Point To Be Noted
by Kiran Jhamb
(Nagpur, Maharashtra, India )
The road was deserted. They were all in very high spirits speeding their two wheeler s and enjoying the late evening breeze. The fickle weather had turned Nagpur into a pleasant place because the burning heat was missing, though it was the month of April.
“Boss, remember how your mother used to insist that you must give yourself an oil massage and sit under the sun,” Atul said to Kapoor
“Mother is nuts - she cannot forget those Punjabi, macho men,” Kapoor replied.
“Aunty is fine. If anybody was nuts then you were,” Rahul interrupted.
“Whatever you may think, it was a gem of an idea,” smirked Kapoor.
“Those school girls used to be fascinated by you,” agreed Ajit.
“Kapoor, do you still have that collection of goggles you used? Anybody looking from the road side could only see a handsome young man wearing goggles - the rest of his underwear clad, oil-smeared body being hidden by the high parapet wall of the terrace of your house. How I used to wish those school going girls could see you from behind,” said Tiwari.
“My sister told me two or three of the girls were convinced that you used to wait for them only – ‘yours truly’ etc,” remembered Hari popularly called Harry.
“That’s what is called killing two birds with a single stone. Ma used to be pleased that I was busy in body building and gaining vitamin D and I used to get plenty of vitamin G.”
“Vitamin-G?” said the ‘tube-light’ of the group Ajit, “Well, okay - girls you mean.” Ajit was cautious by nature and not reckless like the other four.
The five were childhood friends, lived in the same locality, had gone to the same school, college and had been out today to celebrate the getting over of their degree examinations.
“From where did you get the idea of goggles?”
“I am an original thinker. People get ideas from me I don’t take ideas from others. You wait and see - I am going to be the future Ambani, Tata , Birla and Swaraj Paul.”
“And Harshad Mehta, too.”
“To some extent, but I won’t get caught like him.”
“To become rich is our credo, our aim.”
“Let us start from today. What should we do? Yeah. Let’s kidnap industrialist Agarwal’s son and ask for a ransom.”
“Kidnapping is a difficult business. I want easy money. What about drug trafficking?”
A white Sierra zoomed past them. “What a beauty! Very soon I’m gonna own such a car,” declared Kapoor.
“And pigs will fly,” said Ajit. “Do you know how much this car costs?”
“Ask my secretary. I don’t keep track of such small items. I spend my time in policy making of my business empire.”
“Secretary,” called Kapoor in his most authoritative manner.
“Yes, sir,” Atul answered deferentially.
“Tell this gentleman how much did my first Sierra cost and how many cars at present do I have?”
“Yes, sir. At the moment sir, you have six cars for your personal use and three more for the use of your family. And your first Sierra ……”
“Hey, look that Sierra has stopped. The fellow is thumbing for a lift.”
They all slowed down. Atul’s back seat was unoccupied.
Kapoor and Harry , Tiwari and Ajit were riding in pairs.
“I have run out of fuel. It seems I left my cell in my office. I’m in a hurry – I’ll send someone for the car. Could you please give me a lift up to South Enclave,” the gentleman who had got out of that car was requesting them. He was in his mid – forties. His clothes, his brief-case, wrist watch, solid gold rings all screamed financial success. The car was another proof. Atul invited him to ride pillion.
“Thank you. By the way I am Mohan Agarwal.”
“The Mohan Agarwal? Of Agarwal Industries?”
“Hey Kapoor – what say you? Why go to the trouble of kidnapping his son? Why not kidnap him?”
“What do you mean?” This came from a startled Mohan Agarwal.
do I mean? Why do you think we gave you the lift, buster? Simple - we won’t leave you at South Enclave. We will leave you at M. Avenue. Before getting down you will have to pay for the joy ride,” Kapoor sounded like a gangster from some B grade movie.
“How much?” asked Mr. Agarwal.
“I admire persons who come straight to the point – no beating about the bush is the first step towards success. Secretary, this brilliant strategic point is a point to be noted.”
“Yes, sir,” Atul exaggeratedly went through the motion of writing on a pad with one hand. “Noted, sir.”
“Now, comrades to his ‘how much’ what should we answer?”
“Let him know he is dealing with top brass and not some roadside thugs.”
“Yes, yes. No bargaining,” the others chorused.
“Okay. Then your rings, your wristwatch , your wallet and your brief- case in return for your freedom,” said Kapoor to Mr. Agarwal. Mohan Agarwal was busy considering his options of escaping.
“Hey man, let’s decide who will take what, so that there is no fuss later.”
“I will take his wrist watch.”
“I will take his wallet.”
“I will take ….”
“I will report you to the police. Who do you think you are?” threatened Mr. Agarwal.
“We? We are the Famous Five - see one, two, three, four, and five.”
“I will see to it that you are caught and jailed.”
“Sir, you are mistaken,” intervened Ajit. “They are just pulling your leg,” and then he rounded on his friends, “Shut up the four of you.”
“He is a coward, friends. With great sorrow, I hereby declare that our tube light can never become a millionaire,” intoned Harry in a grave manner.
“Careful,” shrieked Ajit, because suddenly on the next bend had appeared a speedily driven truck on the wrong side. They all braked and the accident was averted. There was an exchange of abuses between the boys and the truck driver who, merely slowed down but did not stop.
“Hey, hey - look there goes our first chance of becoming rich,” said Kapoor . Mr. Aagrwal taking advantage of the situation had got down and started running.
None of the boys moved. They were almost doubled up with laughter; still they tried to make a great show of following him.
“Catch him, catch him.”
“Don’t let him escape.”
“We’ll catch you.”
Mr. Agarwal was now running on top speed and soon he turned into a by-lane. Once again the boys looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“Man, I am feeling thirsty. Let’s stop at the next ice-cream par lour we come across,” said Atul.
“Sonny, you just missed becoming a millionaire. I will treat all of you to ice-cream to honor the occasion.”
They all started their vehicles still laughing.
“He did get frightened.”
“Do we look like goons?”
“I certainly don’t, but perhaps you do.”
“Secretary - point to be noted.”
“Yes, sir .You are right, sir. Noted, sir.”
“Stop, stop - there is an ice-cream par lour.”
They all got down and still teasing each other started choosing ice-cream.
Twenty minutes later a patrol van came and stopped near the ice-cream par lour. The boys did not pay attention.
“Yes, Officer, these are the five goons who tried to rob me”- pointed Mr. Agarwal to the police officer. Both of them had just got out of the police van. In that by-lane Mr. Agarwal had been lucky to be picked up by this patrol van.
The boys spent terrifying few hours in the police lock up and their parents spent a few thousand rupees to save their names from becoming a part of the criminal record. They were respectable people and had contacts. The harmless-good-fun attitude of the young men had had serious consequences and boomeranged on them leading to a no-more-pranks-in-future resolve. So the police emerged as the actual benefit er out of the whole sorry joke. This is the point to be noted. It had been an expensive evening entertainment for the boys. *******