When I was a teenager, I made a mistake. I valued my mother’s life over mine own. That is why when they came to me and offered an obscene amount of money, as far as a fatherless slum dweller is concerned, I accepted it. Ma desperately needed it for her bone marrow operation. The terms of the condition were simple. They give me money, I follow their instructions.
Ma couldn’t be saved. The people who must’ve vowed to protect every life they could refused to help Ma as I was short of their fees by five thousand. I watched helpless as my ma withered away. At seventeen years of age, I became an orphan. But life has to go on. I got a job as waiter at a small town restaurant, a meager income but enough to support me. I was living this life of solitude when Meera entered my life. She wasn’t beautiful on the outside, but I saw her beauty on the inside. She was always happy, and had high hopes for life. A stubborn optimist, she sort of completed me. We married, nothing more than a thread around her neck, in front of a local deity. It was the happiest day of my life.
Meera died the very next day. The police pushed aside the case as hit and run. When I saw her lying in the middle of the road in a pool of blood, she was still breathing. I rushed her to the hospital, but I didn’t have the fees they demanded. It felt déjà vu. Meera died in my very hands, outside the hospital gates. Life lost its meaning to me. I decided to end this wretched life. I was standing on top of the bridge, about to jump when someone pulled me back. To life. And to death.
They showed how this world was so unfair to me. How it tortured me. They built up hate within me, and fed on it. They showed me how I could take revenge. And finally they reminded me of my debt to them.
In the heat of the hour, and in sorrow, I agreed. But I didn’t fully understand the gravity of the situation until they had dropped me off near a crowded temple with a jacket full of explosives. I looked at all the innocent faces around me and knew I couldn’t do it. I knew how it felt to lose a loved one only too well.
But the jacket was rigged to explode if I took it off. And they would kill me if I didn’t accomplish their mission. I went to the only place I could think of: the police station.
The media had a field day when the bomb went off killing seven policemen, but sparing my feeble life. Doctors battled against death for three whole months just to stabilize my life. The very same doctors who had turned down both Ma and Meera worked free of charge for me.
Nearly seventeen years later the Supreme Court granted my shattered life capital punishment. Then came appeals and appeals and more appeals and finally the mercy petition to the president. And not a single President had the guts to accept it or reject it.
I have been languishing behind bars for the past thirty five years, but not for much longer. I can feel it coming, the warm embrace of death. I will finally be back with my mother and her daughter in law. With my Meera and Ma. And to the rest of the world, I stillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll
An old fragile man fell over his typewriter, in a remote desolate cell in High Security Prison. A man the world had forgotten about. And moved on.