Monday, February 05, 2007

All in the game – part X

As Anil consoled Puja, he looked up to Lakshmi and said.

“Hello madam!! I never liked you right from the minute I saw you. Now that we are three and you are one you better surrender. Who knows, you might even get a better deal if you turn into an approver.”

“You fool, you think I am alone in this ship??? Do you have any idea how many members of our group have mingled in the crowd?? We have our men in all steps of the social ladder. Do you think your government can jail us?? We have grown beyond governments. In fact governments from all around the world come begging to us to carry out assassinations and other large-scale destruction operations. Terrorist organizations, political parties, religious institutions and all sorts of other social groups are contacting us to carry out their dirty work. Even the plan to bomb this ship is to create large-scale casualties and to strain the relationship between India and her neighbours. And also what do you mean by saying that you are three and I am one??I have just a puny little boy and a sissy girl in front of me” replied Lakshmi.

“I think you forgot Imran, Imran is no Arnold but he can sure handle a lady when he knows that his friends need his help.” Responded Anil with a proud tone.

On hearing this Lakshmi started laughing uncontrollably and sat on the bed. After controlling her laughter she said” will he help you?? You think he will help??? Let me flash you with breaking news buddy. Your friend Imran is a very smart man. He demanded to meet the captain the day you were interrogated and after recognizing the opportunity, decided to join with us. The plan was to plant the bomb with Imran helping me by keeping you pesky out of my way. Once the bomb is planted we shall lose you kids in the dancing floor and fly off in the chopper leaving you in dust.”

Anil couldn’t believe his ears. “Imran would never do anything of that sort, would you Imran??” so saying he turned towards Imran.

Imran stood without any expression in his face. “I am afraid whatever she was saying is true. I met the captain and had a long chat with him on that day. It was only when I realized the enormity of their operations I decided to join them.”

Anil still couldn’t believe it.“What am I hearing!!! What crap is this?? Don’t you see that these are the bad guys?? How can you decide to live a deceitful life deciding not to return to the real world??? How can you be so stupid as to choose the life of a criminal?? How can you do this Imran?”

Imran replied to him calmly”You think the world out there is completely true, devoid of any injustice?? Morality is nothing but lack of opportunity. There is not one person in the world who wouldn’t dare to hurt others if he is assured that he can get away with it. Everyone is clinging on to the false mask of righteousness because they don’t have the guts to follow their hearts. Instead they roam around professing stupid stories of right and wrong while waiting for a chance to cheat others. I do not want to lead such a hypocritical life. In reality there is no such thing as right or wrong. One man’s right is another man’s wrong. At the end of the day its every man for himself and it doesn’t matter how it comes as long it keeps coming!!”

As he was saying this, a loud siren started to sound and a revolving red light in the cabin started glowing. Imran looked around with concern as he exclaimed ”Oh my god!! It’s the fire alarm”.

He opened the door and looked out into the pathway. Then he turned inside the room and said, “ You guys wait here, I will get some info and be back “ so saying he stepped outside and started towards the bridge.

Anil exclaimed “Imran“ and opened the door to see which direction Imran had gone.

He felt a sharp pain at the back of his head and he pressed his palm on his head to realize there was blood oozing out of it. There was a loud scream from Puja and as He turned back,he could see that Lakshmi was holding the heavy wireless equipment in her hand with which she had hit Anil. He fell unconscious.

When Anil woke up he could see Imran holding a glass with water in his hand. The fire siren had become louder and he could see confusion all around. People were running all over the place with a life jacket. He could figure out that everyone was running to the observation deck to escape through the life boat.

.”Anil !! are you alright???” Imran enquired.

“Imran!! Imran ….you have joined the mafia?? Will you let me be killed??? Am I not your friend??” Anil muttered as he was still reeling in pain

“Come On Anil!! You know I wont do such a thing. I was just playing along with those guys to know their plans and to take stock of the situation. I couldn’t tell you because we were monitored all the while and whatever we spoke was being recorded. Now lets go”

“Where is Lakshmi?? What happened to Puja”

“As soon as I ran out of the cabin I was able to collect the information that a fire had started in one of the empty cabins and had spread rapidly as it was unnoticed. People were already rushing towards the life boat. So I came back to help you guys. I saw Puja running towards me. She said that Lakshmi had made you unconscious by hitting you with her wireless unit and had run away. Puja tried to wake you up. When that was not possible she came running in search of me. As the first of the life boats were taking only women and children,I got her seated in a life boat which set sail away from this ship. Hurry up the fire is spreading very rapidly”

Anil staggered to his legs and started to run with the crowd. By this time the fire had started taking its toll and the ship was beginning to sink very very slowly. Also the heat from the fire was getting unbearable. Anil was rushing with Imran holding him to keep him from falling down.

As they reached the stairs to climb up to the Observation deck, there was a huge crowd blocking the stairs. Both men joined the crowd and started pushing into the crowd to climb upto the observation deck where the lifeboats were being lowered. Soon a huge crowd assembled behind them and there were shouts, pleads, threats and screams all around them. People were falling down and were getting stamped over by the crazy mob, which was trying to save itself from the unbearable heat of the fire. Soon Imran and Anil got separated as they got pulled into the crowd by the uncontrollable force of the crowd’s frenzy. As Anil climbed up the stairs along with the crowd he started looking out for

Imran, but he was nowhere to be seen. The crowd was drifting him through the steps.

Soon he reached the observation deck and there was a full pitch battle between men as they tried to find a place in the lifeboats. One of the lifeboats got lowered with half the seats empty due to the confusion and urgency displayed by one of the men in the boat. Soon there was a major tussle between the men near the boat, which got lowered and the ones near the boat, which was to be lowered. As Anil was pushed to the boat he tried to stand still and look behind for Imran. All he could see was lot of angry faces but not Imran. As he was trying to locate Imran he fell into the lifeboat as the crowd pushed him from behind. Before he could recover half a dozen men jumped in to the boat. As he recovered he could see a 7-year-old kid crying helplessly behind him. He looked up to see the kid’s dad trying to make way and jump into the boat. But before he could do that the boat started going down. The kid started crying loudly and stood up and raised his hands, as he wanted to get out of the boat.

After realizing that there was no way by which he could get into the boat , the kid’s dad started reassuring the kid.

“Munnu beta!! Don’t worry; I shall be coming in the next boat. Don’t cry. You should take care of your sister and mom. The uncle near you would help you.”

Suddenly his eyes shifted towards Anil.”Sir,I beg you, please please please take care of my son. I will give you any amount of money you want, on second thoughts “he hurriedly fetched his wallets and threw bank notes into the boat. “Take this take this, please please help my son, I beg you”

But by the time the boat had been lowered to a fair distance and none of the notes reached the boat. Instead they flew off and fell into the sea beneath. Anil put his arms around the kid’s shoulder to reassure him. The boat touched down onto the sea with a thud. Anil looked up at the ship. He could neither see the kid’s dad nor Imran. The fire had started engulfing the majority of the ship.

The army helicopter rescued anil and the kid, after they were marooned in the sea for close to five hours.

To be continued…………………..

· All in the Game - part I

· All in the game – part II

· All in the game – part IV

· All in the Game – part V

· All in the Game – part VI

· All in the Game – part VII

· All in the Game – part VIII

· All in the Game – part IX

· All in the game – part X

· All in the game – part XI