“I will give you a ‘guru mantra’ for success.”
SALT N' PEPPER
AJAZ A. BABA
The fat Havildar sat on the bench, caressing his paunch, feeling down in the spirits. Somewhere along the way his career had got into a rut. His colleagues had bagged awards, honours and even promotions, but the only area he got advanced in was his middle. As a result while his successful contemporaries strutted smartly and confidently he was a waddling failure! Back home his wife would rub in his sense of worthlessness and torment him with insipid food and tart taunts!
A couple of days back he had summoned up enough courage to approach a former colleague of his who had had a rather phenomenal rise and was presently a full-fledged in-charge of an important police thana! He knew his weakness for a particular brand of liquor, so digging into his meager hoard had bought a bottle for the fellow.
“My dear friend,” the successful Thana in-charge slurred expansively after downing a couple of glasses of the gift, “I will give you a ‘guru mantra’ for success. Tell me where are you posted?”
“At the railway station,” the Havildar said in a humble voice, hanging on to every word of his new found guru.
The Thana in-charge heartily thumped the Havildar on the back and said, “Why it is so easy for you then! Why don’t you pick up some Kashmiri!”
“What do you mean pick up some Kashmiri?!” the Havildar couldn’t quite comprehend.
“Just that! You thick headed fool, you just have to pick up one of these fellows label him a ‘terrorist’ and that’s it! You can always hint at an ‘ISI’ connection for additional effect!”
It was three days since he had got this ‘guru mantra’. He had been on duty on double shift since then but as his luck would have it no person answering to the description of ‘Kashmiri’ had turned up. So there he was sitting morosely reflecting upon his luckless life!
Suddenly as if some sixth sense jolted him, he looked up and saw a person wearing a ‘khan suit’ and a vest (the dress that you frequently see nowadays in all those ‘terrorist’ movies!). The elderly fellow had a grey beard (another ‘incriminating’ factor!), wore a lambskin cap and looked to be a Kashmiri. All his senses alert, he started tailing his ‘target’. The ‘target’ had a lot of luggage which he deposited in a train compartment and then proceeded to a tea stall for a cup of tea. Seeing that his ‘quarry’ had no intention of budging for a while, the Havildar decided to check out the luggage. He went to the train compartment and made a preliminary survey of sorts. For a moment a vision of booby traps and bombs swam before his eyes but muttering a silent prayer he took out a penknife and slashed one of the bags in the Kashmiri’s luggage. His eyes lit up as he saw the incriminating letters – ‘ISI’ on the objects within! A smug smile spread across his face. He had got his man, that too with an established ‘ISI’ connection! The path of success at last, lit up with floodlights at that!
A spasm of worry crossed his mind; maybe the fellow was armed and would put up a resistance! He lifted his eyes to size up his quarry but the fellow was not at the tea stall! A mix of relief and regret arose within him and then suddenly he started as somebody coughed almost in his ear. He looked up and there he was – the ‘terrorist’, looking at him warily and coughing apologetically as the Havildar was blocking his way to the seat.
Panic rather than bravery made the fat Havildar shout a barrage of obscenities at the grey-bearded ‘terrorist’ and before the ‘terrorist’ could ‘attack’ him he leapt at him and threw him to the ground hitting him repeatedly.
The wretched old fellow piteously cried out, “Jenab! Jenab! What have I done?!”, but of course the Havildar heard nothing in his frenzy.
Meanwhile a small crowd had collected. A rumour went around that the ‘terrorist’ had been caught trying to blow up the train. Mothers protectively gathered their children and moved away to a safe distance. Soon enough the fat Havildar’s colleagues arrived on the scene and the grey-bearded fellow was whisked away along with his luggage…
Later that day there was a party at the police headquarters attended by the top brass to felicitate the new ‘hero’.
“Where are the seized objects?” somebody asked.
“In there!” the ‘hero’ Havildar indicated the adjoining room. He had assigned his junior colleagues the job of ‘decoratively arranging’ the seized objects ‘like they show on the TV’!
The party went into the room, cameras poised in anticipation. Inside the room there were neatly arranged on a table – two tins of edible oil, 15 bars of soap, a couple of bottles of pickle and a few toys…all with that stamp of quality – the ‘ISI’ mark!
(Truth is mostly unpalatable…but truth cannot be ignored! Here we serve the truth, seasoned with salt and pepper and a dash of sauce (iness!). You can record your burps, belches and indigestion, if any, at email@example.com)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 12 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 13 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST
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