Saturday, 5 April 2014


Before hanging up the phone I remember my voice going angry and hard. If you don't know me and would have first met me at that instant, you would have been of the opinion that I'm ill tempered and naive, which surely is a pathetic combination. But to tell you the truth, I'm far from a grumpy and senseless freak. In fact there are reasons why normal men behave in an abnormal way, reasons that would seem ludicrous if you lack the desired empathy.

I'm not guided by premonitions, but definitely I wouldn't bother telling that you have a certain empathy, a certain curiosity, because if either weren't the case, you wouldn't probably take the time to hear all my absurd intro into a seemingly cumbersome phone call.

I won't give you apt breakthroughs into the subject, but certainly you are going to get leads. Now I'm sure many of you would be aware of Hansel and Gretel, the duo who went behind bread crumbs. Think of yourself as Hansel, and if you are reading this with a friend, he could be Gretel, and I would drop you the bread crumbs.

Now that gets you all excited doesn't it? I know its just another phone call and all of this is a bit exaggerated, but here is the first crumb for you. I got the call from 3459, or some number like that, almost 20 minutes back and when I picked the phone up, the sound at the other end claimed in a severe tone, 'My name is Aftab, and I'm going to kill you.'

Now like you, I don't realize what these people have against me. Last week a guy named Thakur send me a letter asking to meet him at the railway station, and when I showed up, he came towards me and handed me a baggage and asked me to take it home and keep it in the refrigerator. He never said another word and disappeared. I still keep that baggage in the refrigerator. Maybe because of the blood stains and the smell of rotten meat, I never dared to open the baggage, ever! Now don't get too bothered about that, I'd like to think it was chicken or beef, but certainly not what you were thinking.

I pardon for dwelling on other topics, I'm so restless after that call, the paranoia is still prevalent. I have raced from bedroom to the front door a thousand times, checking if the gates are ajar or imagining a knock on the front door.

Now I haven't known many Aftabs to have solid enemies. In my childhood, I had a friend of the same name whom I used to mock, calling him a fool. Oh, indeed he was. He was so dumb that he used to think chocolates grew on trees. I also had a genuine repulsion to his pathetic outlook, and considered him to be the ugliest thing I've ever met. But I never dislodged any of the emotions upon him, nor have I ever behaved so as to give him even a hint of my hate. And after all these years it was highly unlikely that he would come in vengeance for a crime I never committed.

The second Aftab was the one I met at college. He was my classmate. But he wasn't the foolish old Aftab, but the eccentric genius of the campus. He had a habit of talking to himself, questioning his thoughts and fighting with his ideologies. On certain days, I even heard him swear so loud that you would run away in fear of confronting with him. The abominable fact of the world remains that they hate you if you are a genius and they would despise you if you are a fool (and yes I know John Lennon said that too). But this Aftab could never have been my caller, most certainly he had nothing to do with me. He would have most likely continued with his surreal existence and would have ended up in a lunatic asylum or became a scientist!

That pretty much sums up the two Aftabs I have ever known.

Now, I'm pretty sure it was one of them. Because through the phone he gave me a miniaturized portrayal of my life so as to make sure he was talking to the right person. He asked me things like, 'You're that hopeless wretch who dropped out from college ain't you?' and 'You had a wife and she left you because of your attitude, right?' Naturally you could guess that it were true, from the stutter as I speak.

But that wouldn't really give us the reason why he said he would kill me, right? Yes, I also thought the same. That was when my voice got angry. And sadly this was when you entered uninvited into my room and I had to narrate all of this treacherous tale before I am killed.

Now I would pause you to think, if you have Gretel with you, ask him. Who would have possibly called me? Wait, do you hear that? Yes, someone is knocking at the door. Probably it is Aftab. Oh my God, my head is spinning. You do hear the noise, don't you? Do you hear his boots kicking at the door and the creak of the wood? Do you hear his agitated breathing, discharging rage with every exhalation? You do hear them don't you?

Oh, it seems like you don't hear them? So you think I'm some of kind of jerk too? And you think that the person outside, perhaps with a loaded gun, is not going to hurt me? You certainly are as abhorrent as my doctor. Wait, you don't know my doctor? That means you have not opened my refrigerator. I believe his name was some Thakur.

Now, don't be afraid, it is I who should be afraid. I must confess the guy was a respectful doctor, but one fine day he wrote that he should come and meet me at the railway station, and that we should be going for a journey somewhere far. I arrived as asked. We traveled a lot that day. I had a habit back then to count the number of people I meet, and I met almost 3459 individuals who lazed around the world, which would probably speak of the volumes we traveled. I don't remember much of the places we visited but certainly I can still visualize the grave of Salma Aftab, whom when asked by the doctor, I blankly said I never knew about.

Now don't question me about Salma Aftab again, I swear I don't know her. But Aftab? I have known some Aftabs in my life. But not enough of them to have any significance. I must also add to curb your curiosity that I killed the silly old doctor with my 9 inch Magnum because he asked me too much.

Oh, the door is cracking, don't you hear? Do you see my hands shiver with fear? I have read somewhere that fear makes you do strange things. I've known a girl named Salma who was killed by a lunatic because she made him nervous. Fear never cripples you, rather fear controls you, monitors you and asks you to do impervious deeds which otherwise you would never do.

You see that telephone right? Call the police, ask them a person is about to get murdered at my home. Quickly! What? What were you saying? You are saying that the telephone is not working? But Aftab called me just now! You must be joking, right? Or, are you making me a fool?! A dumb lunatic who murdered his doctor?! You have played this game too far. Oh no! He is here. Look at him. Look at his gun. It is a 9 inch Magnum!

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