Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Janki and Mansoor (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1

(Suryakant Tripathi)

I have laid out the bare facts of the story of Janki and Mansoor, that I know from hindsight now. I am a CID officer, Suryakant Tripathi, working at the headquarters. When I get transfered back to the police department, I will serve as an Inspector. How I got here to this clerk-like nonsense post from being the king of streets, is actually what I am trying to tell you. The latest fad is to call the Delhi Police cops Raja, somehow the age old Mamu (mother's brother) has fallen out of favor with public.

The two murders took place twenty years ago, yes, that fatal year of 1992. You must have been much younger then, or maybe weren't born at all. As a reader you can choose to be whatever age, shape, color, caste and intelligence level you wish to be. I have limited options. I am five nine, just inches above the acceptable height to become a policeman. I am a policeman and my father and his father were in army. They thought that army has outlived its importance, and in times of peace, the Junta (public) resents freeloading army anyway. I am important to this story, not only because I will acting as your guide and narrator, but also because I was the one who arrested Mansoor on charges of corruption, and later investigated those murders. Mr. Agrawal was a man of shady character, but I must tell you this, that he knew how to get a job done, and paid the right tributes to the deserving.

I shall not say that I am the most honest person around. But these days, honesty means "not taking bribes from them who are absolutely in right, and cannot afford to pay." In the Kalyug (era of sin), the present Yugam (era), one good deed is worth what years of penance of Satyug (era of truth). In Kalyug honesty, truth, respect have new meanings. Truth is what has been proclaimed as fact by the most powerful group of people and announced loudest by the media. Respect is allowing the elders a few words, before ignoring all they have to say and looking at woman, without touching. Unfortunately, Mansoor was a Muslim and did not understand the concept of Kalyug. He was always intent on showing that he was better than rest of us, and could survive with the government salary itself. Saala Sham! He got a pension for his years at Army and he could get everything at half price from the Military Canteen. We all knew he was promoted to Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) position in double quick time, both due to Muslim quota and due to ex-serviceman quota. If someone were to give me ration at half price and promotion in double quick time, why would I not show myself as pure and righteous?

If you ask me to tell just the story brother, I will remind you that this is a Brahmin's recital. It meanders, it launches into lives of previous births as well as future circumstances or possibilities, and everything everywhere is connected to it. You must not question why I mention so many things. I will throw all I know at you, rather than keep a part with me and find out later that it could have been crucial to the case.

The case of Janki and Mansoor! I am still uncertain why they called it the case of Janki and Mansoor. If they wanted to highlight the murders, they should have mentioned Mr. Agrawal and Mansoor. I guess the journalists just like to think that way, and of course, the names of a Muslim male and a Hindu female together makes for a catchy headline. In 1992, when the Delhi folks got up on 12 August morning, the newspapers carried the news of murder on the third page. It was the first news among the local items; first page used to be sacrosanct then. Only national and international news showed up there. Only a decade later, first page had turned into a tabloid daydream and now in 2012, real news is found only on certain blog sites.

I found out about the murders from the newspaper. On 11 August, I had met Mansoor outside the grocery store. He was suspended officer and I was a Police Hawaldaar (sergeant) on duty. I had the urge to mock him, but his smile unnerved me. I did not need to salute him, but I did, I guess by sheer habit. Training as a policeman and an army-man is essentially a training in saluting. We bang our foot on the floor scores of times a day. No wonder our brains fall into our knees, and once they do, we become useful cadets for the government work. I asked him if the file dealing with revoking his suspension had moved. He smiled, and said, "I can't afford that."

I wanted to say, "What use are your principles now?" To my own surprise, I asked him, "Who is holding it? Lekhawat sahib, the Lucknow lackey? That guy is related to me, on my dead wife's side. He owes me a favor or two. So I will see what can be done." Mansoor had just nodded his head. Having met him in person only a day before, made the news of his murder a nauseating read for me. Mr. Agrawal's death was going to hit me more severely though; he contributed half of the monthly installment I was paying for a flat in a building constructed by him. This building was secure for his own flat was on the top floor.

(To be continued...)

Other chapters found here


Proma said...

Read it like a fish taking to water. I and the words met each other mid-way, a proof of good writing :). Lets see where the narrative meanders in future.

Now, I'm looking forward to the next one.

Vivek Sharma विवेक शर्मा said...


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Vivek Sharma comments: on 31 Aug 07 06:54:00 AM
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Have I given any such tags here to Delhi Police? I would imagine so far there are two cops, and one is good, one is bad. Mathematically speaking, the score of Delhi Police in corruption is zero:)

On a more serious note though, it doesn't matter what we like to believe. The ground reality sucks!

vandana1982 comments: on 31 Aug 07 06:12:00 AM
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Why do we always have to associate bribery and tag of dishonesty to Delhi Police?
Not all Police officers are dishonest and Delhi junta(Public) has full faith in Delhi police.
Vivek Sharma comments: on 30 Aug 07 10:01:00 AM
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Thanks geometrix and suchetana,

The drama has just begun. I hope to stay true to the tale and the story.

suchetana comments: on 30 Aug 07 07:37:00 AM
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hi...good going...looking forward to the next chapter.... the detached and dead- pan style made for a good read
Geometrix comments: on 30 Aug 07 06:03:00 AM
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Interesting, would wait for the next chapter.

Vivek Sharma विवेक शर्मा said...

:) Thanks Proma,
I hope to meet the readers half-way everytime.... but I do need to get more of them.

I guess I need practice to write well enough to succeed in keeping readers interested in a long story.

I'll learn as I write this one.


PS: The next episode is ready to be served. I will get it online in a day or two.