13- The Professor and Khwaja

 

The blood showered from his nascent wound. The bullet broke the sound barrier just before it hit his chest. Just before he died he also felt the searing pain from the hot oils issuing from the stubby muzzle of the modified .50 cal handgun. The crimson mist dissipated into the damp office quarters of Kundan Chamanwala. The heavier drops of blood spattered on the files and the leather implements on his mahogany desk. Little drops pointing towards their origin, a tell the tale for the blood spatter expert and a warning for The Consortium. The killer jumped out of the window.

 

The identity of the killer was not important in this case. Well on an individual level, this was cold blooded murder, on a much higher level thing were different. The consortium had committed suicide the moment they denied the workers their rights. The masses had finally vented their frustration and were making efforts to bring change that was denied to them through the ballots and referendums. The murder of Kundan Chamanwala sent shock waves across every one in the city. The business men feared for their lives. The revelers went quiet for a minute, realizing what monsters they had become. They also realized that they were also beyond the point of no return. No transgression mattered hence forth, they realized that they were going to see change no matter what. The processions resumed as the cloud leadership issued the green signal to storm the smoke stacks.

 

The Professor and Khwaja Abidi walked carefully to avoid the wrath of the masses. Dressing formally could gather unwanted attention. The “dusas” (the “chadar” for men) did a lot to hide most of their garb. They could not, however, cloak their fears as they scrambled into a burning building that used to house a local bank.

Not a good idea Khwaja.” The Professor said as he tried to get his breath back.

Neither was staying int The Café. I have to know what is happening. I can’t trust the newspaper anymore than I can trust the Consortium.” Khwaja tried to cough the breathlessness out of himself.

I heard Kundan was killed in the morning. The people say that this was done by the consortium itself so that they could discredit the revolution. The consortium laughs at these allegations. To them Kundan was a rising star in the industry. Now the revolution has been converted into a war.” The Professor said as he cleared the smoldering debris to make a place to sit.

What is the difference?” Khwaja inquired.

In a revolution you choose ideology over power and generally the masses are with you. In a war you’re supposed to pick a side. No matter on which side you are and no matter what the outcome is, you always lose.” The Professor completed the sentence and began to cry.

Khwaja hated when grown men cried, but this was not the time to interrupt. The Professor was not the only man crying on that day. The loved ones of all who died during the processions and the family of Kundan were all in mourning. To that extent there was a common ground. That and vengeance.

This world struggles with reconciliation. It’s tenants on the other hand struggle with vengeance. The Professor and Khwaja were not sure what they were doing. There wasn’t a hint on what could be done. Whatever motives they had in mind before they walked out of the cafe were changed. Their souls and intellect were scarred by the happenings around them. They only wished they could tell their family they were OK before the networks went down. The safest place, now that it had seen one explosion, was The Cafe, or what was left of it. They hurried back to the place.

I am tired of this. We should do something about it.” Khwaja said as he paced across the hall with the upturned chairs.

OK we will but I think we should try to get away from here. Food is going to go scarce soon. We will have fewer reasons to stay here.” The Professor gasped. He might have cried but Khwaja didn’t care to notice.

This is my town. I am going to stay.” Khwaja waved his fist.

“That WAS a good idea. Look out of the windows now… the fire, the smoke, the people. It’s not a spectator sport anymore.”

I won’t give up. I am curious. I wonder where the government is in this fight between the classes.”Khwaja continued to wave his hand. The Professor noted that this was a nervous tic. Khwaja wasn’t the nervous kind but there are always limits.

I heard that they are about to send in the military. The military is not willing to bear the brunt of the public opinion just yet and they have refused. Besides, the government is happy that they aren’t revolting against them…”

Yet!” Khwaja interrupted The Professor’s statement.

Yes, I think the government is going to keep its distance, it’s going to treat it as a civil war. It’s going to send diplomats to both sides and attempts at back door diplomacy will be made.” The Professor  took out his diary and wrote the idea. He might have gotten the opportunity to understand the anatomy of a revolution.

But there is one problem… who is going to lead the talks on part of the people on the streets.” Khwaja pointed out.

Until this thing is decided, the issue is going to be very frustrating to the government.” The Professor agreed.

You don’t suppose the Colonel from the Cafe might assume that role?” Khwaja got up and peered through the blinds.

He may. That is something for later. Now this is my final call. WE MUST LEAVE!” The Professor pointed to the floor with every syllable, a pedagogic gesture in fact.

Not me. I am not leaving. I am going to find The Colonel and see what he is up to.” Khwaja let go the blinds and came back to the seats.

You know I am not the one to leave you old friend, as much as I continue to insist that we leave.” The Professor held Khwaja’s arm in a grip exuding fraternal warmth.

I hope you know what you are doing because I certainly don’t.” Khwaja said with a frown on his forehead.

 

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