Candid Confessions of a Cupid
Analysis paralysis….an oft repeated jargon from my em-bee- eh days is not one which I like to throw around. Not in my friend circles, not in my family, nor even for the less fortunate who happen to navigate in the common social circles which I broodingly maintain. In general I am averse to using the common and much maligned beat-me-blue jargons, which I feel mostly fail the cause instead of enhancing the experience. Well I do not have a statistically placed hypothesis, so treat this as yet another proven-unless-disproven idea from my rambling monologues.
Suddenly I realized the blood dripping from my hands. It is amazing what you can accomplish even when you are topsy-turvy. I bent down and picked up the rag cloth from the floor and wiped my hands clean. The stained cloth somehow did not look like the ketchup stained ones which we normally find in the movies. But then again, nobody really kicks the shit out of the baddies in the movies, it is all about enacting scenes which even if not far-fetched do lack perspective. For instance when my upper cut broke his jaw, the noise was pure music. Mozart might have been inspired from such incidents in his life, who can tell?The feeling when your knuckles render the crack of bones is surreal. The adrenaline pumps in and there is no holding back. Kicks to the mid-riff, head, well bloody much anything belonging to his frame was so satisfying.
“He looked like a mad man intent on killing me”, he would have whispered through his punctured lungs, spitting blood all over the face of the inspector taking down his evidence. Well not if I could help it. To be honest, there was no longer any mad fury on my part, that was long devoured during the elaborate planning I had done. I felt more like a surgeon, deeply ensconced in the perfunctory job details, only this surgeon wasn’t saving lives, he was killing. The final knife thrust went straight through, well it was a good investment.
I waited a full 5 minutes to make sure he was really dead, kicked his already smashed face, a mixture of blood and tissues, once again just to check. Well he sure wasn’t breathing. I had made sure that it would take days if not weeks to ascertain his identity. This was only the second day of his vacation and nobody would really miss him for the next 2 weeks. Cell phone reception was scraggy here in the mountains, so a switched off mobile would not raise alarms immediately. After all when a “macho” guy goes on a road trip alone, these are just a few known hazards that come with the job.
I collected all his personal belongings and threw them in the garbage bag. I had thrown away his switched-off mobile into a lake a good 40 kms from this jungle. I cleaned his nails, bundled his clothes into the bag and then set to work to clean myself. I had a quick change of clothes, everything including my rain coat, boots, went into another garbage bag.
Having buried him in the wet earth, I poured kerosene over the bags and lit a fire. In the end, I threw my gloves into the rampaging flames. I stood to make sure all the bags were reduced to nothing, it could begin to rain anytime again. The tracks from my boot and car tires would all be washed away in the first 10 minutes of the rains. Even if GOD intervened and preserved them to incarcerate this lunatic, the generic boots used in the mountains would be simply untraceable to me. And I like to believe that used MRF tires, which have seen a lakh kms do not really leave much to read from the tread marks.
In any case the tires would be gone soon and the stolen car would be discarded.
I whistled as I started the car and put it into gear. “Swapnil gone, one left!”
I drove 200 kms through the night and checked into a motel in a non-descript town. It was already morning, I had a cold bath and then plonked onto the creaking bed. I do not forget the sleeping pills, I gulp a few of them down my throat with Carlsberg. As I drifted slowly into what would surely be a short bout of disturbed sleep, I smiled. Well I would not need the sleeping pills much longer.
It was a bright afternoon and we were having a quick lunch before the next lecture. Rhea was merely gobbling the food, with her eyes glued to the sheet of notes beside her plate. I had already finished my food and was playing with her luxuriant hair.
“Stop it na! Do you want me to fail?” Rhea said.
“Well you and I both know very well that you might at most drop a rank and still be in top 5 of the list. So why the false modesty, eh?” I chided her.
“Well it’s all very nice and easy for you, Mr. Topper, but I need to study to get a rank”, Rhea faked a sullen face.
I couldn’t resist the dimples and reached over the table for a quick kiss. She seemed surprised but the moment lingered on.
Seeming flustered, Rhea’s eyes darted around before she remembered to check the time.
“We need to leave, please call the waiter”, Rhea said.
The dream reels fast forwarded to a few months later. We had completed the first year in the hallowed em-bee-eh program and the students had decided to celebrate in a local club. Rhea was looking resplendent in her evening gown and we were dancing on the floor for quite some time. Suddenly I felt a tug from behind. It was Swapnil, already high from the phoren booze. His breath reeked of alcohol, he requested Rhea for a dance. Rhea rolled her eyes but played along.
A few more months down the line. Rhea and I were slowly drifting apart and the funny thing was I did not even know what the reason was. I liked to believe that we were both committed and well Rhea had a part to play in it too. Sure we had not looked at life beyond the college life, having decided to take stock of things when we reached the milestone. But we had been going steady and it was common knowledge in the campus if not in the entire town. We spent lesser and lesser time going out. She insisted she needed more time to devote to the specializations and I acceded to her requests. Then one fine day, one of my friends approached me with a grave face. It seemed Rhea had been sighted around the town on Swapnil’s Honda CBZ, on more occasions than one. Well it certainly was news to me and I decided to check for myself, before paying heed to the rumor mills.
I confronted Rhea trying to gauge the situation, well it resulted in a tear stricken Rhea making a grand exit from the college canteen. I was taken aback, I had not hurled any accusations and surely not acted like the obsessed, control freak partner. I could sense something amiss, however I decided to make peace and sent her numerous sms, with the near certainty that she would relent. I decided to give her some time and did not pester with phone calls that night. The next day in college, she avoided me throughout the breaks.
I finally managed to corner her on the way back from college. She was walking alone and panicked when she saw me approaching resolutely.
“It’s over, please leave me alone”. She somehow blurted out the words which would haunt me forever and turned on her heels and walked away briskly.
I could not understand what went wrong and tried to approach her over the next few days. Three days later I was walking back to the campus in the evening. The serpentine road, a short-cut was normally bereft of much traffic and it was already getting late. I remember seeing headlights, a few of them and then the sound of screeching tires. I could make out Swapnil’s face but lost consciousness before I could make out the other one. I spent the next month in a local hospital. I could understand the motive for the assault, it was the alpha male trying to mark his territory or at least so it seemed. I often wondered about the other masked figure.
Well not any more, I said out aloud as I opened my eyes. The so called “Alpha male” had no qualms about giving me the identity of his co-perpetrator. Well after a severe beating, several knife wounds, severed fingers and a blinded eye, even the alphas become the so called cowards! So, it was Akash who had hit me with the rod and injured my spine. It had taken around 6 years of intensive physiotherapy and exercises to get rid of the pronounced limp. Most people spend their entire lives chasing stuff they do not want in the first place, non-surprisingly they fail to achieve the high they so beseechingly seek. Well, for me it was easy. I had only one goal and plenty of time to feed the hatred inside me. On the outside I was just another ambitious man, for whom climbing up the corporate ladder was akin to un-earthing the Holy Grail. Well I excelled in that. But the real me kept preparing, trying to get rid of the handicap without which I would not be able to fulfill my goals. The task which would require immense amount of ingenuity but strength at the same time.
Before killing Swapnil, I had pondered at length and was increasingly convinced that Swapnil or his friend were not the alphas. An alpha is dormant inside each human being, what matters is when you bring it out. For some it is false bravado or the innate evil inside which is brazenly displayed. For others, it is called upon in moments of distress or acute need. When I spent 2 hours torturing Swapnil, I wondered what a revelation it would have been for Rhea! The ever popular, charming devil with a sculpted body had surrendered to a drunk geek who had got rid of a pronounced limp just a while ago. In hindsight I guess I owed a vote of thanks to Swapnil, for helping me on this journey, a path which I would not have known existed, for helping me instill the belief that it is only the mighty who inherit the earth!
I feasted on a sumptuous lunch in a nearby restaurant and hit the road again. On the way I dumped the car and stole another ride from a parking lot.
The next day I paid a visit to Akash’s apartment. I parked the car far away from the residential complex and waited for the guard to take a loo break. The CC TV cameras were non-functioning, I had checked that during my earlier recce of the housing complex. Later the police and Akash’s family would wonder why the thief killed Akash so gruesomely for a mere 8 lakhs worth of loot. I painted the walls red with Akash’s blood. Of course he deserved special attention and I had the whole night to break him, again and again and again…till he could no longer beg for his limbs, his eyes…and in the end his life.
I wiped the place clean of my presence and made an exit in the early hours of the winter morning.
The next day the news made headlines in almost all the major dailies. Well, the harrowing death of a powerful minister’s son could never go un-noticed. I noticed that they had left out quite a few details, no wonder at the behest of the city police. For example I could not find any mention of the 18 pieces in the news. I let out a sigh and threw the papers aside.
The police would be looking for angles and since Swapnil’s body would not be recovered anytime soon, they would not be able to trace it all back to me. I guessed I had a couple of days to leave town and then fly out. But I had to visit Rhea first and see her reaction first hand. I could not help but chuckle out aloud.
Rhea was shocked to see me. Once she regained her composure she offered me a seat in her plush duplex. After a bit of feigned friendly exchanges, I asked her if she had read the news. She was flustered and looked edgy. I told her about Swapnil. She was shaking now, I guess it must have been a mixture of both shock and fear. Even though I was dressed in business casuals, whom was I kidding? Having spent 7 long years for the final moment of liberation leaves tell-tale marks on your face.
I was studying her face intently. Did she attribute the scrawny, haggard looks to my smoking? Was the realization finally dawning on her? Was she reminiscing the old me who used to be love stricken around her and pamper her all the time? Well I could not leave things to chance.
I told her in details about how I had murdered both of her friends. She was positively shocked now. Or was it fear and guilt juxtaposed together?
As I took out the gloves from my pocket, I told her how I had long known that it was she who had requested Swapnil and Akash to teach me a lesson, strong enough to never bother her again. I told her she should have asked her friends to kill me instead, that it was a major faux pas on her part.
Before she could raise alarm my gloved hands were on her mouth.
Well, did I mention my math was always bad even though I am an em-bee-eh? The count was always three you see……..