WSPI-2012-03: Don’t Ever Breed The Greed – Suspense Short Story
This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
[Don’t Ever Breed The Greed – Suspense Short Story]
10 May 2012
The caretaker put pieces of bones and ash in an earthen pot and walked towards Vikram. Watching his father’s pyre, he was so choked with emotion that he became oblivious of the surrounding noise. So much so that when the caretaker was speaking while handling the ashes, he wasn’t able to appreciate his words over the squeaky continuous sound that occupied him. But when the caretaker kept the pot with the warm ash in his hand, he breathed heavily and returned to his own.
Meanwhile, the caretaker moved to another pyre and brought another earthen pot “Sir, this is the other one.”
Vikram, with a wicked smile on his face “Throw it.”
1st May 9.00 am
It was the inauguration of ‘Khatija sweets’ in Dhanori, a small town some 11 km from the main city area of Pune. The entry was beautifully decorated with yellow and red flowers over the board, over the transparent glass doors and the metallic fence bordering the shop. The shop was in prime location near the market of the town. Mr. Dilip Khatija with his wife Komal, son Vikram, his brother Shyam, his friends and employees were waiting outside the shop for the chief guest, the local MLA Mr. Rajesh Tambe.
Vikram was busy ensuring that the preparation for Rajesh Tambe’s welcome was completed.
In 10 minutes, a convoy of five Honda Civic and a white Mahindra Scorpio arrived. The Khatija family stepped near the Scorpio SUV door with Mr. Dilip holding a bouquet. The window was made of tinted glass and on the number plate had ‘Raja’ written in marathi, ‘. The vehicle number was MH 05 BC2**1.
As soon as he stepped out, Dilip gave him the bouquet and tried bowing to his maximum to touch his feet. Even though Dilip was a 52 year old man and MLA Rajesh was a 30 year old man, in politics, respect comes with power.
Rajesh held his hands and said sarcastically, “Arey Khatija, let it be. Your tummy holds more sway on you than me”
Everyone laughed at his comment. Political power renders sense of humor futile.
Everyone moved to the shop entry and MLA Rajesh cut the ribbon to enter the shop. The shop was full of varieties of sweets and farsans. Kaju katlies, laddoos, gulab jamuns, barfies, and many more.
Dilip “Sirji, have a seat” and shouted “Shyam, get cold drinks and food immediately.”
Rajesh “It’s ok.”
Dilip “No sir, you are our guest, and it’s a sin to let the guest go hungry in our culture.”
Rajesh agreed to that and then walked a few steps to a corner with Dilip. He said in soft words “Dilip, you remember last year’s incident? Be careful this time. Bhima’s party is searching for the clues, and my informers had even seen Mahesh meeting him.”
Last year, Dilip was held by police as a suspect for the death of Mahesh’s 5 year old son, who died of eating the adulterated sweets bought from Dilip’s shop. But, Dilip wasn’t proved guilty as he made some adjustments with the investing officer with the help of MLA Rajesh.
Bhima was an honest local politician who had been working against injustice. He knew the fact that Dilip was guilty and he also know the fact that he was still selling the adulterated sweets, but he was unable to do anything against him. Every time he was defeated by the political powers of MLA Rajesh.
After a while, Rajesh started to move out. Dilip called his son to introduce him to MLA “Sir, this is Vikram, my son. He is a graduate and is working with me.”
– “Son, follow your father’s footsteps, he is a great guide, I tell you.”
Vikram, feigning gratitude, “Yes Sir.”
Dilip ordered his brother Shyam to take a picture.
Standing at the shop entry with his wife and son and MLA Rajesh, he was still shouting at Shyam “Charya, the whole shop with the board and all of us should come in the photograph.”
MLA Rajesh held a laddoo and was putting in Dilip’s mouth, to which Dilip said “Sir, I am sorry, doctor has strictly told me to restrict the sweets; the blood sugar has gone much higher. Do one thing, just hold the laddoo near my mouth when the photo is taken, so that I will appear that I am eating the sweet offered by you.”
And then Shyam asked “Everyone ready?” and clicked the photograph.
MLA Rajesh left the place in a few minutes and Khatija family was back to the shop.
Dilip “Shyam, show us the photo.”
Shyam handed the digital camera to his brother.
Watching at the photo, initially, Dilip smiled, but the emotions turned into anger in a second “What the mess have you done, who’s photograph have you clicked?”
The photograph was perfect; it showed everyone with the shop clearly with Dilip having the laddoo in his mouth, offered by Rajesh. But the thing that Dilip didn’t like was that the roadside poor fellow, with his mouth open was also captured. According to him, it ruined the photograph.
Dilip was a businessman who believed in eradicating the poor, instead of eradicating poverty. He hated poor people; he even considered them as some bad omen.
Meanwhile, the other guests had their food and were about to leave. One of them, who didn’t finish his plate, walked to the same roadside poor fellow and was about to give him his food, when Dilip stopped him from doing so,
“What are you doing, don’t do this, theses people are bad omen, and I would not like my food to be eaten by such people.”
“But just look at his condition, his skin has touched his bone, he will die of hunger”, the guest replied.
Dilip “I don’t care.”
Turning to the poor fellow, said “and you, it’s better to stay away from these fascinations of life… listen carefully, don’t ever breed the greed.” And then he laughed at him.
1st May 12.23 pm
The guest had left the shop and there were only Khatija family members and the employees at the shop.
Dilip called his son “Vikram, the Bhima party and Mahesh are searching for clues to convict us. So be careful, don’t create unnecessary problems.”
Vikram was a short tempered 24 year old guy. He was 6 feet tall, unlike both his parents, and had some half murder charges against him. He was a person who always spoke rudely to every person he met, even to his father.
Vikram “I know it, don’t try to teach me. I will look after Bhima and Mahesh.”
Dilip “Vikram , you will not do anything.”
Vikram “Let’s see.” And then he left.
Being frustrated, Dilip called Shyam “What is this, don’t you understand, put that poor fellow on the opposite side of the lane; I don’t want him to be near my shop.”
Shyam was Dilip’s elder brother by 2 years. He was not matured enough to tackle the harassing people. He was easily overpowered by his brother. He worked for his brother, doing some odd jobs such as cleaning the shop, delivering the products. He liked his brother for helping him earn some money, but at the same time, he even hated him immensely for his behavior.
Shyam placed the poor fellow, who was so weak that he was unable to move by himself, at the opposite side of the lane and came back.
Dilip saw it and again shouted him “Arey baba, don’t you have brains. Just see how you have placed him. His eyes are just facing my shop. It’s a bad omen.”
Suddenly, one of the employees came there and told Dilip that the products were ready to get delivered, so Dilip sent Shyam to do the delivery and went to home with his wife.
1st May 5.56 pm
After having the breakfast with his wife, who hardly spoke to him, afraid of his angry behavior, Dilip moved out of his house to his shop.
Riding his scooter, he reached the shop in 10 minutes. Entering the shop, he did the evening prayers happily, looking at the continuous flow of customers.
As soon as he finished the prayer, Bhima entered “What Mr. Dilip, new shop? It seems you are earning a lot, selling the good quality sweets, I think you understand what I meant to say?”
Dilip “What do you want sir?”
Bhima “Sir! Stop this nautanki. You are behaving as if you don’t know me.”
Dilip “Sorry sir, I really don’t know you.”
Bhima “Ok, but you might surely know this person.”
Mahesh entered the shop. Watching him, Dilip’s smile disappeared “If you want to buy something, please order, or else leave now.”
Mahesh “We are leaving now, but be ready for tomorrow.”
Bhima “Dilip, we will be meeting soon.”
Dilip watched him leaving the shop and then called MLA Rajesh “Sir, Bhima and Mahesh had come, they were looking confident.”
MLA Rajesh “Ok, you, be careful. I will tell my people to look after them.”
Dilip kept the call and was busy thinking about Bhima, when Shyam arrived “The delivery is done. Here is the payment” and he handed Rs. 50,000 to his brother.
Dilip counted it then and there, making Shyam feel disheartened
Shyam “Brother, I wanted some 15,000 Rs for my son’s college fees. Can I get it? I will pay it from my salary.”
Dilip “What your son will do after studying. Look at my son, he is a graduate, but finally he is working with me. Listen to me, bring him to me, I will get him some job. He will earn some money, he will be a help to you.”
Shyam knew Dilip was actually denying him money, but he stood silent.
The shop did great business in the evening and by 11 in the night, everyone left the shop, except Dilip. He was calculating the earnings and was about to leave in a few more minutes.
He finally kept the money in his bag, locked it, folded hands before the god’s idol and turned to leave. As he turned, he saw the poor fellow looking at him from his place. He got frustrated looking at him and then walked towards the door.
2nd May 3.44 am
“Zindagi khwab ha, khwab mein sach hai kya, aur bhala jhoot kya..aaaaaaaa”
A drunken fellow was walking past the Khatija sweets shop, where he saw a fat man’s blood ridden body at the shop’s entry. It was of Mr. Dilip Khatija.
Within half an hour, the police, Vikram and his friends, arrived at the crime scene.
Dilip’s body was lying in prone position with the upper half on the metallic fence with one rod piercing the neck. The lower half was inside the shop with the adjacent glass broken. He was totally drenched in blood.
The barricades were placed around the site and the investigation officer Mohan Rao, who was one of the well wishers of Mr.Khatija, along with his team of policemen, started collecting evidences.
Vikram was in a state of shock when he saw his father’s body. He didn’t want his mother to see that, so he didn’t allow her to come there and just informed her about it.
He was about to burst into tears, but his anger overpowered his grief.
He went to PI Rao “Listen inspector, I want the killers to be in my hands as soon as possible. Did you get any evidence?”
PI Rao “Yes sir, I am trying. Unfortunately, there is no evidence yet. But, we have inquired the employees and we got to know that Bhima and Mahesh visited the shop yesterday and had some argument with Dilip sir. Our officers had caught hold of them and now I am going to the police station to inquire them. I will inform you as soon as there is some progress.”
And then they left.
2nd May 5.30 pm
Vikram was busy attending relatives and at the same time consoling his mother. He had sent his men to find and interrogate his father’s known enemies, in their way.
MLA Rajesh got the news about Dilip’s death and so he told Rao to investigate the case at a faster pace.
He rang Vikram and said, “Beta, don’t worry, I had told PI Rao to find the killer as fast as possible. I am out of town for a few days for some political work. I will meet you, once I reach there. But you don’t worry, I am with you, feel free to call me whenever you want.”
Vikram’s phone rang again “Mr.Vikram. I am PI Rao speaking. Sir, can you please come to your shop. I need to speak to you.”
Vikram reached there within no time. He was eager to meet PI Rao, as his voice sensed some confidence of progress in the case “What happened, Rao?”
PI Rao “Sir, I had inquired Bhima and Mahesh. Last night, they both were at office of Dainik bhaskar. They were about to reveal the last year poisoning’s case, and they even have some strong point to prove Mr. Dilip guilty. I don’t think they would have done this killing. And last night, before that drunken man, nobody else had been to this place, except one person.”
PI Rao “This poor fellow here. He had been here since many days, and even last night he was here at this very place. Surely, he might have seen the killer and I think the killer, looking at his condition, might have considered him unconscious. But now, when I ask him whether he knows how Mr. Dilip got killed, he nods his head, but I think he is too weak to speak a word.”
Vikram “Take him to the hospital, and make him strong enough to speak.”
The poor fellow was taken to the hospital, where the doctor started infusing normal saline and dextrose and regularly monitored him.
Vikram told the doctor “Don’t worry about the money, I am going to pay for this patient, but I want this person to speak. He is the only witness of my dad’s killing.”
Doctor replied, “I will try my best.”
For the next few days, the poor fellow showed a drastic improvement in his physical condition. Now, he was able to move his arms and legs voluntarily, though a bit sluggishly. But, still he wasn’t able to speak properly or wasn’t able to listen and understand what people say.
9th May 3.30 pm
The poor fellow was still in the same condition and Vikram had still not cremated his dad, as he had taken an oath of cremating him after killing his Dad’s killer.
Vikram asked to the doctor “What’s the problem, doctor. Why he is not able to recover further?”
Doctor “Even I am in a fix. I mean his CT scan reports are normal, his reflexes are normal, every report is normal, I can’t understand why he is not responding further to the treatment.”
Whilst they both were having a chat, a small statured teen arrived there and said “I am here to meet my uncle, Rustom kaka. I had been to his place near Khatija sweets; the people there told me that he had been admitted over here.”
Vikram directed him to Rustom’s ward and left out of the hospital for some work.
The teen went to his uncle and started crying “What happened to you. I came here to take you with me. God, why do you do unfair things only to poor people?”
Rustom’s hand moved to his nephew’s hand and flicked him, while after moving his head around to look whether somebody was watching them, he signaled his nephew to move close to him.
The nephew moved closer to him and then he left within 15 minutes.
9th May 6.30 pm
Vikram left home with his gun. He reached hospital in no time as his car flew through the roads of Dhanori. He walked to Rustom’s bed, with his men. His men vacated other beds of the same ward, while some kept an eye outside the ward and didn’t allow anyone to come there. Vikram Khatija was a famous name in Dhanori, so nobody had the courage to interrupt him.
He took his gun and pointed on Rustom “Doctor has told that you will not be able to recover further, so you are of no use to me. It’s better if you die.”
Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, Rustom started moving his limbs well and he even spoke “Sir, I know who your dad’s killer is. I can recognize him.”
Vikram “Another lie, why?”
Then he called Rustom’s nephew inside “He has told me everything you told him, how you pretended to be handicapped, so that you get to eat, get to live this easy life, how you kept on bluffing us. Your nephew didn’t come to visit you. It was I who searched him after scanning through your belongings and sent to you to know this truth. You knew if you had told the truth earlier, you wouldn’t have enjoyed so much. But if you would have told me the truth earlier, you would have lived.
The fact was that Mr.Dilip had a heart attack when he was leaving for home. He felt dizzy, lost his balance, bounced off the glass wall, and fell on the fence.
Vikram pointed his gun on Rustom, who was being held by his men and shot six bullets at him.
Rustom was lying on the floor, covered with his blood. The last thought that came to him were the words of Dilip Khatija “Don’t ever breed the greed.”