This is part IV of the story Red & White. Please read earlier parts before continuing.
“You know Soham, Vinda? He is such a cool dude. Man! In saw him the other day with a…”
“Oh shut up Gurjeet. All you talk about is other people only. I’m sick of hearing who is better than me.” Aravinda cut Gurjeet short, rather curtly. “Ab time aa gaya hai ki log apne baare mein baat karein.”
“Haan, why not. People already talk about you. Aravinda Narayanan, the son of famous economist Mr. Ananda Narayanan. Tuze kya kami hai yaar. Tere baap ne to bahut chhap ke rakha hai.”
“Yes. You are right. But uska chhapa hua paisa mera nahi hai. It sucks when people refer me as Mr. Ananda Narayanan’s son. Even I should have a identity. What good is it to be called as some one’s son?” Aravinda said with a poignant expression on his face. “… and besides, it doesn’t help me any way.”
“Matlab ye kake… ki my father is a multi millionaire. He earns because of his intellect. I mean, yeah he knows a lot about the economy and stuff. But yaar, dimaag to sab ko hota hai. I have brains, I have a business idea and all I wanted him to do was lend me 50 lacs. I want to open a pub lounge. Ab tu bata, hai apne Jaisingpur mein koi aisi jagah? Kitna maja aayega agar main khol du to… aur paisa bhi milega…” any one passing by the Haat area of Jaisingpur market would have immediately spotted these two unemployed idiots making castles in the air. Vinda was sitting on the bonnet of his SUV while Gurjeet just roamed around so as to catch every word falling out of Aravinda’s mouth. There was relative calm on the Saturday evening in the other wise busy main market of the city. Even if it had been crowded, it wouldn’t have bothered them. “… par nahi. He said no. He said, ‘Vinda, why dont you do some thing good? I cant let you open a beer bar.’ Ab yaar, who’ll explain him. Tere Papa ko bataya tha, what did he say? He was excited right? ”
“Haan yaar. But the problem is, my father doesn’t have so much money. Otherwise he would have helped.” Said Gurjeet.
“Wahi to… your father understood, but my father doesn’t understand. Hmmm…” and he leaned on the wind screen.
“And Nisha? What about her?” asked an inquisitive Gurjeet.
Nisha’s name sent a tiny shiver down Vinda’s spine. For the name’s sake, she was his girl friend. But hardly any one believed that, not even Nisha. “What about her?” Said Vinda, getting up from the bonnet like there was a spring attached to his bums.
“Have you told her about the restaurant thing?”
“Why should I? Uska kya lena dena? … and by the way its a pub, okay? Not a restaurant, a PUB”
“Haan wo hi. I was just saying that…”
“Kya? Apna kaam kar Jeetya, samjha kya? Dont irritate me… chal abhi!” Some how it seemed he did not look comfortable with Gurjeet’s question… and there was a reason to it.
Nisha Mehra, daughter of Maj. General S. K. Mehra was an ambitious girl. Being brought up in the family of warriors and martyrs, she had lot of respect for those who devoted their lives to gain respect. She was a fan of Vinda’s father, and he was a fan of her. The two families knew each other since childhood. Ananda Narayanan always looked at her as a right candidate to be his ‘Bahu’ but sadly regretted his thought every time he spoke to his son. Nisha’s father was a war hero, and so was her grand father. In fact Nisha herself was an intelligent girl. She had just been conferred a university gold medal for her works on nano-technology during graduation and wanted to pursue PHD from University of California, Berkeley. Ananda was proud of her. He would have loved his son to do some thing like that. Sadly, Aravinda took 5 years to complete a 3 year commerce course. Not that Vinda was bad at numbers. But his logic was simple. He used to say, If I have to calculate money, it has to be MY money. All I must know is how to earn money, how to put it to a right use and finally how to grow money. And he was god damn right. The world’s economy revolved around this principle. His father knew it. Yet he disapproved his ways, and so did Nisha.
That evening Vinda met Nisha outside the college library. As usual, she had spent most part of her day researching on her new project, so that she could secure her admissions. “Can we take a small walk?” said Vinda when she asked what he did the whole day. It was a dreaded question for him. Nisha had spent her day studying while Vinda had been dreaming about his pub lounge, some thing he knew Nisha will not approve of. He did not care if it was in the national interest. He did not care if it would tarnish his father’s image, if it was not illegal. He wished Nisha to understand his sentiments. sadly, she didn’t. “Vinda are you mad? Look at your father. He is such an honourable man! And look at what you want to do… open a beer bar? For gods sake Vinda. Let me clarify, I will not support you on this. Neither will I allow you to coerce your father to fund such non sense.”
Aravinda cursed every one that night, every one who he knew. All his life, he had listened to complaints from others about how useless and purposeless life he was spending. And now when he wanted to do some thing, people were interfering by taking objections. He decided he had had enough. Early next morning, he called up Gurjeet.
“… haan tune sahi suna. I’m getting kidnapped. (pause) … oye load mat le kake. Main sab set kar dunga. Apna business bhi aur baki sab ki akal ko bhi. Vinda will become one of the most famous personalities with his own talent and people will just see… haanji! You dont worry. I’m going to Palin top. I’ll call you from there and explain what next. Tu bas apna mobile chalu rakhna.”
… and Vinda’s Outlander roared on the hair pin bends of the Valkyrie mountain. He had planned to be there at the top by 7am. But as usual, he woke up at 7:30. Thankfully no one saw him getting out of the house. No one bothered anyway. Now all he had to do was go up, change the sim card and call his father. Although his father despised his ways, he knew he would relent eventually and pay up the money. Gurjeet was to collect the money and come to a deserted place on Palin top. There he would injure Gurjeet and himself to show that they managed to escape from the kidnappers, but couldn’t save the money. There would be police complaints, but they would eventually believe what Vinda told them. And they would never catch any one.
For him, the plan was perfect. He was getting ecstatic about it. But his patience was running out as his way was getting blocked by a dilapidated state transport bus moving in front of him. After numerous horns, he finally gave up and thought of overtaking it on the Chena bridge, as he knew the driver would slow down there. They were getting close to the bridge when some thing unnatural happened. The bus driver rammed the brakes, which threw it out of control. Suddenly some thing came flying towards Vinda’s car and he some how managed to avoid it. For a split second, his eyes went off the road to trace what had fallen off the bus. But when he restored his vision, what he saw in front of him would have scared the guts out of the strongest man… and the Outlander came to a screeching halt with a deafening sound in the back ground.
To be continued…