“Chain se sona hai to jaag jao!!”
I peered warily at the bearded bloke gesturing violent hand symbols on the idiot box while flecks of spit escaped the crater called mouth behind his Amazonian rainforest of a canopy of facial hair, testimony to his blatant vilification of crooks, all and sundry. The switch between HBO and Aaj Tak hadn’t taken place what you would call fluidly, the decibel level rising exponentially in the process and making me jump as a vituperation describing the alleged molestation of a hypothetical sister by some anonymous brother escaped my shameless throat. Normal circumstances would have seen me pressing the jump button to revert to seeing HBO commercials had a cursory glance at the screen not caught my discerning eye. It beamed a photograph of a man whose name comes up first upon Googling ‘Indians most hated’ and/or ‘someone, whom Indians would like to scald with hot iron, fry in a cauldron of hot, effervescent oil, and when he is dead get some Tantrik to resurrect him so that the above torture could be perpetrated perpetually.’
“Us dardnaak haadse ko kaun Bhartiya bhoola sakta hai? (thu thu thu) Aaj faisle ki ghadi pe Kasai Kasab ko saaja (thu)-e-maut (thu) di gayi. Aur zaraa ye to dekhiye!! Aaj court (thu) ke is faisla afzai hone ke (thu )turant baad Kasab apne Ghadiyaali Aasun bahane lag..”
Wait a second, what?
Disbelief writ large on my face, I only faintly registered the fact that a commercial break had been called for. It was right at that moment when Rajjo called me up.
“Kya karrrrrra?” she had this habit of rolling the r’s making it sound like a drum roll.
“Sansani has got some stuff on Kasab. Shedding crocodile tears, that’s what they reckon…bullshit cryogenically condensed earlier and being spewed via a medium of mass communication.”
“Yeah, saw it in the morning. The exact words I heard were Ghadiyaali aasun. Those guys desperately need a new creative workforce…”
“Considering the fact that alligators sob only before supper…”
“What a funny dweeb I got as a friend. Really ROFL, sach me. ”
Rajjo never really had a sense of humour, and out of courtesy I gave the jab a silent treatment.
“Funny how he cracked down right now, eh? Months after doing the San Andreas in corporeal life the culprit gets pricked by the conscience knife. Is it my imagination or the last line really rhymed?”
“Don’t tell me you haven’t heard about San Andreas!!” interjected I, “ PC game where you get to steal cars, kill people, bomb the city with F-16s and Apache copters and screw broads…”
“Shut up. What was the conscience thingy you blurted right now?”
“Well, a man who slaughtered a hundred plus people wouldn’t exactly be dreaming about children playing Ring-a Ring-o’ Roses every night, will he? Shuttling between the Arthur Road Jail and the court every few days, interaction with police officers as they grill him, making him aware of every single drop of blood he spilt, the wail of every single bereaved individual. The prosecutor leaving no video or picture of the carnage unseen in the court. Finally, as he is being handed out the capital punishment, the huge accumulation of remorse crashes upon him from all sides. Even with the knowledge that his end would be met in a similar fashion, it disconcerts even the strongest of men to know that their end is near, and from what I would expect, even more so by the fact that he is the murderer of countless innocuous souls being rubbed in his psych by the people surrounding him over this period of time. “
“Aha! So, a very fine day, a hardcore terrorist decides to display his softer side to the world.”
“Ohh come on, you don’t get up one morning in the jail thinking ‘I’ll go cry in the courthouse today’. Think about it. Trained under not so nice conditions for years and within earshot are twisted stories of how malicious the whole world is, why Jihad is necessary, how they themselves are contributing so much to the betterment of their own cause. Imagine him aboard that dinghy, his blood boiling with rage against everyone on the mainland hours before the rampage. How his finger never wavered with trepidation as he pressed the trigger similar to the manner he had done while at the target practise. How his face never blanched as he saw blood splattering all around, feeling a righteous anger throb as each drop of blood hit the floor.”
“Now let us come to the time he was imprisoned. He no longer is in vicinity of some deranged prophet. He is allowed, for the first time, to think for himself. Gory pictures of the incident are shown to him almost every other day. He hears the court proceedings, hears every intricate detail of his crime read out to him in kind. At this juncture, don’t you think there’s a possibility, howsoever remote, that a feeling of remorse is born somewhere? This might have been enough for him to start sobbing.”
“I dunno yaar, I had construed something different…” said Rajjo.
“Would you care to elaborate?”
“Of course, I love boring you.”
“Something which hasn’t eluded me.”
“Zip your mouth and listen. Kasab handled his first Kalashnikov at an age when you were busy mugging for IIT JEE. Lack of money for the family would initially be the reason for him to sign up for this job. Gradually, he would come under the influence of radical fundamentalists. Strenuous training and regular sessions of brainwashing would have hardened his heart; pure hatred would have been bred inside him against everything non-Islamic. Being regularly assured of getting through the Pearly Gates while Allah benevolently smiled at them by the Mullahs, they strengthened their resolve. Martyrs, they would be heralded, if they were to die for their kaum. Every genuine emotion arising from the feeling of an individual had been given an anaesthetic, and in their place were injected sentiments indoctrinated within them, which weren’t strong enough. ”
“Beg to differ. I, if ever, have snivelled in my lifetime, it has been either due to sudden influx of pain, or sadness, or viewing something so indescribably beautiful that something wells up within me, making me burst into tears…”
“Awwww you poor baby…” the voice of the other conversationalist conveyed unbridled mock.
“Atleast better than crying over not getting everyone to vote to wear a salwar suit for a group dance…”
“That was entirely uncalled for.”
“I shut up when you do.”
“I am sorry. Please go on.”
“Apology accepted. So, in all the aforementioned cases, the emotions have been true, strong and solely my own so as to have compelled me to succumb to the purge of my lachrymal glands. Either that or they give acting lessons in terrorist camps. In fact, if I be allowed to remark…”
“Incoming poor joke…” Rajjo muttered from the other side.
“They must be shown Shah Rukh Khan movies before going to bed.”
“Alright. Just the one emotion remained of the original, and was left deliberately, being nurtured until it achieved mammoth proportion. It was the desire for something in return for something. Earlier it was money, now it was martyrdom, which would be replaced with their rightful assertion that they had secured a berth in Heaven as Allah’s favoured sons who laid down their lives in their quest for Jihad.”
“At the court house today,” she continued, “being handed the capital punishment was, for this ruthless being, the faint sliver of sunlight severing in through sepulchral clouds. Here, he thought, will he receive the true reward he deserved. His thought process had so sinisterly been devised as to hold something even like death to be so welcome. Overcome with an ineffable emotion, that could either have been pleasure for getting his laurel, or maybe even sorrow for the unfulfilled desire to die with his brothers, could have been the reason that he shed those tears.”
“Yes, true, but all we can do is just make assumptions in the dark. Who really does know the real reason? No one but himself.”
“Yeah jee, ekdum sahi. Hey wait…”Fumbling sound emanated for a while before she said, “Hey, call you back in 10 minutes…”
“Yeah sure. Bye.”
Sansani had resumed. The vigorous demeanour of the news reader(aka performer) failed to hold meaning, as I thought how many people viewing this show would be influenced to think that those tears were just another gimmick, not unlike one he had the audacity to perform a couple of months ago. Another faction of the people would pin it on the guilt that lay heavy Kasab’s head. But then again, this part of society might not even exist; rather the one’s with Sansani’s and Rajjo’s stand may. If the society that believed in the notion of humanity developed crevasses and fissures upon every act of terrorism, the very fact that they supposed that penitence could perhaps have brought on those tears and then coming out to be untrue would feel like a whip lash on its spine.
Rajjo called 10 minutes later to inform Castle was being aired on Star World, and all imbroglios in the mind were expunged under the awe I felt for Stana Katic…