Thursday, 16 April 2015

Bombay Duck -- part 6: The perfect murder

Henderson knew all of Tony's annoying habits. He could never switch of his mobile. He always took a call, sometimes after a good deal of confusion and groping in his pockets.

As Tony crossed the railway tracks, Henderson saw the train coming from the distance. He needed to slow him down. He phoned, and cut the line. Tony stopped in confusion, groped in his pockets. The phone was in vibrator mode. Without the ringing to guide him, he was helpless to find which pocket it came out of. He looked in his right pants pocket, then his left, and finally found the small phone in his hip pocket. Shitshitshit, he swore, as he looked at the missed-calls list. 

Heyyy, yedayy! Gaadi aa rahi hai! Gaaadi...

Tony heard that warning and looked about him in confusion, and saw a light. Then his mobile rang again. “Shit!” he swore. “Shit! Shit!”

He pressed the ‘Accept Call’ button. “Hi, Tony. Where are you?”

Heyyy! Andhay! Paagal! Gaadi dekh!” He heard the shouted warning, looked about him, cut the call. Saw the train. Heard the roar. Because of the criscrossing of the tracks, he was confused. The oncoming train wasn’t headed straight for him, or so it seemed because of the curving tracks. To go forward seemed suicidal. The best thing was to stand still, or step back a bit. He began to step backwards when the persistent mobile rang again. “Shit!”, he screamed and accepted the call. It wasn’t Henderson. It wasn’t anybody he knew. It was a wrong number. “Hello, Ramesh Pai?”, said some careless caller.

Tony didn’t get to say it was a wrong number. He didn’t get to swear at the caller. He didn’t even get to properly glance up before the glare, the blaring horn and the rumble drained his overloaded nervous system of all capacity to respond. He was like a rabbit frozen in the headlight... and then the Rajdhani Express blasted him into several unrecognizable pieces.

Standing far from the railway tracks, Henderson saw the whole thing. Then he turned, hailed a taxi, went back to his hotel and watched television for the rest of the night. He fell asleep in the small hours, and dreamt of flat-chested Edith.

Tony was already part of Bombay’s missing persons list. So he didn’t add to that statistic. About 12 hours later, his body parts, bundled messily together in a bloodstained green bedsheet, were presented to the Coroner’s Court at Rajawadi Hospital. Just one of the tally of 19 persons who died on the railway tracks that day. Quite literally faceless.

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