Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Dhruva Chatterjee

Drama Crime


5.0  

Dhruva Chatterjee

Drama Crime


One Among Us

One Among Us

76 mins 495 76 mins 495

A LOYAL FRIEND


My childhood was, well, tumultuous, to put it mildly. The parents were good human beings, in fact too good human beings. Rarely have I found parents who would scold their own child first before another's if there ever was a fight between another kid and me. They did a lot of good work for the society at large though and were kind people; basically all round gems. I, on the other hand, was shy to the core and did good for myself first and then the society.

Friends were scarce in my world. It seemed everyone wanted to be a friend of someone but somehow I would never end up being that someone. Not once. Now that has got to be some kind of record for any person and especially so for a kid of age four.

“Hi Aarav, I bought a brand new ball yesterday and filled it up with air just a while back. Looks good, doesn't it?”, I hinted at him while I examined my ball.

He smiled at me and looked around him.


“Yes, I think we'll need two more guys to start up the game.”, I whispered to Aarav, hoping on one hand that he would hear me while on the other hoping that he wouldn't as it made my vulnerability too obvious.

“Hi Ayaan!”, he shouted so loudly upon seeing his daily playmate walking from across the park that I thought Ayaan was his long lost love. He ran to Ayaan as fast as he could.

“He says he has got a brand new ball; filled it up with some of his special air!”, he whispered into Ayaan's ears with a tone that pierced my heart. It had the smell of taunt in it.


“Now, what did I ever do to deserve that tone? I hardly know you and we have almost never talked to each other except when exchanging brief greetings while going to school. Despite that, I bought a fresh ball and filled it up so that you and I could play. And for five seconds of fame to be recognized as a 'funny' guy in front of your friend, you tore at my heart. All this performed by you, a child of four. Four! I feel like an amateur in front of pros like you.”, I said to myself in a soft tone.

I tried my best to make it retreat but the tears did flow in this four year old's eyes. But that didn't stop them from enjoying themselves. I waved my ball at them with a forced smile on my face, making one last attempt to persuade them for a game but they were too busy enjoying each other's company.


The image of my mother who had sweated a whole two hours last evening to choose the perfect ball for me so that I could finally make a friend, froze in my mind. I went to my home, closed my bedroom door and wept in my favourite corner.

That day and many others likewise defined my childhood. I moved onto the next day with the same enthusiasm for earning some form of care and love or at least some reciprocation from this world despite all the dirt thrown my way. I was the eternal optimist despite all the mental and physical blows from this 'beautiful' world. Now, being an eternal optimist at an age of thirty can be perhaps imagined, but being one at the age of four, that's maturity beyond one’s wildest imagination. Another record!


So, I had already broken two records by the time I was four but before a third feather could make a home on my cap, one incredible event occurred to me in order to enrich, as it were, all my later experiences even at such a tender age. I finally got not just a friend but a friend beyond compare, a partner for life. That fateful evening, I had been given a soft thrashing by some of the older kids in my neighborhood and I was lost in my own thoughts when suddenly I recognized his presence around me. He spoke in a soft and soothing voice and from the moment I heard him speak, I could feel an unmistakable deep bond between the two of us. I shared many of my experiences with him and he seemed to understand the depth of the feelings I felt deep inside without me having to give much details about any of them. Whenever we conversed, he instinctively understood what my next thought was going to be. This ability of his was almost uncanny. I thanked God from the bottom of my heart to have sent me someone to talk to at such a deep level.


“So, it has been tough, huh?”, he poked me.

“Well yes. But to tell you frankly, I feel a lot better now that am able to share my thoughts with you. I feel as if a hundred tons of weight has been taken off my chest. Relieved would be an understatement.”, I sighed.

“Well, don't worry too much about it. Remember to take it easy every time you are in any crisis or a dilemma. Step back, use your brain that you have aplenty anyway and find out what you can do to solve the problem at hand using your head rather than your heart. Don't be impulsive; think of yourself as a third person like a neutral observer and then take a decision with a calm mind. It helped me too in my early days.”, said my newfound friend with a lot of empathy and conviction in his voice.

He made me feel comfortable by talking of his own pains and adversities in life. I figured that he understood me so well because he too had gone through a lot of the anguish I had gone through myself in life thus far. But the difference between him and me was his extraordinary calmness about all that had passed in his life. He would continuously give me an impression that this life was all a game and none of the experiences were to be taken so seriously in life that they could start disturbing us. His words and the confidence with which he spoke those words gave me a lot of peace within and I looked forward to meeting him every day.

“It is true then what people say. God tests us at first but whenever finally God does decide to give us something, he gives with both hands open and beyond our wildest imagination.”, I thought to myself.


“Yes, he indeed does.”, replied my new friend almost as if I had spoken those words out aloud. He seemed extremely perceptive, compassionate and patient. I remember that day I had spoken to him about my whole life for close to three to four hours and he didn't budge for a moment from his place. He listened intently; and gave me the patience and respect I knew I deserved.

After that first meeting, we tried to meet each other on a daily basis. The more I met him, the more I got to understand just how incomparably loyal and caring he was. He always seemed to be around when I needed him the most but even during some rare occasions when I felt a bit insecure about him, he would assure me that he was here for the long haul.

I could sense the unconditional love in him for me and felt a certain godly or perhaps spiritual side to his soulful voice. He was to be my best friend for life.

He came into my lonely life and filled it with the happiness that I can confidently say none of my peers enjoyed ever. This story is about him and what all he shared with me through the notes in his diary, which he presented to me on that memorable day.

Meet my friend Mukund, a symbol of deep-rooted loyalty and unconditional love.


THE ACADEMIC LIFE


He was an average student in school academically but did have a flair for sports. His family was well off and respectable.

“Come Mukund, get your bag. The school bus is about to arrive.”, Mukund's mother said at seven in the morning.

“I am feeling a bit feverish. Can't I rest for today?”, said Mukund.

“That's your story daily. I can clearly see that you have no fever.”, said his mother as she felt his temple.

Mukund put on the school bag over his shoulder and walked in a half-awake state towards the bus stand.


The driver gave a smile through the glass pane upon seeing Mukund as he stopped the bus at the stand, realizing that Mukund was in a sleepy mode today too.

As Mukund took his seat in the bus just behind the driver’s, the driver said in a kind voice to Mukund, “You have such a good and caring family Mukund. Your father is so well educated and your parents are both so highly respected by everyone in the school. Why then don't you be a bit more like them; at least be alert and active when coming to school rather than in this sleepy manner. It gives a rather bad image, don't you think so dear Mukund?”

Mukund looked around in the bus and while most of the kids were busy playing, a few looked at him and then turned their heads away.

Mukund nodded shyly at the driver and stared out of the window to wave his mother goodbye.

“Bye Mom! I will see you in the afternoon.”, said Mukund as his mother gave a loving smile.


Mukund enjoyed this journey to school a lot as it was like a short holiday trip for him.

“There goes the tea shop. Everyone's enjoying their daily cup of tea and newspaper. I wonder how their biscuits taste compared to what we usually have at home. I can bet these are tastier.”, said Mukund to himself with a smile. “And there it is. The ice cream parlour. Still not open. Uhmmm, the sweet taste of cold ice cream on a bright morning on my lips would be no less than heavenly. A bunk one day from school won't be such a disaster I guess, let's see.”


After a lot of sightseeing, the school building finally arrived and everyone alighted from the bus and moved to their respective classrooms. Mukund's only fond memory from school was this hour long leisure trip he used to take daily on the bus. Everything else except this was a painful experience for him. The students in the school had their own small groups in which they operated, be in laboratory experiments or sports competitions or even in a lunch recess. Mukund had got used to being by himself and genuinely enjoyed each and every moment he spent alone. In fact, he dreaded now the company of another as he knew that no one could really satisfy his intellect’s demands and his heart's desires as much as he alone could.


Before passing out of school, Mukund did have one slight detour from his usual way of life and it was natural considering the age he was in. After all, he too was a human. It happened when he was in his pre-final year of school. A girl from another section had started to cause a mild flutter in his heart. She was extremely beautiful and elegant; and was loved by students and teachers equally in school. So, it was a special feeling for Mukund when Riya, the school sweetheart, one day smiled at him and talked to him for a whole fifteen minutes. Mukund never took much interest in anybody and was happy to be in his own little world. So, it was a big surprise for Mukund when Riya made her way through the crowd of students during lunch break and started a conversation with him.


“Hi. You are Mukund, right?”, she said in such a friendly manner that Mukund felt he had known her for ages. Mukund was not talked to in such a sweet manner for a long time by anyone and hence the overture by Riya seemed extra special. Mukund nodded and replied with a short smile.

“Why don't you join any of the groups when they have lunch. Whenever I have seen you, you are having lunch by yourself. Lighten up. Life is not so serious, you know. How about starting with our group? Friends?”, she said.

Mukund was at a loss for words. He had gotten so used to being ignored by everyone, he didn't know what his response should be to a smile. He just stood there motionless, hoping that Riya would perhaps smile a second time at him and take that as a confirmation from his side as an acceptance of her offer.

Riya smiled again and left Mukund, to join her group of friends at the lunch table. Mukund was dumbstruck as Riya was able to understand his thoughts and feelings so clearly without him having to say a word. For the first time in years, Mukund's eyes and lips were in synchronicity with the feelings in his heart but he composed himself within a few seconds lest he may lose control of the feeling of utmost peace that he felt inside. Nonetheless, Riya had made a cozy home for herself in Mukund's impregnable heart somewhere.

The next one and half years saw Mukund become slightly more open with the world around him, especially when he was around Riya and her gang of friends. Riya would always make sure to come and sit close to Mukund and make him feel comfortable. She would share a large share of her lunch with only Mukund on a daily basis. Riya used to invite Mukund over to her house off and on and had introduced Mukund to all her family members. Mukund became very fond of her over time.

And then came the high school results. Riya was good in studies and she did well as always. Her family members and a close friend had come to congratulate her at the school. Mukund rushed to see his score and upon seeing it, was glad that he had passed with a decent enough score, though not the best.

“Congrats Mukund. You made it.”, shouted Riya from among the crowd of students and their parents.

Mukund gave a thumbs up and smiled as he walked towards her.

“I don't need to ask your score do I? How much is it? Above 95%?”, Mukund asked Riya once face to face.

“Close enough. 94.5%, I am going to chill out for the next week or so. Why don't you come over to the party I am organizing this Friday at my home? Hey, by the way, this is Shrestha, my very close friend. Well, more than a close friend”, she said as she wrapped her arms around.

“Hello.”, said Shrestha. He was good looking, stylish and a few years older to Riya.

I smiled and shook his hand.


“Riya, due to personal reasons I won't be able to make it to your party this time. I have some work to conclude so excuse me for now. Take care.”, said Mukund, smiled at Riya for a few moments, turned his back to both of them and walked away.

Riya said, “All right Mukund. I will see you then at your home some day or you can come visit me too.”, she said smilingly.

Mukund gave a thumbs up while walking away and never looked back.

The original Mukund was back. And this time, he was more of a Mukund than he was ever before. Being an eternal optimist, he saw only the positive side of each circumstance.

He remarked with a large grin to himself, “A stronger Mukund is here, have absolutely no fear.”

“Amen” to such beautiful thoughts I would say.

College was an experience not much different from school for Mukund, he informed me through his diary. Mukund had decided to make English (Hons.) as his main course of study. He focused entirely on academics at college and kept a safe distance from any sort of groups or companionship.

“Mukund, how about a game of chess, eh?”, asked Rohit in a challenging tone. Mukund was pretty good at chess and Rohit knew that. Rohit was the college topper. Though he used to be extremely good in studies, Mukund never saw him with books ever. Most of the time, Rohit was either fooling around with friends or poking fun at perfect victims like Mukund.

“Not now Rohit. Just taking an evening walk. Sorry. Take care.”, said Mukund.

“Still the chicken you were two and half years back when you first came, huh Mukund? Just say yes and I will let you go else you do not pass me, said Rohit in an aggressive tone.

“Yes, still the chicken. May I pass, Sir?”, said Mukund in a taunting tone of his own to Rohit.

As Rohit moved aggressively towards Mukund, he smiled and said, “Listen. I will rephrase. Yes, I am still a chicken. I can't compete with you ever.”. There was submission in Mukund's voice and thus Rohit gave a crooked smile and stopped. He gestured for Mukund to move on.

Mukund nodded, smiled at Rohit and continued on the evening walk with his characteristic smile. “Take care then.”, said Mukund as he walked away.

It was not uncommon to find Mukund being at the receiving end of other students' jokes; often cruel ones. But Mukund kept to himself and spent hours at the college library and studied almost all the time. Even when he was in his hostel room, he would study books borrowed from the library.

Books which were part of his curriculum were not his only food. He consumed delicacies as varied as psychology, anthropology, medicines, history, chemistry, mathematics, crime literature among others.

“Not retiring to your room yet Mukund? There is more to life than just sitting at the library you know. No matter how much you read, you will still be a poor little weakling, you know that don't you?”, said a college senior to Mukund as she pointed him out to her group of friends while passing by the lawn directly in front of the library.


“Hmm. Well, thank you Jane. It is great to know your views as always. Why don't you do yourself a favour and do a bit of studying yourself?”, said Mukund with a wry smile.

“What was that? Say again...”, said Jane with a stern look. Mukund looked at her and her friends and they were ready to join in her cause, in case she needed them.

“Hmm! Nothing Jane. I was just suggesting that it is good to spend some time in the library off and on and read stuff you know. I didn't mean any disrespect.”, said Mukund with a soft tone, hoping that this issue would stop here.

“That's better. That is the kind of tone I want from a person like you. Next time, don't overestimate yourself and try to act over smart.”, said Jane as the boys and girls along with Jane moved on while laughing hilariously at Mukund.

“Person like me? She hardly knows me. I have just exchanged greetings twice with you since I came to this college and I have never misbehaved with anyone in this college and still you say 'that is the kind of tone I want from a person like you'. Why? And what kind of person am I? Too Submissive? Too Scared?”, Mukund thought to himself with a bit of anger in his eyes after a long time.

Despite that, he composed himself within minutes and was back to his reading.

Mukund had an exceptional quality, in the sense that if at all something did bother him even on a very deep level and he was very anxious or angry about it, he could compose himself pretty quick after the initial reaction and use his brain from thereon rather than his heart, to solve the issue at hand. Mukund could get a hold on his emotions and nerves very fast, even in very dire circumstances.

Books had become his second best friend; the first being me, I guess. Though he was picked on, humiliated and often even physically assaulted by almost everyone around him, he never got aggravated but interacted with and studied all his tormentors with utmost patience.

And thus three years of college passed in a jiffy and before Mukund knew it, he had passed out of college with a good enough score; his new found friendship with books as well as his experience with the tormentors had helped him achieve this feat. He thanked them all and was soon giving interviews for filling vacancies of teachers in various schools.


THE PROFESSIONAL LIFE


Mukund finally landed a job at the most prestigious school in our city, Sinclair High, a private school founded and supported by the Sinclair Group of Industries, one of the top most corporate groups of our country; I was so proud of him and so was his mother.

Not many were able to get an entry into even a temporary faculty position in this school let alone a permanent position. The salary was no less enviable; Mukund was getting paid in an entry level position, as much as a software engineer with three years experience of a good software company. I was dumbstruck at his luck, though I knew he was immensely talented and deserving too.

“A great news indeed, huh Mukund”, I said.

Mukund nodded. “The god times beckon.”, he said to himself.

“Good times, you mean. Yes, good times are finally here. I am so happy for you. You absolutely deserve it.”, said I.

“Good. God. One and the same thing. I am thankful for your friendship buddy. Your support also played a crucial role in my life.”, said Mukund.

“You must be kidding! It is quite the reverse Mukund. You have brought new confidence and immense joy in my life since you first came into my life. Thanks for everything you have given me so far in life.”, I said.


Mukund smiled while we watched the night sky from my home's terrace, enjoying the silence of the evening with our warm cups of tea.

It was to be Mukund's first day at school that day. He looked very smart and handsome indeed. The daily mode of transportation for millions in the city was to be Mukund's mode too.

“Would an auto rickshaw be more cost effective for Mukund or the Metro?”, I thought aloud.

“Well, I was thinking the Auto rickshaw would set me back by at least five hundred rupees daily but if I took the metro, I think I can make the to and fro in around a hundred and fifty. So, metro it is I guess” Mukund said to himself.

“Hmm. Well, Good luck Mukund. You shall meet me today evening to delight me with your first day's experience, won't you?”, I said.

Mukund nodded, smiled at me picked up his bag and was on his way to the local auto rickshaw stand from where he would take the auto to the nearest metro station.


“Prakriti station, please.”, said Mukund as he hopped onto one of the ride-sharing autos.

“Please could you move a bit Sir? You are taking of too much space. I can see you have some extra space to your left. Please just move a bit.”, said Mukund to one of the other passengers who was genuinely taking up too much space in the auto.

The passenger didn't shove even an inch, seeing which Mukund requested again to the passenger in the sweltering weather, to move a bit.

“Why don't you get a private taxi for yourself if you cannot handle the pressure of daily commute, you sophisticated idiot?”, said the passenger in a loud voice.

Mukund shut his mouth and went into a shell. Nothing had changed much from his college days; he was still the man at the receiving end of insults and jokes.

“Even at this ripe age of twenty seven? I mean, I am going to touch thirty soon, but where's my share of the respect, dear God?”, asked Mukund from deep inside his heart.

He got off at the Prakriti metro station and went to the ticket counter at the station.

“One for Sinclair metro station”, said Mukund to the man at the ticket counter.

“Would adding a please be too much to ask. Just dressing smart is not everything. You need to have manners and speak like a gentleman too.”, said the man with a taunt in his voice.

Mukund felt as if everyone around him thought he was a criminal the way they were all staring at him.

“Yes sure. Sinclair metro station please. One please.”, said Mukund, thoroughly embarrassed and angry that the man had chosen him to take out his frustration

When the man handed the ticket to Mukund, he said, “Well, thank you Sir. But I saw that the two persons who had taken the tickets before me also did not use the phrase 'Sir' or 'please' with you. I am just curious why you didn't mention what you said to me to them as well?”

“First you misbehave. And then you argue and question me. Where does it end for fools like you, tell me?”, shouted the main angrily.

“But Sir....I..”, Mukund protested.

“Get out of here. There are many more in the line. Next...”, said the man at the counter.

Mukund's eyes were red with anger and a feeling of humiliation.

“God has deliberately chosen me as their punching bag today it seems or at least someone else has. Everyone is hell bent on finding faults of mine where none exist and instead of being extra nice despite their own mistakes, they not only do not apologize but are actually having the gumption to pin me down. And that too on the first day of my career.”, said Mukund to himself.

He continued, “God, please give me the strength to be strong, to be calm, to stay focused. Please, oh help me Lord, please.”, pleaded Mukund to his heart and took three or four deep breaths.

After checking through security and waiting for another five minutes, Mukund boarded the train to Sinclair metro station.

As Mukund entered the school, the smartly dressed security guard saluted him and said, “Good Morning Sir! How may I help you?”

“Well, I am the new English teacher here.”, said Mukund.

“Yes. Mukund Sir, if I am correct?”, said the guard.

Mukund nodded smilingly. At least someone was giving him some form of respect that morning he thought.

“Well yes, please take the road straight from here and the main reception is there. Mr. Roy, the Supervisor, is waiting there for you; he had informed me that you would be coming.”, said the Guard with a smile.

“Thank you.”, said Mukund, as he made his way to the reception.

At the reception, Mukund asked the smartly-dressed lady there on how he could meet with Mr. Roy.

“Who is asking?”, said the woman wryly.

People at the reception usually behaved in this impolite a manner ironically, despite their primary job being that of giving a warm feeling to the visitor upon their arrival at the institution. Strange as it was, facts were facts.

“I am Mukund, the new English teacher.”, replied Mukund.

“Please wait”, said the lady, pointing towards the seats.

Mukund took a seat and it was a whole twenty minutes later that a gentleman came to him and said, “Hello Mukund. Roy here. Sorry for the slight delay.”

“Hello.”, said Mukund.

“Well, today you need not take any classes. I shall show you around and introduce you to our other faculty members.”, said Mr. Roy.

“That would be very nice. I would especially like to spend some time at the library here, if that is okay.”, said Mukund.

“Of course. Come, let's have some tea. What do you prefer, black or with milk?”, said Mr. Roy.

“Well, the regular; with milk”, said Mukund.

The next few hours Mr. Roy spent with Mukund, helping him understand how Sinclair worked and introducing him to all the other staff members. Mukund also got to meet some students of his own class, whom he was going to teach from the next day onward. The day was concluded by meeting the principal of Sinclair High and after the final goodbyes, Mukund left for his home.

“See you tomorrow morning at seven then Mr. Roy”, said Mukund as he boarded a local auto to take him to the Sinclair Metro Station.

Once at the station, Mukund had taken a ticket and was about to enter into the security check-in area, when another fellow passenger tried to overtake him and pushed him a bit.

“What was that?”, said Mukund.

“What? Move back! Walk fast enough or simply let others pass. Don't block the way boss!”, said the passenger adamantly.

Mukund was clearly walking at a brisk enough speed and the other passenger was obviously wrong; everyone could see it.

“But you broke the line and tried to overtake me. You are not only wrong but are now trying to put the blame on me, that is utter nonsense.”, said Mukund in a stern tone.

The other traveler was a well built muscular fellow and he rushed towards Mukund, stopping just short of a few centimeters away from Mukund.

Mukund was a bit scared as he felt this person was going to hit him and he covered his face with his hands and said in a trembling voice, “You are wrong. I am right, nothing will change that. I will keep saying it no matter what”.

The other fellow understood Mukund was a bit scared and he became even more aggressive.

“You can say all you want, doesn't make any difference to anyone. You are nothing but a big frustrated piece of meat. Reserve the frustration for your family; if you try it in front of people outside, you are gonna get beaten into pulp, understand buddy?”, said the fellow while pushing Mukund away with a jerk from his hands.

The cops came in and tried to pacify him and control the situation. They did not want any scene at the station.

“Come on, wrap it up you. Move on.”, said the cops as they shoved Mukund away while the other passenger kept shouting at Mukund.

“He is the one who was wrong and he tried to physically assault me too. Despite that, you are trying to pacify him instead of arresting him. That is not at all fair.”, pleaded Mukund to the head inspector.

“It's all right. This kind of things happen at such busy places. Move on please.”, he said in a calm tone.

Mukund was very upset that despite being on the right side, he got abuses from the wrong doer and the ones supposed to protect the right person were the ones providing excuses for the wrong one. And everyone around was simply having a good time.

“Hmm! This is how it works even now, huh! I thought things would be different with me becoming an earning member of this society. But the respect factor seems to elude me as before. Oh Lord Almighty, shall it ever....stop!”, thought Mukund to himself as he got onto his train to return home.

“Bad day, huh?”, I said to him when we were alone in the evening.

“Yes. Same bad day as always! Nothing's changed”, said Mukund in a somewhat disturbed tone and he related the day's incidents to me.


“You are still in control of your rage I would say. If it was me, and these things would have happened to me today, I would not be in quite the same condition you were. I would have thrown a fit at the station.”, I said.

“Well, whatever. Forget it! Tomorrow's a bright new day. Not everyday is the same.”, said Mukund smiling.

But boy, was he wrong! Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into two and half years but the situation of Mukund as far as his social, and now professional life, were concerned, turned from bad to worse. Mukund was an all round good guy but somehow people got to know that; and that is where the problem was. They took advantage of his niceness in every way possible. Right from students spreading lies about Mukund anonymously, being pushed around in the metros on his daily commutation to even being given a hearing or two by the principal on misconduct when he knew that he was innocent, were affairs that Mukund had got used to in the last two and half years.

“There he is again, trying to touch the young girl's hands standing by the seat at the corner.”, wrote Mukund in one of his diary notes. Mukund had mentioned about these four or five shady characters that traveled around the same time in the metro train when Mukund used to come back home. He described how these perverts used to harass the females in the metro trains by trying to touch them inappropriately.

“Not nice. On top of that, they get away with this behavior almost daily with frivolous excuses. Some day probably I shall do the honor of giving him the love back that he tries to give daily to the ladies. Someday...someday....”, wrote Mukund.

Anyhow, Mukund and I used to meet daily but his health had started to deteriorate gradually. Over the next two years, Mukund's frame of mind and state of health both started to take a serious beating.

Although he did not share his anguish with anyone but me, sometimes face to face and at other times as I realized later, by writing these notes for me in his diary, I could feel that he wanted to let people have a piece of the rage that had built up inside him.

But one fine day, on a weekend of the winter month of February, we met in the evening and the moment I heard him start to speak, I could feel that something was strangely different about him. He had a definite sense of calmness about him and his words seemed so serene Upon hearing him speak in such a way, I became extremely content myself as if he was a monk with an aura spreading all around him.


VALUING THIS LIFE


The monk spoke thus, “How is it going, buddy?”

“Very nice Mukund. You look, well...recharged”, I said. “Dark circles around the eyes gone, face has an effulgence about it, there is that smile I used to see long time ago.”

“Yes. I have been contemplating a lot these past few weeks; have been reading extensively; introspecting.”, said Mukund.

“About what?”, I thought.

“Well you know, about life in general”, he hinted.

“Well, I also do that every once in a while. I never got that glowing look on my face ever thinking about life”, I said aloud.

“Well, there has to be a difference between a genius and a common man isn't it?”, Mukund asked mockingly.

“A genius, eh!”, I poked him on.

“Yes, why not? There is a genius in everybody waiting to jump out to reveal himself to the world”, said Mukund

He continued, “Anyhow, coming to what I was earlier saying; where was I, hmm...”, said Mukund and tried to recollect why he had started the conversation. “Oh yes! See, I was saying that I have been reading a lot about life in depth, right from its practical aspects to the spiritual ones.”

“And..”, I thought.

“And I realized that everyone in this world actually wants one simple thing out of life. There is just one thing that everyone wants in common.”, Mukund said.

As I took a bite out of the sweet cake in front of me and looked at the clear star lit sky above, I realized that Mukund was, after a very long duration in our lives, speaking as clearly as the sky I saw above.

“And what is that my old pal?”, I asked Mukund.

“Respect! No. Make that RESPECT!”, said Mukund. “Most would think they want money or power but that is not it buddy. At the end of it all, what they are actually looking for is respect. Undying and unflinching respect. A respect which stands the test of time.”

“Ah! That is an impossibility to get from anyone in today's day and age.”, I thought aloud.

“Maybe quite the case. But hold on, that's not the end of the rabbit hole. The problem is how exactly do we get that respect?”, whispered Mukund in a deep baritone voice.

“Ya?”, I prodded him on.

“I will go into that later on but when I tried to analyze just where my life is currently, I realized that the worth of my life is close to nothing. Notwithstanding the humiliation and pathetic condition of life that I have had so far since my childhood, what was the value basically of my life I have been asking myself continuously.”, he said

His words were kind of hitting home for me. For people like him in society or for that matter for a person like me, what exactly did we bring to the table in society, for which even any significant number of people in our immediate vicinity, let alone in the country, would even remember our names.

I sat their listening to Mukund's words with a serene smile on my lips.

He was kind of making sense for anybody who felt like a nobody ever; and that certainly included me too.


“So, do you just have the problem? Or are you onto a solution as well Mukund?”, I asked.

“Well, to get a solution one has to first immerse himself deeply into the problem, doesn't he?”, said Mukund.

“Well, quite so. But come now, give me any quick fix; something that I can start using immediately.”, I said.

“Well, no quick fixes buddy. But yes, I am still understanding the depth and width of what I am reading currently and in a few weeks I shall probably have some answers for you.”, he said.

“And what am I to do till then. You are leaving me high and dry after getting me all excited.”, I said.

“Well, patience old pal. Patience!”, chuckled Mukund. As they say, patience bears the sweetest of fruits.

“Yes, have heard that one. Who hasn't?”, I said sarcastically, disappointed at not getting any immediate answers.

A couple of weeks passed; Mukund and I were meeting on a daily basis. Mukund's glow seemed constant as ever and he seemed like a man who now was possessed of something holy inside him; he just seemed so peaceful all the time.

About five weeks had passed, when one fine day on one of our get-togethers, he said, “You ready?”

I was glad that the day had come and I nodded affirmatively.

“Well, I concluded that day that everyone requires one common thing at the very root of it all, didn’t I?”, he asked me.

“Uhmm! Respect?”, I answered.

“True. Respect. Absolute respect. Unflinching respect, no matter what. Because...”, he paused.

“Because?”, I asked

“Because that is the only thing that will make a mark for us in this world and make everyone remember us.”, Mukund said. “And for achieving that kind of respect, we have to have one specific trait which is also at the root of all problems as well as solutions in life. And that trait is fearlessness.”

“Fearlessness? In what sense?”, I asked.

“Well, fearlessness in everything we do. Tell me the biggest fear you have in life?”, Mukund asked.

“Well, I would be scared if I lost my current job.”, I replied.

“Is that all, my friend? Think again.”, said Mukund.

“Well, family. My family. I fear losing my family too.”, I said.

“Think again! You are not trying hard enough”, said Mukund.

“Well, I don't get it. For the moment, that is the best I can come up with. Why don't you answer directly and stop beating around the bush.”, I said.

“Well, the one thing that is common for all; one fear which is at the root of all other fears I think, is the fear of death. We may conquer all other fears but the fear of death is the only one almost impossible to conquer.”, said Mukund as he took a long pause.


I was bamboozled for quite a few moments.

“By Joe! You are right. It was so obvious but I didn't really think of it that way. Fear of death, yes! That is a fear that is quite the mother of all fears, correct. You are so right!”, I said softly.

“Right! And what I am proposing my dear friend is to make a deal between us to destroy the fear of death so that we can achieve something truly outstanding which will lead us to make a mark for ourselves in this world which in turn will give us undying respect from the world and society at large.”, said Mukund.

I was a bit blacked out with all this stream of logic for the moment and put my head between my bent knees and just kept quiet for how long I don’t know. Mukund too followed suit. We were such good friends because we not only talked to each other so frankly but also because we gave each other the space and freedom when we needed it.

And this was one of those moments. The evening turned into night; we bade goodbye by simply nodding at each other that night and quietly going our own ways, promising each other to meet the next day to cement a plan.


When we met again the next day, Mukund informed me that he had been keeping a diary of some sort in which he had been jotting down his daily events and experiences, which he would be giving to me once the diary had some meaningful number of pages completed. Mukund told me that from that day onward he would be working towards a life of fearlessness; fearlessness from death.

“What do you mean? Sounds very melodramatic, huh?”, I chuckled.

“You shall know when you shall know. Just promise that you shall read my notes in the diary with the respect, love and care that I have shown you thus far in life”, he said with a tone of utmost depth.

I nodded and agreed from the bottom of my heart.

“We shall not meet for quite some time now. Probably a few months or maybe even a couple of years. But whenever I am done with my journey, you shall receive my diary I promise you that today.”, said Mukund and we both went our own ways that September.

***


Mukund had parted ways with me because he cared a lot about me and also because he felt that this journey would have been best understood by him if he were traveling alone.

“I have understood my true meaning in life. Most people, even seemingly successful ones, do not understand their true calling in life and I have finally done that. My true calling in life is to become free; truly free and after analyzing all aspects of my life as well as the workings of this world, I have come to realize that true freedom will elude me as long as I am in fear of death. I can beat all the fears but the fear of death is one that will keep coming back to me to haunt me forever so if I have to become truly free, a person who is not connected to this body but his soul, he has to truly overcome his fear of losing this body and in essence this means destroying my fear of death. And what better way to destroy the fear of death than by becoming death myself.”, wrote Mukund in his diary.

He further added, “So, I have decided to tread this path to attain my freedom; a long lost freedom!”,

I was quite startled reading his notes but decided to read on till the very end.


FIRST TASTE OF FREEDOM


It had been past six in the morning when Mukund woke up to the alarm bell in his bedroom. He was still a teacher at Sinclair High and travelled daily by metro on his usual route. Despite all the thorny pricks he was receiving from this world, the new Mukund was tranquil every step of the way.

“Hello Sir, one for Sinclair High please.”, said Mukund smilingly to the ticket counter man despite his regular irritating behavior.

“Here. Now, get on with it.”, said the man at the counter.

“Of course. Have a nice day. Forgotten your cup of morning tea Sir”, said Mukund, still smiling.

Fuming, the man gestured for Mukund to leave. Mukund smiled, gave a dry smile, looked him in the eye innocently and moved on to the station platform.

“A smile is such a beautiful thing; it makes a person so light. I wonder why people don't smile often as a smile by itself is powerful enough to lift one's spirits; it's not dependent on the person at the other end to return a smile back.”, thought Mukund to himself.

Mukund along with the morning office goers all entered the train after it stopped at their platform. The crowd was not huge as it was only around seven in the morning. Mukund was used to traveling standing in the train. He liked observing people around him.

“I think I shall start my 'Operation Freedom' from today evening itself. Or should I make it tomorrow. I could be late this evening as I have to check some papers of another section's that Mr. Roy was telling me about the other day.”, thought Mukund.

“Yes, tomorrow evening would be more apt. Besides tomorrow is Friday and then there is the week-end to relax and come recharged on Monday. Day after it is then! Right On!”, exclaimed Mukund to himself as he alighted from the train at Sinclair High.


It was an usual day for Mukund at the school but he returned home a bit late; around twenty past eight in the evening. As he passed through the security check and then the ticket counter, Mukund waved at the familiar man at the counter and with a sweet smile said, “Still working Sir? No work, no pay; same rules apply to everyone I see.”

The man looked at Mukund menacingly and then towards the passenger standing in front of him waiting for his ticket. The ticket counter man was also due for a change in his shift any minute now and he too was getting ready to go home, which was close by. Since he was poor, he had rented a small home in a neighborhood very close to the metro station so that he could save on the daily commute expenses.

Anyhow, Mukund took the usual auto ride to his home and then after a light dinner went straight to bed.

“Good Night Mom. See you in the morning.”, said Mukund.

“Good Night Mukund. Do you want some hot milk before sleeping?”, asked Mukund's mother.

“No, it's okay Ma. Good Night.”, said Mukund and went into deep sleep within a few minutes as he was extremely fatigued.

His trusted alarm clock woke up him as usual at around six in the morning and by seven he was at the station platform, ticket in hand, to board the train to Sinclair High.

“Off to the same boring job eh, pal!”, the man at the ticket counter had remarked to Mukund just as he received the ticket from him.

Mukund simply smiled, winked at him and said, “Yups. Same old. Same old! But who knows, maybe I'll get lucky today.”


The day was normal as usual and Mukund finished off his duties at the school, stayed a bit late at school and left for the Sinclair Metro station at around half past six. By seven in the evening, Mukund was already at Prakriti Metro station and he had a look around before exiting the station. The man at the ticket counter was still at work.

“His shift changes at around eight I think, from what I could gather yesterday.”, said Mukund to himself.

Mukund waited patiently somewhere around from where he could keep a watch on the exit gate of the station.

At around half past eight, the ticket counter man alighted from the stairs leading up to the exit gate of the metro station. He seemed in a hurry and crossed the road in a jiffy. Mukund upon seeing him left his cup of tea, paid the tea shop owner and walked briskly behind the ticket counter man.

The man passed through two to three zebra crossings and then crossed a kilometer long bridge. Mukund was on his trail silently and patiently.

“There is enough time. If not today, tomorrow beckons, what say Mukund?”, Mukund asked himself. “Oh yeah!”

Upon the end of the bridge was a very big park but dimply lit and not very well maintained. The man now entered the park. Mukund's eyes sparkled.

“Today it is, I guess.”, said Mukund to himself.

The man passed through many bunches of trees and plants but Mukund waited for the perfect moment to have a chit chat with this man.

Once Mukund saw an exceptionally dark place filled with noises of birds and crickets and covered by big trees and poor visibility, he ran past the man and stood in front of him.

“Hello. How are you doing?”, said Mukund.

“What?”, said the man irritatingly. “What do you want? Hey, aren't you that guy from the metro station? What are you doing here?”

“Well, just wanted to have some chit chat, nothing much. Some questions answered. A few minutes of your time, if you please Sir?”, said Mukund.


“Are you crazy or something? Don't ever follow me like this ever next time? What exactly do you want?”, said the man, now really fuming.

“Well, why do you talk in a disrespectful manner with me? When I am paying you the money for the ticket and talking in a respectful manner, why don't you reciprocate? Am I your father's servant Sir?”, said Mukund sarcastically.

The man jumped at Mukund after hearing him mention his father.

Mukund brought out a medium sized but extremely strong industrial grade wire from behind him and wrapped it around the man's throat and pulled hard, while getting behind him and pulling him down.

“Ughh! Ughh! I am gonna kill...”, the man choked and cried.

Mukund pulled at the wire with all his might, his jaws squeezing and eyes looking straight into the eyes of the man.

“You were saying, Sir?”, said Mukund after taking a breath and again squeezed hard on the wire.

“Ughhhh!! Please, ple.......”, said the man but within a few seconds his voice was muzzled as he lay unconscious.

“There you go Sir. All done and dusted.”, said Mukund as he checked the man's pulse on his jugular through his gloved hands.

“Shit! Still breathing! No worries, no worries my friend.”, Mukund said to the man as he whistled and went about his job in a methodical manner. He picked up a few razor sharp stones and dug into the man's chest with them. A fountain of blood simply erupted and Mukund got out of the way just in time to avoid getting his face splashed with it.

“Ah! Just missed me”, said Mukund mockingly to the river of blood flowing beside the ticket counter man.

“Well then, this is done. All right, see you in hell then my friend.”, said Mukund as he took off his gloves and threw them far away into a drain.

He now in a calm and controlled state of mind moved out of the area and got onto an auto rickshaw that was quite far away from the spot of his first adventure.

He chose and went into a metro station that was common between two to three different routes and chose a train from there to his station, Prakriti Metro station.

“I think I shall have a cappuccino at the cafe today before going home. God almighty, thank you.”, said Mukund.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me my first taste of fearlessness. Every day, little by little, promise me that you shall guide me as such to achieve a mastery over the greatest fear, this fear of death, so that I can taste a freedom that is eternal in nature. Thank you again.”

Mukund had had his first taste of freedom today. And going by what he wrote in the diary, “It tasted delicious!”


HONING THE SKILLS


Mukund woke up to a bright new morning on a Sunday and after freshening up, he heated up a cup of tea in the microwave which his mother had left for him before leaving for her office.

“Cup of tea, slices of buttered bread. An apple in the refrigerator. Don’t forget the apple. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right?”, wrote his mother in her note to Mukund.

“Right”, said Mukund aloud while smiling at his reflection in the mirror in front, thinking of the innovative ways he had devised recently to keep the monotony away.

“Hah!”, laughed Mukund almost instinctively with a wry smile.

“So, what's for dinner tomorrow?”, asked Mukund to himself, while looking at the mirror again.


“A spicy dish of a non-frustrated man I would say”, replied Mukund's reflection in the mirror. “Ah yes, why not?”

Mukund locked his home behind him, took a local cab to a market five kilometers from his home. There he purchased from a costume shop a set of different colored beards, hairs, mustaches and dresses. Although there was a market very close to his own home where costume shops were available, Mukund made it a point of buying such items from this market which was far away from his home.

“Ah! The quality is exquisite.”, remarked Mukund once he was in his bedroom and inspecting the items he had just bought. “I would recommend this shop to anyone who would be interested.”

“Or maybe not!”, laughed Mukund sarcastically.

“So, how about some good show now”, said Mukund to himself as he switched on the television after properly organizing all the items into his bag that he would need for the day after.

“Oh Yeah! Cops is on TV”, said Mukund as he changed the channel to his favorite one. He was fond of a reality TV show where cops used to apprehend and/or arrest criminals in real time.


Mukund spent till afternoon watching cops and dozed off somewhere around the end. He was woken up suddenly by a loud ring of the door bell. It was his mother.

“Hope you had your breakfast. I brought some lunch from the restaurant. Come, let's have lunch.”, said his mother.

Mukund and his mother had lunch and spent the next four to five hours doing what they liked and after dinner, each retired to his/her room, building up their reserves for the week ahead from the day after. “Good Night Ma”, said Mukund. “Good night!”

The next day was the usual schedule for Mukund. By seven, Mukund was at Prakriti Metro station and after receiving his ticket and a warm smile from the ticket counter man, Mukund smiled back, “Thank you Sir. Hope you are having a nice day.”


There were some additional police officers around the ticket counter than usual and upon seeing them Mukund paused and asked the man at the counter while giving space to the man after him to move ahead of him, “Something wrong? Haven't seen this much police presence here before.”

“Well yes, some incident has taken place. Just for added security I guess.”, said the counter man casually.

“OK. Take care then Sir”, said Mukund with a sweet smile.

“You too Sir. Next please.”, said he to Mukund.

“Hi Mukund”, said Mr. Roy upon Mukund's entry into the faculty room.

“Hello Mr. Roy. Hello everyone”, said Mukund addressing everyone in the room.

All the faculties looked up and waved at him and after a while each one including Mukund departed to their respective classrooms. The day went as per Mukund's routine and Mukund left Sinclair High by four in the afternoon. By five, Mukund was at Prakriti Metro station, where he waited at a small eatery from where the passing passengers could be seen comfortably.

“A vegetarian burger and a can of soda please.”, said Mukund.


“Sure Sir. Would you like cottage cheese in the burger or fried potato? And apologies, but we only have coca cola today and no other soda.”, said the man at the eatery counter.

“Cottage cheese would suffice. Coca Cola is absolutely fine. Thanks”, said Mukund.

“Right Sir. Five minutes please.”, said the man.

Mukund was keeping a close watch at the passengers, trying to locate someone. At around forty minutes past five his eyes glowed upon seeing a familiar figure join the ticket purchase line.

“There you are, my dear. Frustrated, eh?”, whispered Mukund to himself.

It was the same man who had shouted at Mukund and remarked that he was a frustrated man, not many days back.

“Here you are Sir”, said the man at the eatery as he handed the burger and soda in a paper bag to Mukund.

“Paper bags, huh! Good. It's best to not use plastic. I like your care for the environment. What is your name Sir?”, said Mukund.

“Joseph”, said the man.

“All right then Joseph, thank you for the service and take care.”, said Mukund.

“Thank you sir”, said Joseph.

Mukund walked at a fast pace since he saw that no one had still added himself behind 'his man'. Mukund joined the queue behind him and trudged along forward with the others. When time came for 'his man' to purchase a ticket, Mukund's eyes perked up and he inched a bit closer to the ticket counter.

“Stay back. Don't you see I am in the queue before you?”, said the man but paused a bit after seeing Mukund's face. “Your face seems familiar.”


“No. I have just one of those familiar faces. Sorry for taking up your space Sir”, said Mukund while just moving back a tad bit, but close enough to hear the station name that the man was going to.

“Arham station.”, said the man arrogantly.

“Still the gentleman that you were earlier, huh!”, thought Mukund to himself as he smiled at the man.

The man gave him a sly grin and walked away. “Next please.”, said the counter man.

“Oh sorry! I forgot to bring some change. I will be back in a bit. Sorry again Sir.”, said Mukund to the ticket counter man.

“Please move on. Next please.”, said the man as Mukund went back into the eatery and finished off his burger and soda.


“Sumptuous meal this. Thank you again Joseph!”, said Mukund aloud and waved goodbye to Joseph.

“So Arham, eh! Nice place. Quite a few malls there; perhaps I can go shopping some day there and buy Mum something good.”, said Mukund to himself.

Mukund lay low for the next few weeks and continued his daily way of life, going to Sinclair High and coming back home although he sometimes did choose to take a detour to the local coffee shop.

Then on a fine Monday morning, Mukund woke up to a sweet melody of words.

“Good Morning Mukund”, said his mother as she brought him a cup of tea.

“Morning Ma!”, said Mukund. After having a cup of tea and freshening himself up, Mukund was soon on his way to Prakriti Metro station. “It is that day of the year again when I get another taste of my new found freedom. Oh Lord, please make sure everything goes well. Though I do feel that my nerves are calm right now, you never know what happens at the time of the actual action so please promise to stay by my side throughout.”, said Mukund as if in request, looking up at the blue sky through the train's window. “Ah! The river below is so beautiful and the dense assembly of trees by its sides makes the scene simply enthralling.”

Mukund's day at the school was the usual stuff. After school, he was back at Prakriti Metro station but a bit earlier this time so that he would not miss 'his man'. He went into the washroom but when he got out, he was an old man; with white beard, artificial wrinkles on face, hunched back, spectacles on and dressed in a dhoti and white shirt on top. All his erstwhile clothes were neatly packed into his bag.


He sat at another food counter at the metro and patiently waited.

Around the same time as before, give or take fifteen minutes, the man arrived, picked up his ticket at the counter, went through security check and went onto the platform from whence he was to take the train to Arham. Mukund followed 'his man' step by step, not missing a beat in between his gait.

“Oh Lord! You do remember your promise correct. Hold my hand.”, prayed Mukund to his inner self.

Mukund kept a safe distance between his new play mate and himself. By the time Arham station arrived, it was a bit dark as it was past seven in the evening and the rains had set in. The monsoon season was a perfect setting for Mukund to execute his plan.

'His man' exited the train and then alighted a set of stairs towards the exit gate. Mukund followed him slowly and with a bent back whenever the man would look around casually but as soon as he was walking with his face forward, Mukund picked up pace.

“The streets are well lit and there are no visible dense parks here too. Oh Lord, is this how you promised to be by my side?”, pleaded Mukund to God. Mukund was still in pursuit of his man but quite a few roads, parks, malls, lanes were passed and the man just kept moving. And so did Mukund.


Finally, at a busy mall, the man stopped, looked up and went in. The mall housed a movie hall, plethora of shops and many food courts. Mukund saw the man enter a washroom.

“This is my only chance, if at all. Let me see.”, said Mukund to himself as he briskly entered the washroom but with a bent back. Once in the washroom, he saw that there were around five more men in it and decided to put off his plan for the current time. He relieved himself and followed 'his man' diligently. The man next went into a shop to buy some clothes while Mukund waited outside. After a while, the man exited the mall and it had now started to pour and the earlier darkness now seemed even more so due to the monsoon rainfall.

The man now entered a local by-lane but there was nobody on it as it was at an intersection between a slum and a railway underpass.

“This place seems deserted enough and I have got a brief two minutes to do what I got to do.”, thought Mukund to himself.


Mukund ran as fast as he could towards 'his man' and stopped just behind him, bent his back and shouted in an old frail voice, “Son, excuse me. Son!!”

The man stopped, stared at Mukund for a bit and finally walked halfway towards Mukund, arrogantly saying, “Yes, what do you want? Be quick. Can't you see it's pouring? I am all wet.”

“Oh sorry my dear frustrated man”, whispered Mukund.

“What? Speak up man! One last time. Speak up or else get lost old man!!”, shouted the man at the top of his voice.

Mukund mumbled some words again and gestured with his hands for the man to come closer. The man was livid now and walked aggressively towards Mukund and shouted, “What the heck did you just say? Didn't I just tell you to speak louder, you old gray haired weakling?”

When he was around two inches away from him, Mukund moved his hands swiftly but ferociously in a curved motion in front of the man's throat and while the man fell on the ground, blood splashing all around, Mukund said smilingly, “I was saying Sir, why are you so frustrated and why do you shout? Be kind and gentle in the next life to people around, else I am going to come after you again like this I promise, you naughty fella”.


“May God give solace to your soul now. See you someday up there or perhaps down there, huh!”, continued Mukund as he dumped the gloves from his hand and the sharp two-inch copper wires both far away from the site into a nearby drain and went on his way, leaving a sturdy man confused as to what exactly he had done to deserve this. Mukund looked from the corner of his eye 'his man' one last time and seeing his confused look, came back towards him, put his hands into his mouth while making sure that the blood around him did not touch him, pulled his tongue out forcefully and whispered into his left ear, “You have a foul tongue Sir. I am not frustrated”.

Mukund gave a special emphasis on his last two words, which is when the man's eyes opened wide. Mukund got up, jumped up from the ground touching his two toes together in the air midway and smiled at him, saying, “Do I look in any way frustrated boy? I am as joyful as a new born”. And Mukund moved on towards his home.


Thus, Mukund was able to set things straight with the two persons who had brought heart-wrenching grief to him, that of publicly humiliating him.

He had, on both the occasions, been able to channel his anger and control it. He had set a plan and gone about it in a methodical way.

“Anger is a form of emotion. Channeling it properly for a required outcome makes the difference between whether you are under its control or it is under your control. I hope I have made you proud dear Lord.”, thought Mukund as he looked at the dark sky from the window of the metro train as he traveled back towards his home.

Mukund had now tasted freedom a second time. And he didn't for a moment feel “Once bitten, twice shy. In fact he was now as brazen as brazen could be”.


THE BAD GUYS


He could see that one of them was trying to touch the young lady on her hand. Every time she shifted hands to another supporting bar on top of her to keep her balance, he also shifted his hands simultaneously after her.

“Please could you move your hand a bit.”, she requested the man. He looked in his late thirties, was kind of slim but had eyes burning like a hungry animal.

It was a routine affair for some groups of men of scrupulous character to come aboard the metro trains and take out their frustrations on innocent individuals, be it males or females.

“Move a bit”, said another one in their group as he pushed a man in his fifties towards a woman standing by him.

“I am extremely sorry”, said the man in his fifties to the woman on whom he got pushed upon. “Don't push like that. You can ask nicely. And by the way, there is enough space on your side, why do you need to move me?”, asked the elderly man in a serious tone.

“I want to stand here, that's all”, chuckled the annoying man as he joined his group of ruffians.

Mukund kept staring at this group of three individuals, observing their behavior and body language all the while. One was silently watching the other two and having a laugh.

“So this is what you require my Lord, is that it?”, asked Mukund looking towards the train's ceiling. Though it would have seemed like a ceiling to everyone else but to Mukund it must have been something entirely different for he smiled after a few moments of asking his question as if he had got a divine answer from above.


“All right then”, said Mukund as he kept observing the three men. The man who was quietly watching them and having a nice time was often touching his face, rubbing his neck though he was not sweating at all and tapping his fingers on the supporting handle above him.

“Classic nervous signs! Well, well, well...”, thought Mukund to himself and gave a wicked smile.

The men got off at JKP Metro station and Mukund followed suit. They exited the metro station and entered a food joint around half a kilometer to the west of the station; it was a quiet place with not many customers present there at that time.

“Three cheese sandwiches and sodas. Make it fast.”, said the man who Mukund had identified as the nervous one.

“Nervous there. Arrogant here. Interesting combination, eh!”, said Mukund to himself.

Mukund ordered a soda and two vegetarian sandwiches and continued his watch on them. “Don't think they are employed. I could use this.”, thought Mukund.

After a while, Mukund stood up and moved towards the three men.

“Excuse me gentlemen, I am from an employment agency and I think you three are perfect for a sales job that I currently am handing for a client. The pay is pretty good and requires people with good communication skills. I have been observing you from my table for quite a while now and have been seeing you three interact among yourselves for the past fifteen minutes. Your communication skills fit this job profile I am talking about aptly. I can arrange for you to get the job with just one condition.” said Mukund.



“All that is fine buddy. What's the pay like, first let us know that.”, said the one who was pushing the old man in the metro.

“Twenty five grand each plus perks. Interested?”, said Mukund but he already knew what the answer would be.

Their eyes sparkled and they asked in unison with a submissive tone, “Yes, of course. When can we start?”

Mukund grinned. “Give me your numbers. I shall call you up and fix the interview date. You need to be dressed in formals and not these jeans and t-shirts. You can arrange that, right?”, said Mukund while pointing at the man who he had concluded was the nervous one.

“Of course. We shall be there in formals. Here is my number. You may please call all three of us on this common number itself.”, said the 'nervous' one.

“OK. See you.”, said a smiling Mukund and went on his way.

Mukund took his train from the JKP metro station to Prakriti and was at his home in around thirty five minutes.

“Good evening Mom”, said Mukund as his mother opened the door for him.

“Some tea?”, she said.

“Yes and some sweet cookies. You still have any left from the chocolate ones you baked the other day for me?”, asked Mukund.

“Yes, I think I have. Let me check”, said his mother. After a while she said, “Yes, how many do you want Mukund?”

“Four would be nice, thank you.”, said Mukund.


After having tea and around two hours later a light dinner, Mukund's mother retired for the night. So did Mukund.

“Good night”, said Mukund to his mother and switched off the light in his room.

“Good night”, said his mother.

The day after was another story for everyone in the city as the winds were howling and a thunderstorm was afoot. Mukund washed up quickly as he wanted to leave early in the morning for some work.

“See you Ma, I am leaving early today but will be back at the usual time from my work.”, said Mukund and he closed the door to his home behind him.

“Stay safe. Watch the traffic before crossing the road please.”, said his mother reopening the door of their home.

“Yes, I know. Of course Ma”, said Mukund as he went down the stairs of his block.

Mukund boarded a local auto rickshaw and arrived at a building that was getting its final touches. It looked like a building which was almost ready for public view but not there just yet and seemed like a office complex of some sort.

“Hello, Mr. Costello from Goa. Here it is.”, said a man with a sly grin.

“Hello. So, how much for hard work. This is a good job you have done here. Nice. Nice”, said Mukund after inspecting the documents that the man handed over to him.

“The usual. Thirty Thousand. But from this moment on, I do not know you and you don't know me Boss, all right?”, said the man.



“Here you go”, said Mukund and the man walked away with the cash that Mukund handed over to him.

“Mr. Costello, eh! Nice”, said Mukund with a silent smile.

He then got onto another auto rickshaw and went to a place where there was a small office complex which was not in too urban an area. In a slightly deserted area, he changed into an office suit and put on a beard among his other getup. He was now a certain Mr. Costello from Goa.

“Hi. I am Joseph Costello. I am from Goa but planning on opening a small office here at first to start a small business before renting a bigger space here. For the moment, just a one room would suffice. My company is interviewing prospective employees and need to rent a space here for the next two months. Do you have any?”, said Mukund after entering a local broker's small office.

“Yes of course, what is your budget like?”, said the broker.

“Well, I was thinking in the range of ten to fifteen thousand a month”, said Mukund.

“Sure. We have something for around eleven thousand here. It is a one roomer but quite large; furnished”, said the man.

“I'll take it. I need it immediately.”, said Mukund.

“Of course. Let's finish the paperwork then.”, said the broker as he brought out a bunch of papers. “I would be needing an ID proof from you Sir.”

“Sure. Here.”, said Mukund as he handed the forged ID proof of Mr. Joseph Costello.

“Congratulations Sir”, said the broker and handed the keys to the room to Mukund.

“Thanks. I'll take your leave now.”, said Mukund as he went on his way towards Sinclair High. He had a lot of time on his hands as he had woken up early so he was in no hurry.

Mukund, on his way back home that day from Sinclair High, made a call from a local PCO booth to the 'nervous man' and asked the three of them to come to the place where he had just rented a new office.

“Thank you Sir. We shall be there; in formals Sir”, said the man.

“Yes. Good. You are to meet a Mr. Costello. He is a big shot from Goa. Be there at sharp seven in the morning as he does not like waiting”, said Mukund as he told the man the address to come for the interview.


“We shall be there Sir, no worries”, said the man in a soft tone.

Next day, at around seven in the morning, the three of them were in the office seated in a royal blue colored sofa while Mukund was doing his morning prayers in front of the deity which he had put in this new office. Upon finishing the prayers, he gave the three of them some offerings that he first had offered to the deity; it's usually thought auspicious to do so.

“Here you go”, said Mukund to the three of them while handing them the offering. “And there is the bottle of water in case you feel thirsty. Excuse me for a minute, I will be right back. I need to make a call”

And so saying, Mukund walked towards the exit door and in a flash of lightning, locked the two-inch thick sound proof door behind him. The three were a little perplexed. “Didn't he say he was going to be back? Why has he locked the main wooden door then?”, asked one of the men.

“Yes, I too heard a loud click sound, like when a key locks the door.”, said the 'nervous main'.

As the three men walked hurriedly towards the main door, they fell on the way, clutching their throat and shouting in deep agony as if they were being choked. In less than thirty seconds, they were lifeless on the ground going from loud sounds to none at all.

“The poison in the sweet offering ought to take care of them. May their soul rest in peace”, said Mukund as he ran as fast as he could and went into a public toilet. Luckily, no one was there except him and he quickly changed back to his work clothes and dumped all his previous outfits in a waste-bin nearby.

“Subtle! Very subtle! I feel really good how this all went. Three evil men less on this planet. Now, am I not your best pawn to balance the scales in this ruthless world, my Lord”, said Mukund.

“And I am the good guy, am I not Lord? Not one drop of blood spilled in anger, which is a form of fear; fearlessness and love for myself have been and will be my only guides.


THE LOVELY COUPLE


They looked like a nice couple. “I love you”, said the young man.

“No, I love you. Love you, love you.”, said the young woman by his side, arm in arm with rings on both their ring fingers.

It had been almost a year now since Mukund had provided proof of his fearlessness to himself and of his loyalty to the Almighty. The authorities also could not find any credible lead to the murders since there was no previous record of Mukund in any police files. In addition, Mukund was very discreet in his methods and left no trail so it was almost impossible for anyone to track the culprit down. And boy oh boy, was Mukund enjoying this anonymity to the hilt. “I wanted to leave a mark and be known. But I never knew anonymity could be so delectable a dish too, so I have decided to enjoy it for the time being.”, wrote Mukund in his diary as I smiled at his slyness while at the same time dreading what would become of him some time in the future.

“Anyhow, on to the current sequence of events now.”, I said to myself as I continued reading Mukund's memoir.


“They seem to be newly married”, Mukund thought while watching the couple's mild public display of affection in the metro at around nine at night. “Not a good time to be showing PDA”, he whispered to himself.

There weren't many people in the metro at this time and in actuality the metro coaches were almost vacant save a few like the couple in love and me. Mukund kept watching them off and on.

“Newly married?”, Mukund asked them politely.

“How is that your concern? We don't like talking to strangers like you. Please mind your own business.”, said the young lady.

“Hmm! Now, now. Why so rude, my sweet one. Everything about the sentence you just relayed to me was okay except the 'like you' part”, thought Mukund to himself. “Now why did you have to get so personal?”

“What exactly did you mean by 'like you' Ma'am? Sure I am a stranger, but what did you mean by like you?”, said Mukund to the young couple.

“Figure it out pal.”, said the young guy.

“What I meant was a pervert like you. There you go, I have made it simple enough for you to understand.”, said the young girl in her early twenties.

“How do you figure I am a pervert dear?”, said Mukund.

'First of all, do not call me that..”, said the girl

“Call you what?”, said Mukund.

“'Dear'. I am not your dear old man”, said the girl.

“And yes, you are a disturbed man. I can see it in your perverted eyes.”, said the girl. “Now stop talking to us. Buzz off”

“All right friends.”, said Mukund, stopped the conversation and move his eyes away from them.

“Anyway, how was your class today sweetheart?”, said the young man to the lady and they continued their conversation, aloof to Mukund's presence.

Mukund watched them off and on through the corner of his eyes though and smiled every so often as he had found his next stooges whom God had sent to sacrifice themselves for pleasing him.

“Ah! Can't thank you enough my Lord”, said Mukund aloud looking at the couple.


His voice was loud enough to make the couple look towards him. Mukund kept staring at them with a smile on his face this time and after a few moments of discomfort, they moved their eyes away. Mukund kept smiling. He wanted to take a slight detour before his actual destination.

The young couple got off at BLK Metro station. It was one of the least used stations when compared to other stations. It was close to the BLK Charity Trust, which was one of the most prolific philanthropic and respected organizations in the state and hence the name of the station.

Hand in hand the couple exited the station and took an auto rickshaw. “The BLK Mall please”, said the young lady.

Mukund too followed suit into an auto rickshaw of his own while taking note of the lady's words. “Hmm! Please. Please! For me, like you and for a complete stranger like an auto driver please. This one deserves special love from me; extra special in fact”, remarked Mukund with a cold look on his face.


Mukund followed the couple till BLK Mall, where they all disembarked. The couple entered the Mall while Mukund was close on the heels.

“How about this one Richa?”, said the young man to the lady, pointing towards a food court in the mall out of the many.

“No Sandeep, I think that one is better over there. Thin crowd too plus there is a larger variety of food on their menu.”, replied the young lady while looking at the large menu visible from a distance.

“Sure, Rogers it is then”, replied the young man while moving towards the Rogers Food Court with his lady following suit.

“Rogers it is for me too.”, chuckled Mukund and moved to a seat at a far distance from the couple's.

“She looks so beautiful on the outside yet she is so ugly inside. Just imagining her talking to a nice person like me with such imprudence makes me want to bring out the scales of justice.”, thought Mukund to himself.

“One cup of your best coffee and a sandwich please.”, said Mukund gesturing at a waiter.

Mukund spent the next half an hour observing the couple along with the beautifully decorated mall. “Things have really changed around here since I last came here four years back”, said Mukund to himself.


The couple had a light snack and then moved towards the exit door of the mall. Mukund followed them while keeping a fair distance.

After around one kilometer of walking, the couple entered a gate where the security guards smiled at and saluted them; a bit later Mukund could see that they boarded a set of stairs of a building and entered a house that was on the second floor.

“Most probably their residence, seeing the response of the guards. And the whole path from the metro station to their home here was well lit and extremely visible to the public. My normal play won't be of any use here; I need to innovate.”, thought Mukund to himself as he walked back towards the metro, from where he was to take the train to Prakriti Metro station.

Upon reaching home, he hugged his mother, refreshed himself, had dinner and went to sleep earlier than usual. “Good Night Mom!”, said Mukund aloud and retired to his room.

“Guards! Guards! But I cannot let the challenge get the better of me. I am the best. I can deliver the results my Lord. I can. I can!”, said Mukund aloud to himself. “Or can you?” “Of course I can. I will!”


“Who are you talking to Mukund?”, said his mother.

“No one Mom. Just revising some topics that I have to teach to my students. It's okay, go to sleep please. Good Night.” said Mukund.

“All right. Good night sweetheart.”, said Mukund's mother.

“Love you Mom”, said Mukund.

“Yes, you too.”, replied his mother.

“So, where was I? Yes, guards! Guards are a problem and so is the whole pathway from the metro to their home. I need a different set of tactics.”, thought Mukund when suddenly his eyes shone brightly and his lips made one of the widest grins he had ever made.

Over the course of the next few weeks, Mukund spent a few hours daily after leaving school to inspect whole area from the BLK Metro station to the couple's home.

After around two and half months, Mukund decided it was time to put his plan to action. The day was a Friday and the weather was amiable. “This looks good enough”, said Mukund looking at himself in the mirror of a public bathroom after he had changed his clothes into that of a courier delivery man and put on a black beard and a pair of spectacles. He looked no lesser a courier man than any other Tom, Dick or Harry.

He went straight into a public internet cafe and placed an order for a box of chocolates from a popular website to be delivered to 'Richa and Sandeep' and added their apartment's name which he had written down in his inspection tours while not providing any number. The only problem was as Mukund put it down in his diary, “The exact address of this couple. But what the hay, no risk, no gain right? But I need to be real quick lest the actual delivery man reach their address before me.”


After this, Mukund made his way towards the couple's apartment at breakneck speed in a hired auto rickshaw. Once there, he told the guards that a gift had been sent by someone for Mr. Sandeep and Ms. Richa who stay on the second floor here. When the guards asked for their exact address, Mukund said in a confident tone, “The person hasn't given the exact address but provided the name of this apartment and their names along with their floor. Our courier was told that it would not be a problem locating the recipients since there was only one couple with the name Sandeep and Richa here. The person who sent this courier said that it is a surprise gift and that he is a close friend of theirs”

The guards looked at him once or twice and then decided to call the couple's flat. Mukund was in luck as there was indeed one couple with those names. “Ma'am, he says that someone you know has sent a surprise gift for you.”, said one of the security guards.


After a while, the guards permitted Mukund to deliver the parcel.

It was past nine in the night so no one was outside of their flats in the common area, which is what Mukund had also calculated. Mukund took something out of his bag that looked like a small pistol and hid it behind the parcel and rang the bell with his other hand.

After around a minute, the young lady opened the door and said, “Yes, who has sent this and what is it?”

“Hello Ma'am. I am from 24X7 Courier and the person who sent this to you said that upon seeing the gift inside, you would know who she was”, said Mukund.

She smiled while opening the netted door. As soon as did so, Mukund handed her the package and looked around him quickly for two seconds and brought out his gun while gesturing to her to get in and put his hands on his mouth. The young guy, who was comfortably sitting on the sofa of the same room, came running towards his friend and Mukund but Mukund's gun made him stop in his path.

Mukund quickly shut their door and asked them to keep their hands up and not touch anything. “Anyone else here. I will just ask once, so please do not like my dear.”

No, it's just us. Please don't hurt us. Take whatever you want but please leave her.”, said the young man while Mukund kept his hold on the young lady’s beautiful skin.

“You have rather beautiful skin; pretty smooth, huh! What's your brand?”, asked Mukund.

“Uh! Femme One!”, replied the young lady as Mukund removed his hands so she could speak.

“Hmm! That's an international brand. Congratulations! You are doing good, sweetheart.”, said Mukund. “I have used not only dear but also sweetheart but your tone and body language is quite different from earlier. Why do you think it is so, my lovely ones?”

“Huh! We don't quite understand?”, said the young guy, confused beyond words.

“Turn around, I will show you something over there which will answer all your queries.”, replied Mukund as he let go of the young lady and made them both turn around side by side.

As soon as they did so, Mukund put on a set of surgical gloves and brought out the sharp wires from his bag he was carrying and slit the young guy's throat from behind him. The wire was so sharp that his head tilted by the side because the wire had injured some parts of even the bones inside his throat.


The woman almost fainted seeing blood gushing out of her partner's throat and she held his throat tightly, trying her best to stop the flow of blood. She was about to shout for help but Mukund was quick and he slit her throat before the beautiful one who owned it could use it to her advantage.

Mukund looked at the young lady in the eye and removed his beard and spectacles so that she could see once before dying what had led to her current fate. Upon seeing Mukund's face, her eyes became blank; they would have been wide open had it not been for the fountain of blood erupting from here throat. “And before you two ill-mannered oafs meet your creator, listen to this...dear, dear, dear, my sweetheart, sweetheart, sweetheart”, said Mukund with a loud laugh which lasted for close to ten seconds.

“All right, done and dusted.”, continued Mukund and moved at a vigorous speed after closing the couple's door behind them.

“Fast! Fast! Let's see if the guards are worth their pay”, said Mukund to himself though he had finished the whole affair in less than eight minutes.


As Mukund went towards the exit gate of the apartment, one guard asked him why it took him longer than usual to deliver the package. “It usually takes someone around five minutes to deliver a package and be back at the exit?”, enquired the guard.

“Well, I wasn't able to locate their exact flat at first. On top of that, they made a call to their friend who had sent the surprise package and took some time confirming that it was indeed she who had sent the package etc. I was asked to wait till then. Madam is now enjoying the cake I presume”, said Mukund with a sweet smile.

“Okay. You can go.”, said the guard keeping an eye on Mukund till he exited the main gate.

“See you buddy. Have a nice one”, said Mukund as he made his way towards an auto that was passing by.

“To the BLK Metro station,”, said Mukund to the auto driver. “That security guard is definitely worth his pay. But he could have done so much better; needs to be trained I guess.”, thought Mukund to himself. “Indeed.”


Mukund changed his clothes in a public washroom inside a private cabin and dumped his earlier clothes in a far away bin and took the metro train to Prakriti from BLK.

“Whatever I am doing, all this, is for you my Lord. As I keep saying repeatedly to you my dear Lord that I am doing this not out of uncontrolled anger but with a decisive goal of balancing the scales of justice towards me. I may have started with uncontrolled anger with the ticket counter man but after that each act was done with a detailed plan and was a form of controlled anger not an uncontrolled one. Isn't that what everyone desires, a control over anger. Isn't that what you desire my dear Lord? Isn't that what is meant by being fearless?”, Mukund wrote and underlined in his diary. “Yes, I know you desire the same for me. I had previously mastered control over anger but now have even mastered control over my envy for a couple in love. Please give me a sign that you are happy with my work my Lord and confirm to me that I am on the right path; being fearless”. Mukund's station arrived as these thoughts passed through his mind.

As he was about to get out of the door of the train, a couple was entering simultaneously; the couple and Mukund bumped into each other unintentionally.

“Oh, really sorry. Please come.”, said the young lady smiling, making way for Mukund to pass before they could enter.

“Thank you”, said Mukund to the lady.

Mukund had got his Lord's unequivocal answer.

He was indeed on his way to become truly fearless and attain his freedom.


THE ALPHA MALE


Mukund had been feeling quite confident that he perhaps had now become quite fearless and was firmly on his path to attaining his long lost freedom; most aspire to get it in their lives but only a select few get to attain it.

However, Mukund;s confidence was shaken a bit that day when he was sitting by the window while on his way back from Sinclair High, nearly seven months after his last adventure. At the PSK Metro Station, a huge muscular mass entered the metro and everyone's eyes turned towards him, including Mukund's.

He was about seven feet tall with biceps the size of Mukund's thighs and triceps at least half of that; huge was given a new definition by this giant of a man.

“An anomaly”, thought Mukund. Mukund felt an uneasiness in him which he deduced to be a form of fear and all his theories about himself came crashing to the ground.

“No! I am fearless”, said Mukund forcefully to himself. He made up his mind there and then to dominate this man, no matter what he needed to do to achieve it.

Mukund waved at him with a gentle smile and asked the giant to take his seat. The man looked at Mukund like only an alpha male could and Mukund didn't at all like what he was still feeling in some corner of his heart.

“You are mine, boy! Sorry that you have to be the scapegoat for attaining my freedom”, thought Mukund to himself.

The man walked up to Mukund and Mukund vacated his seat. The man sat on Mukund's seat and put on his headphones, looking away towards the blue sky visible through the train window.

“What? No thank you. Nothing at all”, Mukund thought to himself.

“And that's one more reason for me to do away with you”, Mukund whispered to himself while continuing to smile at the man.

The giant touched down at Prakriti Metro station.

“Thank you Lord. Thank you. You are the only one who truly understand me.”, said Mukund as he smiled at his luck.


The man exited the station and walked through a park and then another and then passed two zebra crossings before he entered a building. Mukund was on his heels.

“That's the Jackson Gym. Oh yeah! So, that's where he trains I presume. I will know in a few hours, won't I?”, said Mukund to himself. “Yes I would.”

Mukund knew all the places here as it was in his neighborhood. He hanged around the local coffee cafe until he saw the giant alight from the stairs of the gym. “He looks even bigger now with all the iron pumping. But pump or not, this was your last one my dear”, said Mukund to himself.

The giant took the exact path he had taken earlier to come to the gym, only in reverse direction. When the parks came, Mukund knew it was his chance as he knew which areas of the park were dark and lonely.

“There is an area that takes around three minutes to cover in the next corner which is completely secluded and dark. I am going to build your graveyard there, you alpha”, said Mukund to himself.

As soon as that area was visible, Mukund brought out a set of sharp wires that he fashioned into some sort of sharp knife's end and poked it deep into the giant's spinal cord from behind. The man cried in pain. Blood was spilling out from those muscles like there was no tomorrow. He leapt on Mukund who ran to another corner and went out of his reach. Then he went around him quickly and again pierced him hard on the left side of the waist and this time too it was a bull’s eye as blood from the middle part of his back now had a friend from his left part. In around one minute, the giant collapsed. Mukund now slowly went around the man and stood close to his head and put the full force of the rigidly put together wires on the man's forehead and made a mild hole in there.


“Just a 'thank you sir' could have saved your life. Why did you have to do this? Why don't you people just be a little more empathetic.”

“Empathetic you understand and not compassionate.”, said Mukund in a slightly louder voice and again ruthlessly pierced the man's belly five to six times.

“Say ‘thank you’ and I shall take you to the doctor's”, said Mukund with a kind face.

“Thank you”, said the giant with blood gushing out of his mouth as he spoke.

“Good. Now die!”, said Mukund with a wicked smile and left the man to die. He washed himself up with a bottle of water that he was carrying in his bag and went on his way.

The Alpha Male had given way to a common man. And Mukund gave a loud laugh and jumped in joy before he went into his favorite cafe for a cup of cappuccino to celebrate. He knew all the common men and women of the world were applauding his deeds every single minute.

“Thank you. Thank you!”, he said and bowed to the imaginary audience, before entering the cafe.

The guard at the gate of the cafe looked at Mukund in a perplexed manner.

“I am as common as you are. We are one.”, whispered Mukund into the guard's ears. The guard could not make any head or tail of what Mukund said and he simply saluted.


SALVATION


Mukund woke up the next morning and a strange thought started to make home in his mind. He felt that he had conquered all his fears except one. He could kill at will now without any fear of the law or the society.

“But could I kill myself? Fear of my own death is the biggest fear. Can I kill myself without being scared? Can I make that ultimate domination of fear and attain my final freedom?”, thought Mukund to himself

“A freedom not belonging to this world and a freedom that is forever; the eternal kind of freedom. It is easy to kill someone else but what about oneself?”

Such questions were to keep my best friend Mukund busy for the next few days.


Mukund spent that morning and a few after that introspecting whether he was ready for joining the big league. And in a week's time, he had made up his mind to take the step to conquer this ultimate fear of his and probably most people's.

But before he executed this last self-made assignment, he wrote these last few lines in his diary to me, “My friend, I leave you today with my step by step direction for every common man to achieve three things most people would never achieve in one life time and here it is: First Fearlessness → then True Freedom → finally Salvation. If you wish to get salvation and need a step by step guide for the same, then my diary can be your perfect road map. Rest I leave up to your good judgment.”



FINAL CHAPTER: Prakriti Police Station Public Declaration Board


"A man was found at the Prakriti Metro station with a bag filled with a bunch of wires and two bottles of water. Two abnormally sharp set of wires were also found in his hand by witnesses, dripping with blood. It is conclusive that this man slit his own throat with these two wires. Upon verification from known sources, witnesses who found his body as well as his mother who recognized his face in the visual media, he was confirmed to be a man in his late thirties by the name of Shirish who suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder and was undergoing psychiatric treatment at St. Louis hospital near his home. He was unmarried and unemployed. There are at least three cases involving a young couple, a metro ticket counter man and a local passenger of the metro rail, whose manner of death have a form of similarity to how Shirish killed himself. The investigations are still on. "


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