Saturday, November 17, 2012

Impulse Of Theft

Do you know, what is common in all districts across 25 states of Republic of India.
What ??
All of them have a Gandhi Maidan of their own.
Really !! Raj was taken by surprise. The father of this nation deserves that much respect, Papa.

Raj had come to witness a cricket match between Supaul, his hometown and Kadampura, an archrival. As Raj prepared to gauge this big playground called Gandhi Maidan, he noticed few gentlemen defecating in the open, that too in full public view. Not too far away, there was a foundation stone, laid for a proposed public toilet. Raj went closer and tried deciphering the date, but he could only read the year. 1980. Holy cow. He was not even born !! As his eyes rolled further, he saw a little pond, whose water was barely visible, after being overtaken by water hyacinths. Inside the pond, a herd of buffalos were having fun. Barely ten feet away, people were using the same water for sanitary purposes. Is this people’s idea of giving respect to father of the nation, Raj kept his thoughts to himself.

Raj had come to witness a cricket match between Supaul, his hometown and Saharsa, an archrival. As usual, it was a hot and sunny afternoon. Raj wondered, why all cricket matches are played under scorching heat. Can’t they be played out in night ?? Just last night, he had heard on radio his favourite cricketer Kapil scoring a thrilling century under the lights. When will my hometown have a day-night encounter ?? Raj asked himself. That will be the day, my dear friend, Pinku replied. That will be the day, when Supaul will host a day-night cricket match. Let’s focus on the match at hand. We have lost the toss and are fielding first.

Pinku, though 5 years elder than Raj, got along very well with him. He was instructed by Raj’s mother to keep a tab on Raj’s mischiefs and used to accompany Raj, wherever he went. Of-late, they had formed a cricket team with Raj at the helm of affairs and Pinku as his sidekick. They used to charge 1 Rs per month to all team members, except Raj, who had volunteered to donate a thick wooden-slab as cricket bat and Pinku, who had creatively designed some cricket equipments, like pads, arm guards using jute-sticks and discarded clothes. They used to play mostly with plastic ball, but occasionally experimented with heavy charcoal balls. Almost everyone had this long-cherished dream of playing with a leather ball also known as DUES BALL or ORIGINAL BALL. Though, they never ventured inside Gandhi Maidan, reserved exclusively for big guys, they used to be restricted to a corner at the periphery of the playground. Unfortunately, this particular stretch of land also used to be a favourite hunting ground for a group of hungry pigs and their arrival used to signal end of the day’s play. Occasionally, one of those big guys Karia used to pay a visit and teach them few basics of game especially fielding. But then fielding was never their idea of fun, it was meant for someone who was not good at batting or bowling. So they hardly listened.

We had our first ball of the match bowled. Oh no, it has been smashed to the boundary. Really. Yes, but no worries, it is going to be caught. Raj pointed his fingers towards the ball, as it was making its way towards the palms of Karia, our star fielder. But then tragedy struck. At the last moment, Karia lost sight of the ball amidst the sunshine and the ball thudded into one of his eyes. He was down on the ground, writhing in pain. All of us rushed towards our star fielder, only to see that he was lying unconscious, bleeding through his eyes and nose. It was a serious accident and organizers decided that the match be called off. As the crowd started dispersing, so did we. Some reserve players took it as an opportunity to practice and started throwing dart-balls around. 

As we were passing by, suddenly we noticed one ball rolling along the ground, as it hit one of us. This was our dream ball, the DUES BALL, the ORIGINAL BALL. As Raj picked it up and stretched his arms diagonally to throw it back, Pinku stopped him and whispered in his ears “We won’t get a better opportunity to own a ORIGINAL BALL”. Raj was confused, on one hand, he had his moral values, his upbringings, which always prevented him from bads and on the other, he had his dream right in front of him, lying almost unclaimed. Raj chose to go with his dreams. But how do we hide it ?? This is so big in size. Raj replied back with a voice barely audible to Pinku. Don’t worry. I will take care of it. Pinku used to wear shorts, which used to have custom-designed deep pockets. He safely pocketed the ball and started walking nonchalantly, as if nothing has happened. Though, his pocket had ballooned outwards, which could potentially make people suspicious, Pinku put one of his hands in other pocket, forming a fist, so as to make both pockets look natural. Before reaching home, they checked it again. As they rolled their fingers around the cherry, they felt proud of their prized catch, almost blinded by the shine of leather ball.

Hey Sumit, see Karia has given us THE DUES BALL, THE ORIGINAL BALL
Really !! Sumit said, almost in disbelief.
Yes. Ask Raj. He was also there
Hey Raj, is Pinku right ?? Did Karia really give us this ball ??
Yes, Sumit. Raj affirmed his response.
I don’t believe you guys. Just, look at this ball. It is shining bright. All the threads along the center are intact. It is a brand new ball. Why would Karia donate us a new ball ?? No matter how generous he may be, if at all, Karia were to give us a ball, he would have given us a used ball. Why on earth, he will donate a new ball. I am sure, this is an act of theft.
No, not at all. Trust us.
I don’t. Don’t fool yourselves, guys. I would never indulge in theft to fulfill my dreams. This is not done, yet. You will surely have to pay for this. May not be today, but in future. Someday, God will take his revenge.

Life moved on. Raj went on to become a high-flying corporate executive, a ridiculously priced management-consultant, doling out invaluable advises to his clients. He headed many companies before becoming a member of board-of-directors at one of the fortune 500 companies, TechnoLabs.

Pinku went on to become a stock trader, plying his trade on Mumbai’s famous Dalal Street. Sumit was happy playing second fiddle to his seniors in a local government office.

Suddenly, their world was shaken by this tsunami called recession. Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, others followed suit, bringing the world economy down on its knees. No one was spared, no one. Traders started shutting shops left right and center. Raj’s clientele suddenly pruned down to single-digit, as corporate houses tightened their budgetary expenditures and consultants were the first one to be axed. Pinku was almost on streets, having suffered massive losses. Amidst all this mayhem, Sumit’s life went on smoothly.

Today is a big day. Raj has been accused of a million dollar inside-trading fraud involving Pinku. As Raj stood in front of a life-size mirror, he started searching for answer as to why he fell prey to lure of wealth. Just why ?? He can’t help but go back to that incident involving Pinku and Sumit. Even though the incident happened nearly 25 years back, Sumit’s voice was as loud and clear as it was back then. You will have to pay for this. You will have to pay for this. Was that an impulse ?? Yes, it was. It was an impulse of theft, an impulse of greed, which took over his conscience and made him call his penniless broker friend Pinku about TechnoLabs’ past quarter’s earnings only to help Pinku make a killing on trading circuits next day.

Let the trial begin, judge strikes the gavel and orders start of proceedings. As Raj prepares to defend himself, he wonders, will he ever be able to forgive himself for that one impulse ?? May be. May be not. The proverbial remorse stays deep into his heart.

PS: This was written as part of a Story Hack organized by Campus Diaries at Bangalore Writers' Club.

1 comment:

Shyam Saket said...

ohh really very interesting blog as i came to know about the resong behind gandhi maidan present in all across....the Moral is very clear...small things can make a huge simple words u defined it very clealy..HAPPY WRITING for us..:)