(an attempt at what I deem to be pulp fiction)
The high pitched whine of the motorbike caught her attention before she looked in its direction. Meenakshi was familiar with the noise – an old Yamaha RX 100 most likely, stripped down to its essentials, with a free spirit astride it – she was willing to bet. If that were the case, the rider would most certainly slow down to catch an eyeful of her, she knew. After all, she had caught the roving eye of every single man who had passed by in the last seven minutes since she arrived at the bus-stop, most eyeing her unabashedly, drinking in the sight of her lithe body tightly wrapped in a loud red imitation silk outfit. She stood at the bus stop basking in all the attention, occasionally holding up her phone to her face, using the camera to admire her face and lipstick. She chuckled to herself in the camera. There was no saying what today would bring.
Siddu gunned the bike down the pot-hole strewn road, the wind whipping his hair up into a frenzy. He was pleased with his new hairdo, streaks of blonde now flecking his otherwise dark straight hair. The stylist had told him this was the hairdo even film stars would soon sport, as he’d found out from his sources in the industry. Siddu’s love for his hair was second only to his passion for gold, of which plenty adorned his body. A chunky gold chain around his neck, several gold bracelets and rings in almost all his fingers gave him a golden aura that matched the glint of sunlight as it bounced off his brand new ray-ban. This quickly rising star of the Bangalore real-estate mafia looked every bit his part. Siddu slowed down as he approached the bus-stop, revving the bike a few times even as he did so for good measure. He was sure she’d be there today.
‘Him again’, she thought to herself, as the bike and its rider came into view. She’d seen him a few times before, and knew that she had caught his attention. She was used to constant advances from all manner of people, and knew how to handle them, better than most others of her ilk. This fellow, somehow, seemed promising. She couldn’t complain about how he looked – at least from far. The sheen of gold most certainly helped. Having had to fend for herself from a very early age, she had very quickly learnt how to make the world work for her. She watched the bike came to a sputtering stop a little ahead of her. This could get interesting, she thought to herself as she caught him turning to look towards her. She ran her tongue lightly over her lips, flicking an errant strand of hair away from her face with a finger. Still looking in his direction, she deliberately reached over to smoothen a few imaginary creases on her dress, stretching the thin material over her curves. Letting a small smile slip, she sashayed her way to the bus as it pulled up next to his bike. Siddu pulled aside his shades with a grin as he watched the bus ramble away.
He didn’t turn up at the bus-stop the next day. But to her pleasant surprise, she bumped into him when she boarded the bus. Not just bumped – fell over him. She had entered the bus and was making her way in when the bus suddenly lurched forward, throwing her off balance. She stumbled headlong onto someone, who managed to hold her, ensuring she did fall further into the crowd. ‘I’m sorry’, she mumbled as her eyes lifted to find a familiar pair of ray-bans. ‘I’m not’, he said as he grinned at her, still holding her. Breaking into a coy smile, she thanked him and then stood alongside him, both of them stealing frequent glances at each other, their smiles growing wider. It didn’t take him long to find her a seat and join her, and she seemed eager to know more about him.
The bus trips lasted only a few days, and Meenakshi soon found herself perched on the bike with Siddu, tightly clinging to him as he swerved around cars and buses. They would meet in cafes and frequent movie theatres, and she would run her hands through his hair, calling him her very own ‘golden boy’. The affection wasn’t lost on Siddu, who regularly surprised her with gifts she could never get enough of. His bike very soon made its way to his 1 BHK at GM Palaya, and his bachelor pad become a love nest yet again. Neither of them was interested in wasting time over a long drawn courtship, when they knew they wanted more. They had both seen enough of the world to be practical that way.
Gowda hitched up his grimy dhoti to reveal a beefy thigh that demanded scratching. Gothilla Gowda as he was known among the cops, would always be the first to invariably deny any knowledge of any crime, if questioned directly. Until the price was right, that is.
Stroking his luxuriant moustache, Gowda stared at Siddu, a grin slowly creeping over his face. ‘Don’t forget you’re going to be playing with the big goys now, maga’, he said in his raspy voice as he chewed his tobacco noisily. Turning around to spit out a gob-full of crimson sludge, he wagged a stubby finger at his right hand man Shiva, motioning him over. ‘Siddu beda’, he quietly muttered to Siva, his bulbous red eyes that glowed with anger saying much more than his words did. Waving Shiva away, he turned back to face Siddu with a smile, calling him over. He reached over to pat his back in apparent affection as Siddu stepped over awkwardly, unsure of what to expect. After all he had just requested independence from his mentor of many years. Raising his right hand in a sign of benediction, Gowda bestowed his blessings upon an underling who was about to attempt his first ever solo real estate deal – and fail miserably.
Shiva darted into an alley behind Gowda’s godown. Pulling out a sleek new Samsung smartphone, he quickly dialled the number for ACP Ravi – encounter Ravi, as he was known among them. Ravi answered with a grunt, not needing to say anything more. ‘Saar, Siddu’, said Siva in hushed tones. ‘Kamala bar, indu aaru gante’. Siva waited for the acknowledging grunt from Ravi before he cut the call with a chuckle.
Kamala bar was Siddu’s favourite hangout, irrespective of what time of the day it was. He was pleased with how the meeting with Gowda had played out, not being sure of how Gowda would react. Taking a quick swig of his drink, he nodded appreciatively at barman – old monk with water, mixed to his taste as usual. He drummed his fingers on the table in anticipation – Meenakshi would be waiting for him at GM Palaya soon. The thought of her curves melting against him set his blood racing. He downed the glass, impatiently shouting for a quick refill. The interruption of the door slamming open, followed by a sudden hush is what made him turn over to the door. As a few men rushed in, he didn’t need a second glance at them to figure out they were cops in mufti. His worst fears were confirmed as he caught sight of encounter Ravi slipping in through the door, his eyes scanning the bar to quickly settle on him. Siddu kept his eyes on Ravi even as he made to get up, watching Ravi reach for his revolver. This had Gowda written all over it.
Siddu stumbled over a few chairs in the dim light, trying to rush to the nearest door. The boom of the gunshot was deafening in the closed confines of the bar. He kept moving, despite the sharp sting he felt in his right thigh. His jeans quickly started to soak, blood spurting from the bullet wound in his leg with every step he took. One of the men swung a lathi at him, trying to knock him down. He ducked desperately, shoving the cop aside with all the strength he could muster, as he tumbled out of the bar. Ravi had him in his sights though, and put another bullet in his back before he could get to his bike. Siddu’s eyes fluttered as he struggled to stay upright on his bike, speeding towards GM Palaya.
Meenakshi walked in silently, hoping to surprise SIddu before he saw her. The bloodstains on the floor however, were quite unexpected. She found him writhing on the floor, groaning in pain. He was losing blood very quickly. ‘Help me’, he pleaded – gritting his teeth in agony. It took her less than a minute to take in the sight, and decide on her course of action. Lifting his head gently, she slowly eased out his heavy gold chain. Rolling him over, she relieved him of his bracelets and many rings, each studded with stones that sparkled in different colours. He still looked handsome, lying drenched in blood – the only shine of gold on him now being the blonde streaks on his hair. Making sure she didn’t get any blood on her saree, she smiled a quick goodbye at the now silent Siddu and walked out of the door, her head held high.