Saturday, February 09, 2013


"Rafique, please understand. We serve pure vegetarian food in 'Krishna' restaurant. Your appearance... ... ..
...our customers don't feel comfortable walking in when they see a Muslim attendant.. hope you understand... "

Rafique was seething with anger as he maneuvered his bike through the crowded lane, cycling furiously. He almost threw the bicycle in the alley next to the staircase and rushed upstairs. How would he feed his family now? He entered his kholi to find Ayesha adjusting the cushions on the diwan. Her dupatta wasn't covering her head. In a fit of rage, he slapped her tight across the face. "Begairat!".


Her face still smarting, Ayesha peeled the skin off the potatoes and dropped them in boiling water. She didn't even realize that tears were welling up in her eyes. Sarika's arrival diverted her attention.

Sarika looked glad and content. She had a notebook and pencil in her hands. Ayesha's eyes widened. In a quick movement, she snatched the notebook away with one hand, and pulled Sarika's ear with the other.
"How many times have I told you not to touch your brother's things?"
"Ammi, I want to go to school too"
"I will send you to school! ..." shrieked Ayesha as she forced Sarika's right palm in the pan filled with boiling water.


"Come play with us Sarika"
"No I am not in the mood", Sarika sat on the stairs nursing her bandaged palm, as her friends played with clay dolls in the aisle. She could see Amruta limping in the distance. A wicked smile appeared on her face as she got up and hopped towards Amruta.

Amruta saw her and stopped in her track. Her eyes were fearful. Sarika pinched her on her arm.
"Don't" shouted Amruta.
"Why? What will you do otherwise? Run after me and hit me?" Sarika's laugh was maniacal.


"Why do you go out to play with that Sarika, baby?"
"I don't mummy, she comes to me and hits me" Amruta was inconsolable.

She finally felt better after her mom gave her a chocolate bar. As she limped into her room, Amruta found her grandfather sleeping on the cot. She hated sharing her room with this old man, who irritated her with his stories. Even her mom and dad didn't like him and were waiting for the day when he would die and leave them alone.

Balaji woke up and looked at her polio-ridden granddaughter with extreme sadness.
"Come to me, beta"
Amruta made a contorted face and sat down to play with her dolls, ignoring her grandfather's call.


Balaji Rao was proud of the way he had raised his sons. Even though he was a man of little means, he had ensured that both his sons studied in English medium schools. And what a gem Shrikant had turned out to be. He worked in a reputed bank, had a beautiful wife and a lovely daughter. Only if polio hadn't affected poor Sarika. Balaji let out a sigh.

Neelesh entered the room with hesitant steps.
"Papa, do you want anything from the market?"
"Yes, get me some poison, will you? Better to die than have a son like you"

As Neelesh left, Balaji gritted his teeth. What sins of his previous birth had made him sire a gay son?


Neelesh sat on the ledge, staring blankly at the waves breaking at the rocks. It wasn't his fault.

"Neelesh, you are sitting here! We have been looking everywhere!"
Neelesh turned and saw Ashok and Kalpesh running towards him.
"What happened?"
"You forgot? Today is our rally!"

How could Neelesh have forgotten! These asshole Biharis needed to be taught a lesson. They'd come and defiled their precious city, made it dirty with their filthy ways and worse, undercut them to take up their jobs.

But things would change soon. Rana Saheb had taken up arms against these infidels. Only today morning, his party people had bashed the owner of 'Krishna' restaurant in a North Indian locality, for refusing to put-up a signboard in Marathi.


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