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Soumya tells us how he met a few murderers during his wanderings. A Different Truths exclusive.
We read about them in newspapers, see them on the news, thrillers and whodunits are written about them and they are star attractions in TV serials and films. But really get to meet them in person. They are welcome in our drawing room only through the idiot box or smartphone screens or newsprint. I, however, had an occasion to meet with a few of them during my wanderings over the years. Here are the stories.
During my backpacking trip through South India, along with my wife about which I have written elsewhere, one of our stops was Kanyakumari. There we came across a Punjabi Dhaba and decided to have all our meals there as we were tired of having South Indian fare constantly for the past week or so. We soon became friends with the owner-cum-chef as we spoke to him in his mother tongue and we asked him what made him start this business at the very tip of the country.
Land disputes in that volatile region (Rajasthan) often end with mayhem, and in one such fracas, he ended up dispatching a few of his adversaries to their heavenly abode.
His story astounded us. Apparently, he belonged to Rajasthan where he was a successful farmer and a family man. However, land disputes in that volatile region often end with mayhem, and in one such fracas, he ended up dispatching a few of his adversaries to their heavenly abode. Out on bail, and dreading retaliation by the relatives of his victims and the prospect of the gallows or a life term in a cell, he decided to run. After reaching the furthest point in Indian from where he could run no further, he started life afresh under an assumed name and started a new family in this distant land. He still sometimes pined for his homeland and his earlier family but was resigned to his new life by the sea. He said he relished talking in his mother tongue to people. He was extremely kind to us saying that his children would have been our age today. The kind old man did not fit in the murderous image of absconding killers we had in our mind.
Those were the days when cinema halls frequently had the house full notices and films ran for months. We students frequented a few cinema halls in the neighborhood and loved to see the late show of every new release on Friday night, usually in a state of inebriation. The theatre management did not want to antagonise the students and usually kept tickets for us. But this time, it was a blockbuster release and tickets were not available for fear or money.
Despondent, we retired into a neighborhood shack that dealt in homemade spirits and joined the only table which had a single occupant. We should have realised that there is a reason why in the crowded den this gentleman was sitting alone. The other inmates kept staring at us. He, however, was a friendly soul and kept chatting with us about our backgrounds and what we were doing there. We also were surprised that the owner of the shack refused to accept our money.
This stout genial gentleman got quite maudlin, and started blubbering that were such great people that were socialising with him, a common illiterate murderer…
After few more glasses, this stout genial gentleman got quite maudlin, and started blubbering that were such great people that were socialising with him, a common illiterate murderer, who rose from the slums and is surviving as a professional gangster, although we were such cultured, educated young boys and girls from such aristocratic families and sophisticated backgrounds. He also organised tickets for us from the sellers in black and we were taken into the hall with a honor guard of local hoodlums and given balcony seats from which the rightful occupants were evicted and continued to be plied with snacks and drinks right inside the hall, all on the house.
Although, we had promised this gentleman eternal friendship, while we were glassmates, we sneaked off after the show and did not renew our acquaintance with this genial self-confessed killer for hire.
We, thereby, lost out on the generous offer made by our new formed friend of doing a few hits free for us, although we were solely tempted to name a few of our more irritating faculty but prudence returned with sobriety and this encounter remained a one night stand.
An office I worked in had a very quiet and sober ex-service man as a security guard for the building. One day, he made an unusual request that although he had reported on duty and his honor did not allow him to leave his post, but he immediately had to leave for an indefinite time as a very important family obligation had come up.
He returned a week later apologised for his absence and continued his duties in his usual impassive and unassuming manner.
… some clan enemies had abducted his 14-year-old daughter and he had gone back and rescued her, in the process, killing five of her kidnappers with his khukri.
I later discovered the reason behind his unexplained absence. Apparently, in his village, some clan enemies had abducted his 14-year-old daughter and he had gone back and rescued her, in the process, killing five of her kidnappers with his khukri.
I always thought such vigilante justice happened only on the screens of Hollywood and Bollywood pot boilers. After that I always looked at him with a new respect and was very polite, while asking him to run any errands for me.
Photos from the Internet