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What If…?

February 6, 2010

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 7; the seventh edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton

gavel

“We should be able to show the money to the judge before he starts the hearing; but she still hasn’t arrived with it. Where is she? Call her,” my lawyer asks me frantically. “She does not have a cell phone; but she will be here any moment,” I reply with a heavy sinking feeling in my stomach. “What? How come in today’s age, she does not have a cell phone?” I choose not to reply. This lawyer won’t understand the measures that one has to take with a young beautiful wife. But at this moment I wish I had allowed her a cellphone.

I hope I reach in time with the money; after all everything depends on me. I sat inside the auto, holding my handbag tightly, as if anyone may come suddenly and snatch it away. It’s a question of my life now.

I look up at the Magistrate, rather, the man who will decide my fate today. He is a man with a small build, thin moustache and a balding patch in his head. But today he is the God, sitting in judgment over my life. He had conveyed through his clerk that he will favour me if I pay him Rs. 50,000/-. When I heard the amount, I had laughed out loud. Just that much? He has absolutely no idea of my wealth! But then, no one has, not even my wife. No one knows where I stash away my wealth. I was initially wondering whom to reveal my secret location, to bring out the fifty thousand for the bribe. I finally decided on my wife – after all, she is dearer and more reliable than my crooks and I had already decided to start a new life with her, after this fiasco was over.

The Public Prosecutor started the proceedings. “Your Lordship, its a clear case of homicide. The accused, Charan Shaw is a local goon at Kalikapur, who has always terrorised innocent shopkeepers and vendors and extorted money from them”.

My lawyer jumped to his feet. “Your Lordship, my learned friend has no business describing the accused in such a manner. The question before the court is not what kind of a person he was but whether or not he had dealt the blows to Haru which caused his death.” The judge tells the prosecution lawyer to stick to the facts of the case. I look at him and try to figure out whether he has already received the money or not. But then, where is Smita? I look around the court room trying to locate her in the crowd.

I still remember the day he forcibly married me and I became the young wife of a man, ten years older to me. I was 19, beautiful, poor and vulnerable. Just when I started dreaming about beginning college and a whole new life, my father lost his job. Charan, the local goon showed immense concern for him, got him a part time job and in the process, made his move on me. I was forced to agree to his proposal by my father, by circumstances and by the love of my life. “I am in no position to marry you now and I cannot fight Charan,” he said remorsefully. I could not help but hate him from that moment and resigned myself to a life-long misery.

“Your Lordship, on the night of 12th December, at around 10 pm, the accused was sitting in the local club with three other persons, including the deceased. A fight broke out between the accused and Haru, one of the three present there, and the accused struck Haru in his face. Haru fell down on the floor and the accused repeatedly struck his stomach with his shoes. The other two pulled the accused away and Haru was taken to the hospital, where he finally succumbed to his injuries. Your Lordship has the doctor’s report and the post-mortem report before you to prove that death was caused by the injuries inflicted by the accused. I now pray your Lordship’s leave to present my witnesses.”

I am beginning to get restless. That thought again nagged me. What if Haru’s words had been true? “Charan bhai, keep a check on your wife. I saw her talking to that Madan Sahu in the market yesterday. I am sure you know of their old romance.” His words were cruel, demeaning and insulting. How dare my subordinate talk to me like that? Who is he to say such nonsense about my wife? Did he think that just because I considered him my best friend, it gave him the liberty to be insolent? Yes, I know that she had an affair with that boy before she married me. I had asked her too. She has told me that all that is behind her; a thing of past. And I believe her.

“I call upon Gouri Jha, one of the prime eye-witnesses before Your Lordship.”

I felt a nervous twitch in the hollow pit of my stomach. Gouri is Haru’s brother. He will take his revenge now. I did not hear what the prosecution lawyer was saying. I just waited for my wife to arrive with the money. May be I can be free if the judge is given the money after the trial is over; there’s still hope left.

“Auto, stop!” Madan climbed in and looked into my face. “Thank God, I found you. Why are you so late?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Did you get the money?” I showed him my hand bag. He smiled. “At last, we shall be free. I have waited for so long just for the day when both of us can start a new life.” I look at his handsome face, a face I have once loved and then hated, both with equal passion. I loved his free-spiritedness, his gay laughter and his boundless jest for life. And I hated him for his weakness of character. He abandoned me at a time when I needed him the most.

What are you thinking? Do you still hate me? After all that I went through for your sake? Listen, I have told you that had I protested then, that goon would have mauled me to death; like he did to Haru. He is a killer. Instead, I waited for the perfect time. See, even God is with us. He gave us the best opportunity we could have ever thought of.”

“Do you love me?” I asked what sounded like the most irrelevant question. “Smita, what are you talking of? Don’t you know yourself?” “Please answer me, I want to hear it from you.” I looked searchingly into his face. I needed the answer because depending on it, I was going to betray the trust of my husband.

“Your Lordship, both the prime eye witnesses have established beyond doubt the innocence of the accused. They have both unanimously stated that the deceased fell from a broken chair and hurt himself. The injuries in his stomach were caused when the sharp edge of the chair struck him before any of the other three could help him. It’s my humble prayer before your Lordship to give his verdict and acquit the accused of all false, baseless and frivolous charges.”

I could barely believe those words of my lawyer. Gouri and Vasant lied to save me! I looked at their faces, beaming with unmatched loyalty. Did they love me so much? Was I going to win the case despite not being able to bribe the Magistrate? Where is Smita? Has anything happened to her? Was Haru speaking the truth? I kept asking myself that one question. Everything else seemed pointless now. Suddenly it seemed that it no more mattered whether I win or lose; I just wanted Smita to be present at the court, with the money. I wanted to prove to the world that she had not betrayed.

“He is not a bad husband, really”.

“What are you talking of? That man forced you to marry him. He never really gave you any freedom. He was always suspicious of you. Didn’t you yourself say that you feel asphyxiated in that marriage?”

“Yes, but do you know something? He did not believe Haru, his best friend. He never believed anything any one else said about me. Do you realise that he could have just killed me, or both of us, based on what Haru told him?”

Madan looked at me flustered. “Listen, I know what this is all about. Plain and simple guilt. You are too soft, Smita. Now give me that bag and meet me at the station in 1 hour. We should not be seen going anywhere together”.

 “I shall bring the bag to the station,” I said, thinking what if I was taking the wrong decision.

Madan insisted, “It’s not safe for you to travel with so much money. Give it to me.” I stare at Madan’s face.

The court room was abuzz with discussion. I was led out of it by the policemen and instantly hugged tightly by Gouri and Vasant. The lawyer comes and smiles at me. “I can’t believe we won despite no bribe!” Even I could not believe the turn of fate. Gouri looked at me “Boss, I can never betray you. He was my brother, but you are the brother I have always admired and worshipped.” His words reminded me once again of her betrayal. I was not a killer, but my blind love made me one for life.

I stand at the bottom of the stairs, feeling scared that I may be too late. I can see him surrounded by his friends, laughing, patting his back. I do not understand the celebration. Did he win? At that precise moment, I catch his eyes.

What if I had believed what Haru said? I may have taken two more lives, without knowing the truth, which was standing a few feet away from me.

What if I had run away with Madan? I would have never known true love, which was standing a few feet away from me.

 

true-love-wallpaper

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

Edited to add: I did not win BAT but won the category of Masala (fiction) in the first edition of Blogeshwar contest for this post.

I AM A CERTIFIED BLOGESHWAR NOW 🙂

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45 Comments leave one →
  1. Semanti permalink
    February 6, 2010 4:58 pm

    I really really loved it. Excellent piece. It really held my attention till the end.

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 6, 2010 5:21 pm

      Thanks dear (hugs) 🙂

  2. February 6, 2010 6:32 pm

    Debosmita, this is such a well-written piece! I LOVE it! I was hoping real bad that she wouldn’t run away with Madan 🙂

  3. February 6, 2010 6:33 pm

    Oh, and I just noticed that you are feeling sick; feel better soon!

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 6, 2010 6:37 pm

      Thank u so much 🙂 am glad that u loved it… and thanks for ur wishes.. this season change has affected me 😦

  4. February 6, 2010 8:21 pm

    Awesome. Period.

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 8:26 am

      thank u 🙂 I had just two hours to write it and was a little apprehensive about its quality!

  5. February 6, 2010 10:49 pm

    hey wow that was really nice one…:D

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 8:26 am

      welcome to my blog and thank you so so much 🙂

  6. February 6, 2010 10:56 pm

    a good piece of work! keep writing!

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 8:27 am

      welcome and many thanks for your appreciation!

  7. February 7, 2010 12:04 am

    wow!!!

    now that was kewl… well woven story..

    All the best for the Blog-a-ton

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 8:27 am

      thank u so much 🙂 am glad that you liked it 🙂

  8. February 7, 2010 1:12 pm

    It held me captive till the very end. I expected him to be the killer and her to run away but this was truly amazing! Very good work 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 5:24 pm

      Thank u so much 🙂 btw, he IS a killer, but he got saved because his eye-witnesses turned hostile and gave false testimony in his favour 🙂 and she WAS going to run away but didn’t at the last moment when she realised that guy was mainly after the money!

  9. February 7, 2010 3:55 pm

    Damn you’re good!!! Loved the twist and the court scenes…. (yes scenes…it felt very movie/TV serial like) Great work Debosmita!!! 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 7, 2010 5:26 pm

      Thank u so so much 🙂 your compliments make my day! The courtroom drama may have seemed like a movie scene, but I was using real court language, from my experience 😉

  10. February 8, 2010 3:15 pm

    Clap clap clap!!! 🙂
    Superbo, Misha. I liked the narration and the story alike. Just too good. You don’t write stories that often, do you? This was a treat really. 😉 A lawyer writing a story dealing with court and law, huh? Couldn’t have asked for better. Hope to read more stories here. 🙂

    One small thing, if I may. The narration mode you’ve used: first person. I felt that either you should’ve used a third person narrative all along or a mixture of both (like R.K. Narayan’s ‘The Guide’) I’m in favour of the former though. Just an opinion. Kindly ignore it if you don’t agree with it. 🙂
    All in all, an excellent write up. All the best for Batom! 😉

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 8, 2010 4:07 pm

      Thank u so much! coming from the master story-teller, this sure is a huge compliment 🙂

      I used to write a lot of fiction before; been kinda out of touch of late… am glad that u liked it.

      My reason for using first person was one: I wanted to capture what both of them were thinking simultaneously… I guess, it became a bit confusing for the reader…

  11. February 8, 2010 4:09 pm

    You ARE indeed nice with this stuff.

    Keep it up lady!

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 8, 2010 4:34 pm

      thank u so much! and welcome to my blog 🙂

  12. February 8, 2010 11:45 pm

    End mein twist!! Wow, such an amazing write up!! Congo 🙂

    I loved it 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 9, 2010 7:38 pm

      Thank u so much 🙂 am so glad that u liked it 🙂

  13. February 9, 2010 1:12 am

    That was a well woven story with a twist 🙂 . Love legal thrillers — Grisham, Patterson, Martini et al to blame. The court room seemed to unfold before me and hold me captive.

    Good one !

    PS : If not already two series about law that I (in my humble opinion) love were — The Practice(late 90, can catch in re-runs) & The Good Wife (currently on CBS)

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 9, 2010 8:00 pm

      Thank u sirji… and I love both legal and medical thrillers! I just catch the Boston Legal sometimes 🙂 will check out the ones mentioned by you..

  14. February 9, 2010 4:49 pm

    Wow.. I was glued to the screen until the end.. amazing narration and plot. I also would agree with Karthik, maybe third person narration would have been simpler. But also ur point of capturing their thoughts is good. Nevertheless an amazing post..

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 9, 2010 8:00 pm

      Thank u so much 🙂 welcome here and keep visiting 🙂

  15. February 9, 2010 10:11 pm

    a well written story. from the word go it held my attention.. congrats! 😀
    hope to read more 🙂

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 10, 2010 1:05 pm

      thanks for the encouragement! and I, too hope to write more fiction 🙂

  16. February 9, 2010 11:20 pm

    I used to think that just doing conversations is pretty difficult and you pulled out a court scene….

    Bravo!!

    this was one story which was very hard to predict even one line earlier about what’s going to happen later!! very well narrated!

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 10, 2010 1:06 pm

      Really!?! you thought the story was unpredictable? now that’s a superb compliment since that was what I wanted to achieve 🙂 thank u so much!

  17. February 10, 2010 10:44 am

    excellent narration, simply love the flow and the end.

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 10, 2010 1:11 pm

      Thank u so much… I changed the end at the last moment bcos I initially wanted Smit to run away… When I was writing it, I kept on thinking what should be the end; and I had my answer just before I reached the final line 🙂

  18. February 10, 2010 6:25 pm

    Awe ….. Brilliant …… fantabulous ….. one of the bests in bat7 ….
    Am considering it for voting ….
    Great piece of work….
    innovative plot….
    liked the screenplay ………………. much original in thought ….
    liked it immensely and instinctively ……

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 10, 2010 6:33 pm

      Thank u so so much! Your appreciation is always special, because I also like your style of writing very much… am so happy that you liked it “immensely and “instinctly”.. it means that it truly appealed to you..

      Thank u once again 🙂

  19. February 10, 2010 10:10 pm

    Hey very well written.
    The twist and style of narration was excellent.
    :~)

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 11, 2010 10:12 am

      Hi, Arachana.. thank u so much 🙂

  20. DilOnTheRocks permalink
    February 11, 2010 6:02 am

    oh wow..Thats a wonderful story..A very good thought..:)

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 11, 2010 10:13 am

      Welcome! and many thanks for your appreciation 🙂 Comments like these keep me going 🙂

  21. Anshumala permalink
    February 11, 2010 11:08 am

    when i read your mail saying “legal court room drama” i thought it would be more biographical perhaps – loved the fiction very interesting and refreshing

    • debosmita permalink*
      February 11, 2010 5:33 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I witness enough court room drama on a daily basis to write a book, but then lay readers will not be able to understand the nuances… hence a fiction with generous amount of emotions thrown in…

      thank god that u read it, after my prodding mail…my other esteemed colleague has chosen to ignore it 😦

  22. August 3, 2010 12:54 pm

    That was a real masaledar post 🙂 Only crib I have is, you frequently changed from past tense to present and back, which was sort of confusing. Though, I did like the way you narrated two parrallel streams at the same time. Very well done.

    • debosmita permalink*
      August 3, 2010 1:01 pm

      Thanks Pal for dropping by! I agree, the change in narration/time frame etc make it confusing; hence I tried all possible ways to make the two paraller thought process separate 🙂 Glad that you liked it.

  23. Suman permalink
    December 22, 2010 1:25 am

    hey.. good one.. considering myself a rare reader.. reading 3 of ur blog posts @ jus proves how good ur story was!!.. any particular reason for choosing the word ‘asphyxiated’.

    • debosmita permalink*
      December 22, 2010 5:48 pm

      Hey, Suman
      Firstly, welcome to my blog and thank you so much for staying on 🙂

      No special reason, but I like the word 🙂 I use it quite often!

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