In the blink of an eye

Elated to announce that this post won the Gold Batom at the October 2012 BAT 32! 

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 32; the thirty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is ‘An Untold Story’

“Your name?”
“Yogesh Kamlakar”  
“Address? Phone number? Given to Constable Kadam?”
“Mmm.. Yes Sir, I don’t want any trouble Sir”.
“What did you see? State it clearly.” 
“He was speeding Sir. On his bike. Didn’t stop at the signal. Swerved. Got onto the footpath, hit the man. They started fighting Sir. That man tried to interrupt but .. ” He says, pointing to the injured man being tended to by medical personnel in the ambulance. 
“Who took out the hockey stick?”
“I don’t know Sir.” 
“If I find out you are lying, I’ll come after you. What about the tube light, where did that come from?”
“I really don’t know Sir, I told you whatever I know, please can I go?” 
“Hmm. You can go for now. We’ll call you if we need anything else.”

***

“Your name?”
“Geeta Iyer, I stay in that building. See that white tower? Up on the 15th floor. I saw everything and came running down when it happened. I saw it from the start itself when he.. ” Her glance falls on the blotched stains of red interspersed with broken glass and tree twigs all around her on the pavement and she inadvertently shudders. 
“Just answer my questions. No need to talk more than that.”
Silence. 
“Who started tahe fight?”
“Don’t know but the pedestrian was at fault. He walked into oncoming traffic. How can you blame that biker?” She says shaking her head, looking over at the ambulance, her face clearly displaying compassion for the good-looking man. 
“That’s the biker?”
“Then what? He’s the biker. Poor guy.”
“Then who are they?” Inspector Sinha asks pointing to the patchy white sheet covered twin bodies laid out neatly side by side on one end of the road. 
“That one is the man who walked into traffic. The other is the guy who tried to help the biker. Don’t blame the biker Sir, it wasn’t his fault.” 
“Hmm.”

***

“Your name?”
“Dr. Pradhan, MGM hospital. I have already supplied my credentials to the officer in charge.”
“What are your findings Doctor?”
“I cannot state with certainty yet, we will have to take him to the hospital. He needs to be checked out.”
“I am not talking about the one alive. He will live. And he will have to answer.”
“The biker died of blunt force trauma. “ Dr. Pradhan says pointing to the body on the left. 
“How do you know he’s the biker?” Inspector Sinha questions, curious if bodies could tell you that.
“That’s what your men told me. I assumed they found out about it from the people who saw it go down.” 
“Hmm. Please proceed”. Inspector Sinha says noncommittally. 
“Either from the hockey stick or from falling on the road. I found traces of cement and tar on his head wound but that could have been from the earlier scuffles too. Or from the fall, he wasn’t even wearing a helmet. Hard to tell yet.”
“Hmm. And the other?” Asks the Inspector. 
Several high pitched wails start out to his right, unnerving him momentarily. A quick glance confirms that its someone who knows at least one of the victims. Police personnel never brought the families to the crime scenes, there was too much gory stuff there to get over in a lifetime. Images of crime scenes could haunt them forever. Official procedures mandated that family be taken to the hospital. Which meant, someone here had to know the family to have called them. And he had to find out who that was.

“Stab wound to his chest. With a piece of glass. Some of it is still in him. He bled out almost instantly. Poor guy, caught in the middle of it. No wonder there aren’t any good samaritans left anymore” continues Dr. Pradhan as Inspector Sinha starts scratching his beard. A couple of constables try to console the stricken family members, a few more attempt to contain the spilling crowd. 
“I need to take the pedestrian to the hospital. I want to make sure he doesn’t have any concussions.” says Dr. Pradhan.
“I am not done with his statement yet.”
“You’ll have to do that at the hospital.”
Inspector Sinha waves an irritated hand at him. 

***

“Your name?”
“Mohan Dixit. I’m his brother” He says, amidst sniffles, pointing to the sheet on the right, unable to look, desperately trying to hold himself together. Daylight gives way to dusk. Sinha worries about the impending night, it would slow down the investigation. So far, after talking to eighteen different witnesses, they weren’t anywhere close to confirming which of the three was the biker, which one the pedestrian and which one the good samaritan. He offers Mohan a glass of water. 
“Is that his bike?” Sinha asks.
“No Sir, he didn’t have one.”
Well, Sinha thinks, that narrows it down a bit.  
“But he always travelled pillion with his friends. Sometimes they lent him his bike too, though Dad disapproved. I don’t know all of Manish’s friends Sir. I wish I knew, I wish..” His eyes are consumed by sadness as his body is racked by sobs. 
Sinha sighs. Back to square one. 
Mohan’s eyes fall on a broken part of a hockey stick lying to one side, the head of the stick now a dark reddish brown. His breath catches as Inspector Sinha senses the realization hitting Mohan. Dried blood.
“Is that? Is that how?.. I will not leave that sonofabitch alive, how did he..” yells Mohan, anger pulsating through his veins, his muscles bulging as he strides toward the ambulance. Sinha struggles to pull him back just as two more constables come in to help. 
“You have to calm down. We don’t know that he killed your brother. Let us do our job and we will find out and let you know. Contain yourself, don’t make me arrest you for assault. Your family has enough on their mind right now.” Warns Sinha. He understands the pain Mohan is going through. The depressed mind simply wants a physical entity to blame and in Mohan’s eyes the only survivor is to blame. But Sinha can’t let emotions distract him now. He has to be insensitive to do his job right. 

***

“Is the traffic police responsible for this mishap? Have they been lax in monitoring the traffic?” 
Media vans descend on the scene like a pack of vultures and quick-to-place-blame journalists shove microphones into the faces of those they identify as the top cops associated with the investigation and stricken onlookers. Photographers click pictures from various angles incessantly. It is going to be a long night, thinks Sinha, as he proceeds to talk to the next eyewitness on his list. He has always known that they are not dependable, but of a group of forty-three people who saw the whole thing go down, he hopes some of their stories would add up and help them construct a sequence of events. 

***

Its late into the night when Sinha and his men wind up from the crime scene and move to the hospital. Glass pieces, twigs, the hockey stick and other possible tools of destruction are carefully bagged to be preserved as evidence. The crowd has trickled down to nothing. The media has moved on to juicier pastures. Municipality sweepers are asked to remove the broken glass, tree twigs and wash the area down. A few constables stay behind to supervise the wrap up activities. Tomorrow it would be business as usual, the road as heavily populated as always, traffic just as jammed as ever.  Its 5AM by the time a vague picture starts forming and the police start building a chronology. 

In a brief time span of 15 minutes, a minor brush-off has occurred, two men have exchanged verbal vilifications, got into a fist fight and come to blows. Of a group of more than 43 men and women, just one single soul has attempted to break up the fight, getting embroiled in it himself. Sinha wishes more had intervened as a group and kept them apart. 

What really transpired between the men might forever remain an untold story, thinks Sinha, but his entire being screams that this was an event that could have been completely avoided. If only the men had chosen to step back from the brush off, if only they had decided to lodge an FIR with the police instead of trying to handle it themselves. It was yet another incident of road rage, adding to the recent statistics of road rages alarmingly on the rise, one that has ended in two casualties, a man severely scarred for life, witnesses left to deal with nightmares and horrid images of the fight, and heart-stricken families left to mourn their losses for a long time to come. Why have humans become so intolerant of each other, thinks Sinha, as he walks towards the lobby for a cup of coffee so he can keep going. Its going to be a long day. 

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: Gayathri Kannan, Participation Count: 03

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C Suresh

Good one Deepa! Managed to maintain the clarity of the conversation despite not mentioning 'Sinha said' and the likes.

muthu

i loved the idea. was expecting a mystery kind of ending. Where- the culprit is revealed at last. hmhm… I think the ending was poignant. Cheers.

Deepa

He he thanks! I am trying I am trying! Though I do see myself going back to my usual style with the whole band-baja-baarat! Bring out the verbs, adverbs, adjectives everything!

Deepa

I do wish to write a decent mystery piece one day! Hopefully sometime soon!

Diwakar Narayan

Deepa – normally, I hate long stories but I wish this was longer. No expectations set at all since the story ended before it started!

Deepa

Good one Deepa! And so relevant ! I actually witnesses two men going at each other with blows in the middle of the road . Thought of calling a policeman, but there wasn't a single one on the entire stretch. So, like everyone else didn't bother to intervene.. It's a sad state though!

aativas

Good plot and very well narrated. Yes, if we could follow simple rules in life – so much of pain would be avoided!!

Panchali

That was impeccable, Deepa. Like others, I was also expecting a different ending. But, you have aptly portrayed the situation of a witness trapped in an unpleasant police interrogation..sic
A well written piece..:)
ATB!

Ash

very well written…. from different perspectives… all the best

Bikram

A Lot of conversations .. and I know how it works .. in such situations a lot of TALK is required and only then things become clearer who is right or wrong . ALthough I have been and seen how police works in our country .. everyone is a criminal and they see all with the same eye..

lovely write up

Bikram's

odyzz

for me it was a long story but since it was gripping it took all my attention..lovely read
All the best for BAT

I am here
http://odizzey.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/an-untold-story/

Anonymous

very well written deepa! I feel these kinds of stories are very difficult to write. Constructing so many identities and slowly revealing the plot. You've done great justice and managed to add a message too! Kudos!

Amit Singh

I would say the best entry I have read so far ….

Deepa

🙁 Usually my posts end up being extra long and I have known people who get put off by long ones. That plus, in a conversation with another good friend, a co-blogger also helped with some constructive criticism around the length of the post – so I thought let me try restricting the length of my posts. I initially started off with a full narrative in the past tense then scrapped the whole thing and redid it mostly with dialogues. But the end result was already 1500 words long, and I felt I shouldn't go more. Maybe I should have! Trying to get to that crisp fiction where I leave an impact, the meaning is conveyed and the length is just right!

Deepa

Road rage is very much on the rise and human tolerance on the decline! The case of Kurla's pregnant nurse who got battered by a MOTHER and her teenage daughter because she raised her voice against a brush in with the son really heckled me. It is so sad that we are no longer respectful of others.

Deepa

Thanks aativas!

Deepa

Thank you Panchali! Much as we berate the cops and the system, they too are definitely doing a tough job!

Deepa

Thanks Ash!

Deepa

Thanks Bikram. "Been and seen how police works" – Been?

Deepa

Thanks Odyzz. Definitely getting conflicting reviews here! It was too long for some and ended before it started for others even though it was 1500+ words 🙁 I am trying to work towards a concise crisp fiction!

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