artist on a mend
  New works || Sketchbook || Old works || Old-master studies || About me || Contact

Kimbhoot investigations - Act 4

The Goon


Kimbhoot - "Fascinating name - Karuna-sundar! What does it mean? Beauty of mercy, or pitiful beauty? Anyway, I should've guessed your name on sight. So tell me Karunababu, here you are, walking up and down the road at this hour, enjoying the fragrance of burnt diesel - don't you ever sleep?"

Karuna - "Sleep? Of course I do! I sleep like a horse, standing. When in a queue, or in the bus - hanging by the handle. Or at my desk in office. Here you can't sleep at night, nobody can. And my wife blames me...sigh! Look, I am not alone. Many others are taking a walk. There you go - that man in shorts, yes...the one with that overhanging paunch - Bhudeb-babu, works with the government, a secretary in the department of environment. Out on a pre-dawn walk. And there's that lanky guy - a researcher on noise pollution, a professor in college. And that man approaching us - loincloth, bristly hair...hey! Wait a minute, it's that ruffian, that security guard for Gunnu! It's Lotkeram! What on earth does he want? Excuse me, I must scram immediately...I don't wish to meet him, or subscribe for Hanuman puja...bye"(he disappears!)

Kimbhoot - "Jai bajrangbali! Hail the Great Hanuman!"

Lotkeram - "Haven't you left yet? All right, you may stay, but go on, get me some more know what."

Kimbhoot - "Ganja? Do you wish to bankrupt me? Sigh...okay, here you go, there's another handful. But do be careful, this is the purest stuff, straight from the foothills of Hindukush."

Lotkeram - "Ah...thanks, that's great! But don't hang around far too long. I won't be able to save you from the Lord."

Kimbhoot - "The Lord? You mean Zeus, the king of the gods? Oh, don't you worry about him, WE pull all the strings up there. I'll simply send in an application and things will be taken care of."

Lotkeram - "You fool! I am talking about the Lord of THIS locality. Gunnudada! Gunnu the Boss (listens to the roar of approaching motorbikes) Here he comes...I must leave now, quickly!

Gunnu - (Notices his security guard's retreating rear end from a distance- calls out aloud)"LOTKERAM...yo Lotke!"(Lotkeram simply vanishes!)

Gunnu - "Bloody duffer! Never knew he was so deaf! Now... (looks at Kimbhoot) who are you, eh? What do you want?"

Kimbhoot - "Ah...I am, I mean..."

Gunnu - "Oh I see, you wish to set up shop, right? Don't worry, there's an empty slot right next to the butcher's...3 by 2 and a 1/2 feet, should be okay. Set up a Chinese food stall if you must, but the menu mustn't include chicken chowmein...horribly boring dish. Can you cook Thigh soup? (Kimbhoot nods non-committally). You can? Great! That will do (looks into the shadows) and who's hiding there...what a surprise, Karuna uncle! What were you up to between the trucks? Nature's call, was it? Ha-Ha...Come out, come on out, and quickly...we need subscription, there's a festival to organize."

Karuna - "Dear brother Jagannath, please spare a thought for me. I'm a lowly clerk, medical expenses have wrung me dry, on top of that..."

Gunnu - "What do you mean, 'on top of that'? I am stunned! This is nothing but your own security deposit. Do you know Photkelal, my left-hand? He fancies your daughter, what's her name...Boolti, right? what if Photke gives her ponytail a wank? Would you be able to stop him, eh? So donate some cash on humanitarian grounds, and quickly! Festival means culture, that's what you want, don't you...a Cultured Community? So never say -'on top of that'."

Karuna - (closer to tears) "Please believe me Jagannath, I am almost bankrupt. My Wife just had to go through a M.R.I, you know how much that costs? We'll simply starve if I spend like this."

Gunnu - "Tut tut...stop whining Karuna Uncle. This is for your own good. Do you think we wish to harm you?! Look at this man (points to Kimbhoot) ...he looks like a cockroach, but he is a man after all. C'mon, what's your name...anyway (turns towards Karunasundar) this man, this roach, he wishes to set up business in Pukur Mohalla. So who's going to provide him with security? This fellow, me...Jagannath Haldar! All right, go on, take a walk, I'll send the bill-book to your place tomorrow." (Karuna just manages to escape)

Gunnu - "Now look here, you cockroach, listen carefully. I need the cash tomorrow, five thousand. Don't worry; no need to pay anymore, not in this month, not until you settle down. What was your business then...Biriyani, right? See, every Saturday we meet at the club, you must bring in 10 or 12 plates, with lots of tomato that? Okay then...see you tomorrow."

Kimbhoot - "Now wait a second...Mr Gunnu!" (Gunnu roars off on his motorbike)

Karuna - (Slinking back from the shadows) "Did... you... see... THAT? Did you?"

Kimbhoot - "Yes, I did. What a pretty sight! Woefully pretty. Reminds me of Ali."

Karuna - "Ali! Who's that?"

Kimbhoot - "What! You haven't heard of Ali! Your newspapers must have published his photos. He is that famous Iraqi kid. He was liberated recently, you know. They removed his hands with the handcuffs. Now Ali will fly like a free bird! (pauses to think for a moment) Anyway…please tell me, this land of chaos you inhabit, do you know who rules this place? That Gunnu?"

Karuna - "That robbing rascal!" (his voice is suddenly drowned in the roar of an outgoing truck. The driver is revving up his engine in preparation for the journey)

Kimbhoot - (almost shouts) "Excuse me, what did you say?"

Karuna - "Aaaaah…can't even hear myself think! You insensitive brute (raises a fist at the truck)… will you stop that or not? Don't you have kids of your own; don't they need to sleep, eh? Stop that! Stop that immediately! (The truck finally leaves, for the next few minutes the area is engulfed in thick diesel exhaust)…Cough-Cough… gasp… aaah… Praise Lord! The brute has left. Well Mr kimbhoot, what were you asking?"

Kimbhoot - "Yes…is Gunnu the true lord of the locality? Will he be in power for long?"

Karuna - (sighs) "He will be in power as long we keep disregarding our future. Dear Mr kimbhoot, we are a doomed lot. Our present is blighted. Gunnu is not the pathology. He is just the symptom. We are like fossils, we cannot be persuaded to move on our own, we are like creatures of the dark, and we love our pitiful nooks and crannies. This is not a community of people, this is a Jurassic Park of dead dinosaurs!"

Kimbhoot - "Karunababu, you are talking in riddles. That's not The answer I was looking for. I have some special interest in this locality, and I wish to know if Gunnu indeed is the Biggest Boss. Is he?"

Karuna - "Look here young man…you do look young, even though roaches are ageless... biggest bosses never boss around in public. They are the sly ones; they pull strings from the shadows. But you may put you money on Gunnu. At least he appears to be the local in-charge."

Kimbhoot - "That will do. Thank you so much! Well…I need to move on, see you then, and Namashkar."


c o p y r i g h t    p r o s e n j i t  r o y

  New works || Sketchbook || Old works || Old-master studies || About me || Contact