Peter woke up smiling that morning. It was due to a dream he had that morning in which he was conducting a workshop for farmers and their representatives. The dream looked so real he woke up with a smile. He wondered if that dream meant anything to do with a bid for a consultancy he had made. Indeed, it was as he received a mail from the organisation that they were interested in his bid and could they have a call a week later. That mail got him excited.
As his name suggests his daily routine repeated itself in his mundane life. But he wasn’t the one to crib. Going by the GOAT (greatest of all time) PM he told himself when he woke up each morning telling himself that ‘achche’ din has arrived. He was glad at the end of the day that nothing untoward happened.
That evening after the call was done when the project manager had confirmed that he was receiving the contract he decided to celebrate by getting himself a pair of suede shoes he had eyed in a store, few weeks earlier, that seemed to sell export surplus, seconds at a cheap price. As his is wont he cycled the distance of 5 km and bought himself that pair for a pittance of seven hundred rupees. He later got a shock of his life when he found the same brand of shoes in amazon.in known as Keen going for above fifteen grand.
Now coming to his daughter Sara who passed with a degree in travel, who never says sorry. Interesting bit about Sara was that she was born in a train compartment. As the train jerked violently during journey her mother Julie got birth pangs. Luckily there was a lady gynaecologist travelling in the same compartment she arranged safe delivery. It was due to this fact or not Sara liked travel. Peter took her sometime on his work too apart from family holidays. By the time Sara joined her degree course on travel and tourism one could say she was most travelled among her classmates. So, it was no wonder she decided when she got her annual incentive, a decent sum, she decided to travel abroad this time. Sara, to be noted, in the previous year had vowed herself one trip a month and she managed to complete her vow. Peter and Julie felt it was a good thing Sara got the travel bug but didn’t bring home any from her travels. It would have been travails for the family had she brought some home. But getting a visa turned out to be a nail-biting affair and Sara in the process had chewed most of her finger nails. Peter wondered if she was biting her toe nails too due to tension. Finally, when the visa came two days before the journey Sara got into some last-minute shopping. She too became keen to look up the stores her dad had been, to pick up a Keen brand leather shoe that he had recommended.
She did manage to hunt out a pair of Cole Haans, which was selling at 20 plus grand in the online shops and as dad had advised decided to wear it to office the next two days to break into the shoes as she had a mind to take it during her foreign travel. By this act, Sara unknowingly had set off a stalking by a local thug who was nicknamed as ‘Four-feeter.’
Four-feeter got nicknamed so as he measured exactly four feet. But he was a thug of repute. He always sported a gun, a toy gun, but looked like a real one. His boss, the Don, had bought it during one of his trips abroad and presented to him. And when he pressed the trigger which Four-feeter did only on a few occasions produced a flame and a sound that mimicked the real gun. In addition, he always sported a t-shirt that announced ‘I have license to kill’ and to the passer-by who looked at his t-shirt he would remark menacingly though not necessarily a Bond. Thus, he earned a reputation and people didn’t choose to mess with him in-spite of his height.
Exactly one hour after Sara walked away with a cool pair of Cole Haans, Four-feeter walked in accompanying his boss’s daughter a teen-age brat, by the name Beth. If Beth wanted something she has to get it. That was her way of life for her. Beth had told her dad and dad had asked Four-feeter to accompany her and ensure she gets that pair of shoes.
Beth couldn’t find it as the only pair had been sold. She would have none of it. So, Four-feeter got into action. He called for the store manager who said it was an odd pair that they had procured and it was sold. They didn’t have any stock of the same shoe and cannot tell if they would get such a one in future. Beth was breathing with fire when she heard all that. Four-feeter too felt the heat. They went to the sales counter and asked for the mobile number of the customer who had purchased it. Initially the clerk refused to part with the information but when Four-feeter menacingly touched his holster he parted with the number. When Four-feeter dialled the number a few times Sara seeing that it was an unknown number decided to ignore it. Four-feeter got mad by that time. He left Beth at home and marched up to the local Air-Tel office and demanded the address of the client who owned the number. But the executive refused to tell with a bit of heavy air. He had to repeat his threat here too to get the details. It was already ten in the night when Four-feeter was at the gate of the apartment where Sara lived.
Four-feeter was practical in his way of thuggery. He normally didn’t mess with apartment residents. There was security, CCTV and some of the residents would have strong local connections with the police, political big-wigs. Don would never appreciate his involvement for a pair of shoes getting out of hand. So, he quietly enquired with the security dangling a bribe and got to know Sara lives with Peter and her mother Julie and Sara gets out at eight in the morning for work every day.
Next day Four-feeter was ready in his boss’s car at the apartment’s gate on the opposite side. He knew it was the girl Sara when he saw the Cole Haans boots on her feet. She swaggered towards the gate and got into an auto-rickshaw. He followed her to the metro station and to her office. He wondered what sort of a business was she working with when he saw the signage “youwork-we earn” displayed at the gate. He stayed put in front of the gate while he telephoned his driver to reach the place he was watching from. In the evening Sara stepped out at seven and walked towards the metro station and he was there at the apartment gate when Sara entered the gate at eight. The same pattern continued the next day. He wondered how different Sara was from other girls: no bar or boy-friends; home to office and back home!! The last two nights went sleepless for him as he was yet to make a plan how to persuade Sara to give up her shoes. Then he made up his mind.
Third day and fourth day Sara didn’t come out of her apartment at all. Four-feeter was in a panic. He knew about work from home. But still, he wondered. He enquired with the security dangling a bribe as he had done before. The security had told her that Sara left for airport early morning in an airport taxi. Four-feeter knew that he had lost the battle, instinctively. He didn’t know how he would face Beth or Don. As anticipated Don fired him of the body -guard job and relieved him of his toy gun and asked him to man the house garden. A demotion of sorts.
Luckily for him the stores rang him up a few days later and informed him of arrival of new stock, but he better hurry up. Beth was finally happy. Don gave him back his toy gun and restored his body guard job. Four-feeter was once again seen around walking with a swagger in his customary t-shirt.
One fine day Peter got surprised when a small man waved at him and gave him a piece of paper. The man said “should you have any problem of any kind, call me in this number.” Peter didn’t understand but put the paper in his shirt pocket.
Four-feeter liked what he saw of Sara in that couple of days he had stalked her. He appointed himself as a guard for her for life.