a brave deed that had been performed when he was wisely not present. The police constable who had performed the brave deed of shooting an armed but fleeing wanted man in the posterior had wisely decided to renounce his rights as a trade-off for Namita's weekly services, which were now the stuff of fables in the entire police force. Gaitonde had earned the admiration of his inferiors, the goodwill of his peers and the warm approval of his superiors. MLAs and MPs of all parties wished him well, and showered their benediction upon this low-ranking cop.
Financially too, Gaitonde had done well since that raid on Surahi Bar one year ago. His shabby one-bedroom hall-kitchen house, in which he, his skinny wife and his brood of four skinny daughters lived crammed with his aged parents, had been repainted and refurnished, and a new two-bedroom hall-kitchen flat in a better locality had been booked with a hefty down-payment. Everybody in the household gained weight, and his wife started visiting the beauty parlour every week.
Funnily, nobody asked where all this prosperity was coming from. Gaitonde was forever receiving calls on his brand-new mobile phone, even while he was at home, and many of them were about an appointment with Namita. Whenever he went to the toilet, leaving his mobile on the dressing-table, Mrs Gaitonde would take his messages, and respectfully convey to him that someone had phoned to ask about Namita.
The Sub Inspector waited in eager anticipation for his wife to ask him, “Who is this Namita?”, so that he could have the satisfaction of beating her up. “Your sauten! You pot-bellied whore, how many times have I told you not to ask about matters that don't concern you?!!”, he yelled at her triumphantly in his daily fantasies. Unfortunately, his wife never gave him the satisfaction of doing that in real life. The richer and more successful he grew, the meeker she grew in her behaviour. She never questioned him about his whereabouts or his lack of interest in sex.
Namita was the great woman behind this great man. She was also a great woman scorned. What he had done with Henderson was ok with her. That someone should want to take advantage of this big white bombla did not surprise her in the least. But she felt completely debased and used in the way Gaitonde had done it without taking her into confidence. She wouldn't have minded being slapped or having her clothes torn off her if the cop had given her a little advance notice of his intentions.
But as things stood, he had betrayed his total disregard for her opinion on that night, and the morning after, by telling her to stay at her slum house when she was not doing people sent by him.
Henderson had no real cause to fear, because there had been no medical test, and no case was registered against him. Just as there was no Deepya Murder Case in existence. Gaitonde was blackmailing both Henderson and Tony without putting anything in writing. He was careful never to commit anything to paper that might lead to a real investigation, which might lead to his investments or his sources of money. Namita knew this, because he had told her so himself after one of his drunken sessions.
She waited for many days for Tony and Henderson to visit her, as Gaitonde had told her he would. She didn't know whether she would have told them all, but she might have, if they were nice to her.
A few days later, Gaitonde was shocked to learn that Namita was untraceable. She had left her slum house with her mother and younger brother -- the only family she had -- and none of the neighbours knew where they had gone. He tried to trace her in Satara, her native town, but nobody knew about her there either.
What he would never know was that she had taken up residence in the neighbouring Gujarat state, where she made a career of helping a Member of Parliament become upwardly mobile. Her new name was Heena.
Gaitonde raved and raged, and raided many a ladies bar. Numerous were the bar dancers and waitresses he arrested and tried out. But if natural performers like Namita were to be found in every beer bar, wouldn't every police station have had a success story like Sub Inspector Gaitonde's?
Chapter X: Tony’s Liberation
For the second time in his life, Tony had sung like a songbird. The first time had gotten him in neck-deep with the Sub-Inspector. The second time got him out. Almost.
Ajay Mathur was nothing if not influential. Easy money gets you enormous influence. And information.
After Tony had spilled the beans, Ajay promised to do what he could to loosen Gaitonde's hold on him. When he phoned Gaitonde's higher-ups, he learned of two things.
The first thing deeply disappointed him. It was that if he had the faintest intention of getting Gaitonde in trouble with his superiors, it would be futile to even try. Gaitonde's corruption was well known throughout the length and breadth of the police force, and the home ministry too. His numerous rackets were well-known. It was the stuff of legend. Every fresh young police officer aspired to be like Sub Inspector Gaitonde. Nobody could possibly reveal anything about him that was not already widely known. And so, he was unassailable.
The second thing Ajay learned through discreet enquiries was that no policeman, save Gaitonde, had heard of Mayank Tandel who was missing from Gorai village. Nobody had heard of a fisherman named Deepya who was murdered one stormy night in Gorai. No such complaint had been registered.
Ajay went one step further. He hired a private detective to go to Gorai village and find a fisherman named Deepya. “He is a notorious character who is engaged in smuggling and drug trafficking”, he told the detective. “Find him, dead or alive.”
The detective reverted to him after thorough investigations. “He's dead. Died from a heart attack on 19th August 1998. I saw his death certificate. Here, see for yourself…”, and he put a badly xeroxed copy on the table.
After he was sure, Ajay called Tony to his office and told him what he thought. “Go to your village and meet your people. See for yourself. I don't know why, but you are a free man, Mayank Tandel. You don't have to work for Gaitonde.”
___________________________________________________ Postscript: Guys, I have written only one more really short chapter after this, and it doesn’t follow logically from this point in the narrative. In this chapter, which I shall put up in my next post, Henderson murders Tony… a perfect murder which leaves no trails leading to him. However, there is currently no motive that could cause our fat, pink Archie Henderson to do such a drastic thing. So I want you help in building up the narrative to such a point… or indeed, to take the story in any direction that you find interesting. I can change or discard that last chapter, no problems… just give me a good enough reason to do so!
So please, please help me by suggesting possible plot lines. You may leave suggestions in the comments box, or, if you need more room to do so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
And yes, if I build up the story based on your plot lines, be sure that I’ll acknowledge your contribution in large types… no kidding!