Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The deep scar

-by KParthasarathi Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Guna, a school drop out, fell into bad company and turned into a petty thief to find the money for his booze and other vices. While he had not graduated to more serious crimes like house breaking, he was content with picking the pockets in crowded places, stealing boxes in railway station and once in a while snatching chains in desolate roads during dusk. He had a stolen scooty for his easy mobility. He is accustomed to spending short durations in jail only to get back to his old ways when out of it. His name figured in the police records as a suspect and he used to be ‘interrogated’ in the police stations off and on whenever there was a theft from important people. He got a deep scar in his neck when there was an internecine fight amongst the different groups of bad elements. There was therefore no difficulty in identification. He came from a decent family and all attempts by his parents and siblings could not succeed in making him mend his ways. They gave up in disgust.

As ill luck would have it, his next victim was a family member of an important political functionary. His wife and daughter had made heavy purchases and were keeping the baggage in the boot of the car. As they were bringing some more packets from the portico, the packets already kept in the boot had mysteriously vanished. One of them should have stood guard while the other one brought the purchases. This elementary precaution they ignored to their big loss. The police swung into action to nab the culprit. They know the usual lot operating from different localities and some were even on friendly terms. One of the constables, Manickam, was assigned to look for Guna who had vanished from his usual haunts. The police could not get the lead and pressure was mounting on it to recover the stolen goods..

The police man was practically on the road for the last three days and wherever he went he was drawing a blank about Guna.He had to get him at any cost. On getting some tip that he might be in a village on the outskirts of the city, Manickam proceeded to the place. It was around 4pm when he entered the village. He saw a big fire raging and burning the large cluster of huts. Gusty winds helped the fire spread fast from one hut to another giving little time for the residents to bring out their belongings from their thatched houses. Scared people came out running with whatever worthwhile they could lay on. Some were found coming out with young children, some with invalid old men or women on their shoulders and some with boxes, beds, vessels and what not. There was utter confusion amidst the screams and wails rending the air. Black smoke enveloped the area.Manickam saw one young woman screaming that her baby was in the hut that was already in flames. None dared to go in. Suddenly one young man leapt into the hut thro the opening that served as an entrance and came out in a few seconds with a bundle wrapped in sheets of cloth. His dress was on fire on all sides. He gave the baby to the crying mother and fell down screaming in agony. The surrounding people tried to put out the firs by pouring sand and mud. Some poured water. He was badly burnt but looked he would survive.

Manickam craned his neck to see who the brave lad was. He saw the darkened face of the young man initially and soon his eyes froze on the deep scar on his neck that stood out clear. Everybody around him was praising the boy for risking his life to save the young baby. The tears of fear of the mom turned into tears of joy.Manickam wiped his misty eyes and pretended not to have seen any scar as he trudged his way back.

1 comment:

  1. Manickam did the right thing by not arresting Guna. Perhaps later on he gets in touch with the boy and reforms him by pointing out the goodness in him.