Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Face to Face

PROLOGUE
They put him in a 6 feet by 6 feet cell.It was good riddance they thought.He would now rot in there for all eternity.And they couldn't think of anyone who deserved it more.He was one of the worst criminals...and an even worse human being if that was possible.No one shed a drop when the judge announced the verdict of life sentence.No one deserved it more richly than him.

He sat in the court day after day and heard all the allegations they brought.He was an underworld gangster.He had killed hundreds of thousands of people.He had built an empire on all sorts of illegal businesses.Everyone testfied against him.All of his closest aides cut a deal with the police.They gave him up to save their asses.They hung him out in the open.

But he didnt speak a word.Didnt for even once open his mouth to refute any of the charges.His lawyers tried their hardest.But it really was an open and shut case.There never was a doubt from the beginning.

And thus they put him away.And everyone thought that was that.Justice was served.

1

It was a busy day in the News Kolkata office like usual.It was busier than usual.Because today was a huge day.News Kolkata has acquired the exclusive rights of an interview with former gangster and underworld don Viktor Fernandez.Six years ago Fernandez was convicted on 37 counts and sentenced to lifetime improsinment.And now News Kolkata had acquired the rights to an interview with the man who didn't defend himself during his trial.

The chief architect of this triumph was senior journalist Arjun Sengupta.Arjun has always had a great vision.He knew a great story when he saw it.And when he was covering Fernandez's trial six years earlier he thought what a great story it would be to bring out the personal life of the dreaded mafia.The man convicted of 77 known murders.And now after six years of fight he had been able to acquire the permissions from all concerned authorities for an interview with Viktor Fernandez.He had actually wanted the live interview to be telecast on News Kolkata's channel.But in the end he had to settle for an interview for the newspapers.Even that was quite an achievement Arjun thought as he boarded his car to set out for Alipore Jail.This was going to be his day,his moment.All great journalists have their defining stories...and this was gonna be his.

He had it all worked out.All the questions framed after much chopping and changing over six years.Yes he was going to be famous.As famous as he dreamt of being when he started this job.His rise in the profession has been meteoric.And this was going to seal that.

2
As he entered the cell Arjun felt kind of nervous.Seated in a chair was Viktor fernadez.His hands and feet were fettered,And there were 10 armed policeman standing around.What the hell,thought Arjun,he is a gangster not a fucking psycho.

'Gentlemen if you would be kind enough to step outside...then I can begin my interview...' said Arjun to the guards.

'Sir,we are here for your safety...he is one dangerous son of a bitch' said one of them.The others nodded in agreement.

'He is all tied up at the moment...stay outside fellas....I will give a shout if he tries anything..He isn't exactly Dr Hannibal Lecter is he' laughed Arjun.

'Who is this doctor?He is a gangster...Viktor Fernandez' declared one of the guards emphatically.

'It was a joke...never mind...just give me some privacy ok??I will be all right..'said Arjun.

The men hesitated for some time-then slowly filtered out.'Please close the door..I am not saying lock it..just pull it please' asked Arjun.

Finally everything was ready and he was sitting down in the most important assignment of his career.Face to face with one of the most dreaded criminals of the country,the Goanese Viktor Fernandez.

3
Viktor looked much thinner than when he was last seen during the trials.However aside from that and a patch of grey hairs on the sides of his face he looked no different.

Arjun spoke first-'I guess you are wondering who am I?Well I am a journalist....I believe your story need to be told to the world...During your trial you maintained silence...Now you should tell people your side-'

'Save the bullshit brother' cut him off Viktor....a faint smile on his face..'You dont give a shit about me pal...It's all about a story...you are gonna beat the shit out of your competition with this story...In my days,I had people in the press you know....I know all you fucking hypocrites down to your bone marrows'

The room was pin-drop silent for a couple of seconds.Then Arjun spoke again.

'Let's get down to the questions.Did you really do what you were accused of doing?' asked Arjun.

Viktor was looking at his feet.After a short pause he looked up at Arjun,a trace of the faintest smile his face-'Yes...and then some.'

'What led you into this...life of criminal activities??Some childhood trauma??Abusive parents??Bullied at school???WHAT???'Arjun was slowly getting into his stride.

'You know my background perfectly well.But still I will say this for the tape recorders.No...I did not have any troubles in my childhood...I did not face any abuse....I had a great family,the best education everything.'

'Wow...' said Arjun sarcastically 'You're really gonna get some sympathy you know that??Had everything...but no,it wasn't enough!!!NOT FOR YOU!!!You wanted more....no matter how many innocent lives you had to waste!!!'

'Innocent???Who is innocent???The people I killed were all drug dealers..or fucking pimps or rival gangsters....THE WORLD IS NO MORE POORER FOR THOSE BASTARDS!!!;' shouted Viktor.

'OH REALLY???REALLY MR FERNANDEZ???REALLY???AND WHAT ABOUT THOSE POOR BOYS...WHO FELL TO THE DRUGS....THE COCAINE,MORPHINE,HEROINE,THE FUCKING MARIJUANA THAT YOUR DRUG PEDDLERS SOLD TO THE KIDS???HOW ABOUT THEM MR SAINT?'Arjun screamed jumping on the balls of his feet.

'yeah I know.It's my fault.But what about the parents of those rich collge going brats???HUH???WHAT ABOUT THEIR INSTITUTIONS????DON'T THEY HAVE ANY DAMN RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANYTHING??'REMEMBER WE ONLY SELL THOSE BECAUSE PEOPLE BUY THOSE...IT'S CAUSE AND EFFECT...SUPPLY AND DEMAND MY FRIEND.'

'You have an answer for everything don't you??Nothing was your fault was it??you have NOT ONE morsel of remorse for your wrong doings!!!'declared Arjun emphatically.

'Do you have any regrets for your wrong doings??' demanded Viktor.

'Me?what have I done???When did I murder anyone???when did I kidnap people??'

'No you haven't murdered anyone.But you stick your goddamn mic in the face of the relatives of the victim.No you haven't kidnapped anyone.You have simply made them your news item.Isn't that correct??' Viktor was actually smiling.

'The duty of the media is to dig out the truth and report it to the people.That's what we do' said Arjun.

'No...that's not what you do...you show people things as YOU view them...NOT AS IT HAPPENED...YOU ARE AS GUILTY AS US.But you know what's the difference between you and me???You stand there smug in your imaginary world of importance.Not knowing that you are just a fucking medium.At least I was king for 15 minutes.I would rather be that and spend the rest of my life here in the jail than be like you.A SCHMUCK FOR A LIFETIME.'

'Why you two-bit punk-'Arjun lunged at Viktor.The guards burst in the room and dragged him out.

'What the fuck were you doing?Are you out of your mind?'asked the senior officer present.

'I was wrong about him.He really is Hannibal Lecter' replied Arjun breathing heavily.

'I dont know what the hell that means...but I know one thing-THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER.Get your ass out of here' replied the Inspector.

Epilogue
As Arjun drove back towards his office he reflected on the day.The day he thought would make his career had gone astray.He had come out empty-handed.He didn't have enough substance for a story.But that wasn't bothering him...what was bothering him was Viktor's words.Was it true??Was he really a schmuck for a lifetime??Was he??

5 comments:

Samadrita said...

Been reading Grisham have you? :P the story and the mode of narration reminds one of Grisham's style.
I liked it.And when I say it I really mean it.A much much better second attempt. :)
Oh yea just one teeny li'l thing-'morsel of remorse' sounds a bit awkward doncha think?Change it to something better :)
Write more.

Nightwing said...

the schmuck for a lifetime dialogue is actually from Martin Scorsese's King of Comedy..thought it would seem fitting here...here i have paid my homage to two pop culture icons...Marty and Robert De Niro....

mrinal said...

this is awesome,ur really getting better!!
i love the various movie tributes used...natural born killers,the king of comedy,hannibal lecter...and it was blended perfectly into the writing!!
the message against media was pretty strong,yeah really man they are the criminals more than the so called 'criminals'!!

atindriyo said...

Scoresesque! I can visualize Robert De. in the place of Viktor!
(P.S. Yeah....The tied-up scene, then the trial...then the stardom! Rupert Pupkin ahoy!)

Soumya said...

Boy....the journalist was really a schmuck!!...enjoyed reading the story.