Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Once upon a time in India - Amar in action

Ashfaqullah is an old friend of Amar’s. The two had fought side by side against the British imperialists a number of times. It has been a while however that the two met. It must be the excitement over meeting his friend that Amar does not notice the black car trailing him for a while.

Before long however Amar realises that he is being followed. A black Austin — the driver’s face is unrecognisable under a hat.

A British agent almost certainly, but why is he being followed? It could be related to the incidents last night. If that is the case then the gang is being picked up systematically, perhaps using the information supplied by the still unknown traitor. Or maybe they have become aware of the presence of Azad in the city. The very thought leads to an instinctive jaw tightening.

He has a choice to make — whether to shake the tracker, or to confront him.

While mulling over all these, Amar takes a few unrelated turns — through a morning bazaar, a rail crossing and a five-pointed roundabout — to end up on the highway outside the city. The black Austin follows suit.

Amar has chosen the latter option. It is important to find out who the tracker is.

A bus is up ahead, and a loaded lorry is coming from the opposite direction. Amar speeds up, overtakes the bus, makes a sudden U-turn as the lorry passes the car, and then makes another quick U-turn to be behind the follower. He stops the bike, takes out his pistol, aims squarely at the tyre and shoots. He doesn’t miss, the car loses control and spirals off the road to hit a tree.

The driver comes out, bleeding, a gun in his hand.

‘Drop the gun.’ Amar says, pointing his weapon towards the injured man.

The injured man raises his gun, while trying to regain balance by leaning on the crashed vehicle.

‘Drop the gun!’ Amar shouts. ‘Don’t be stupid. You’re hurt, and I don’t want to kill a Desi.’

The driver isn’t listening. He shoots. Amar shoots back, hitting the man in his leg. The man, unbalanced from the effect of the shot, stumbles and falls onto a large shard of glass which goes clean through his chest.

Amar runs over to the car. The man is dead. Amar curses himself. He goes through the dead man’s wallet. A few rupees, a photo of a young couple in their wedding dress, some receipts, and an ICC badge. The gun is a Colt 45, as common as it gets.

Amar frowns — the army carried out the raid previous night, while the dead man it seems was an ICC agent. He looks at his watch. It’s getting late, and he must be on his way.


Previously: Heroes and villains.