That mistake

The glass was a blur and the world seemed to sway in front of him. He could hear some voices but didn’t know whether they were coming from his head or from outside it. He saw flashes of light but they were fading away……..he seemed to be falling into depths of darkness………….and then, everything was dark………….

————————————

“Yuppieeeeeeeeeee…………..faster………faster……….”

Amid the encouraging screeches of his friend, he drove the car so fast that the landscape blurred past them in a haze! He was a very good driver and was proud of it. The machine was a beauty and she did 110 kms per hour with an ease unnatural to Indian cars! It was a left hand drive but that didn’t deter him. After all, it was only switching hands……

“One day, you must try F1 racing Kunal”, his friend shouted over the din.

“Oh yeah! Maybe, I will”, he shouted back feeling elated inwardly.

And seconds later, everything was over. He lost consciousness and when he woke up, there were bandages around him. His family stood surrounding him. He couldn’t understand what was going on………

He just heard voices………………three people killed………left hand drive………………..too fast……………..sturdy car…………….one child killed…………………

Nothing made sense and he slipped back to unconsciousness and all was black again……

—————————————

“Wake up”…………..

He opened his eyes slowly. His daughter was tugging at his arm and urging him to wake up. She had a paper in his hand.

“Papa, I made a painting. Wake up and see”, she pleaded.

He didn’t know where he was. Or what day it was. Or what time it was. He searched for something that could tell something. He glanced at the watch, and saw that it was ten minutes after nine. Pm or am, he had no way of knowing for the thick curtains were drawn and lights were on. He glanced at his watch and it said Sept. 4, Sunday.

He shook his head to clear his head of the mist. His daughter seemed to be visible to him and he could see that she was eager. He had no idea of how he came to his house. He had no memory of what he did the last thing. He jerked himself up and sat on the bed.

His daughter’s painting was that of a sheep sitting on grass with a lovely sunrise in the background….

“This is how I want to be, free or the worries of the world………” he thought to himself.

He hugged his daughter and said, “What a wonderful painting!!! Maybe, you should become a painter some day. But how about making the sun a little smaller baby? It’s too big”.

“Ok. You’re the best Daddy. You know, Janaki’s Daddy never comments honestly on her paintings. Poor Janaki….”, She pecked him on his cheek and ran out of the room, presumably to make the sun smaller.

He knew what a terrible father he was. He was never spending time with his children unless they asked for it……….

He got up and almost fell down in the process. “I’ve been drinking again”………..he thought to himself and was immediately filled with anger and guilt. He started walking to the kitchen, “I need some coffee”, he thought………….

———————————————-

He sat in the Police Station. “So, I have killed THREE people, one of them a child of 4 years”………….he couldn’t believe it. The Inspector was asking him questions……

“Were you drunk?”

“No, I don’t drink”

“Do you have a license?”

“Yes”

“When does it expire?”

“About seven years from now”

“How old are you?

“21”

“What do you do for living?”

“I’m studying still. Masters in Computer Science”

“Where were you going?”

“Goa”

“Do you do drugs?”

“No”

“Hmmm…..whose car were you driving?”

“Mine”

“You’ve an American make car? To yourself?”

“Yes, a gift”

“You spoilt brats! You care nothing for the innocent people on the roads and go killing them like they don’t deserve to live. Mera bas chale to goli se uda doon. Marne walon ki aatma baddua dengi tujhe nalayak…….”

He wanted to disappear. To be taken into her folds by mother Earth. He felt like a demon…….THREE people…………….a CHILD who never got to see life properly………”I” killed them………………..

———————————-

The doorbell rang and it was Akshay. They exchanged greetings and Akshay came in. He looked rather morose. He smiled but in a very funny way. And the moment Sarala left, he came and sat next to him.

“Hey Kunal, tell me something”, he almost whispered.

“Yes, what happened?”

“What’s this ‘I killed three people’ business with you?

“What?”, he was shocked beyond belief!!!!

“Are you a criminal or something? With a hidden past? Or hiding from Police?”

“Of course, I’m not a criminal! Why the hell are you asking me such weird questions?”, he hoped that he sounded strong.

“Arey yaar, last night, after downing a couple of pegs, you were saying this over and over. Rather whispering it. I couldn’t follow what you were saying but after sometime, I heard it. Who have you killed?”, Akshay gave him a very suspicious look.

“I haven’t killed anyone. Maybe a story I must’ve read somewhere”, he said waskly.

“Oh! Stories affect you that much? Or is it something you’re hiding?”

“I’m not hiding anything yaar. I guess I was too drunk”

“Hmmm……well…….if you say so. Anyway, I’ll get going. I promised to take my children to amusement park in the afternoon”.

“Ok, see you then”

Akshay left but Kunal’s mind was in a turmoil. It was 14 years ago……………..he thought his memory was fading……………..he thought he’d forgotten it all……………………but deep down, he knew he was still living it………………..breathing it…………………

“Papa?”

“Oh, What?”, his trance was broken by his daughter’s voice again. He didn’t know he’d been lost.

“I’ve been talking to you and you haven’t heard a word”, she whined.

“Oh! I’m sorry, say it again”, he uttered absently.

“I want to see the ghost gallery in the new amusement park in Jawahar Nagar”, she whined again.

“Oh ok. No problem. When shall we go?”, he muttered, too tired to protest.

“We can go today afternoon, let’s say at two?”, she said excitedly.

“Ok. Two, it is.”…..

—————————————–

“You murderer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You killed my son!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You killed my daughter-in-law……………………..you killed my grandson!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’ll burn in hell……….”

He sat mum on the chair in the mortuary as the old woman screamed. Despite having been held by her husband, she was writhing. He knew she wanted to kill him. He wanted to die! Of shame, of guilt………………the dead bodies rolled out one after the other. The old woman was still crying and screaming………..

——————————————

“Papa……………………..”

His daughter tugged at his shirt and buried her head in the crook of his neck. He hugged her and urged her to face the ghosts…………..”This was a stupid idea”, he thought to himself. Paying for getting scared was not his idea of fun.

Just when his daughter opened her eyes, there came a small ghost, that of a child with one eye hanging out! She screamed again and hugged him! But he no longer felt anything! The child grew in size………………………his hands clutched his throat………………”MURDERER”……………..”MURDERER”………………………

“I didn’t mean to kill you”…………………………”It was an accident”…………………….

“MURDERER”…………………..”You killed ME”……………………

“No………….no……………no………………..no………………………..”

He felt the breath running out of him………………………

——————————————-

He sat on the bench, munching on the little rubber toy……………………..

His wife’s voice filled the room……………”there must be something you can do”………….”he’s not mad”………………”please doctor”……………………..

PS: I want to thank all my friends who have been patient with me with all my writings. This one specially goes out to Girish who gave me the idea….. πŸ™‚

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4 Comments

  1. Ananth said,

    November 4, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    Its simply an amazing story. Though I feel a little disconnected. The incidents are linked well, but the reason for his going mad, does not come out too well, why after 14 years a ghost makes him mad? I guess you must add another incident which triggers his thought 14 years later, and then the shock of the ghost drives him to madness.

  2. Vinod KBG said,

    November 6, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Hey, this one is ‘the best’ so far. I could not take away my eyes from the monitor. Thrilling!!!
    But I could not digest 21 years doing his masters in computer science πŸ˜‰

    And when I read the line ” Marne walon ki aatma baddua dengi tujhe nalayak…” I remembered you πŸ˜‰ It was typical Pritesh style of ‘gaali’

  3. Rajarshi said,

    November 8, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    Wat to say!!..More than the subject I liked the presentation!..It’s amazing to see how well you have put flashes of imaginations as sequence of events…and the dialogues and the expressions look real…All I can say is U r not such a good writer compared to the director that’s hidden inside u..;-)….I am serious..u shud try your skills in direction..or have u already??..:D

  4. Pritesh said,

    November 10, 2006 at 12:07 pm

    Thanks Ananth,

    I guess I plotted the story well. Maybe, I’ll incorporate your suggestions the next time I write something…..

    Vinoda………..YOU are the one who gets all these gaalis! No one else told me THIS! πŸ˜€

    And Rajarshi, yes, I have KIND OF tried direction, back in school though. I don’t know, with my lack of practice and training, if someone will be willing to give me a BREAK (Bollywood ishtyle, strictly :D)……….


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