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The Killing Machine (standard:Inspirational stories, 1470 words)
Author: Ashwini AhujaAdded: Mar 19 2007Views/Reads: 2930/1848Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Cruelty breeds hatred and when a beautiful lady grows callous towards a servile class rickshaw puller just because of his slow pulling then hatred intensifies and stuns the onlookers. Should beautiful people show apathy towards poor?

Piercing hot sun- in its extreme fury. Time: 1.35 pm. I remember what
papa had instructed me. “Sudhir, understand na, understand na” Before 
going to his office, he had clutched my arms. “I know you're not 
careless but you forget things. Don't forget this. Forget?” And he 
strongly advised me rush to his office carrying my elder brother's case 
file. “Don't come straight to me, understand na. First- you meet 
advocate Mehta, submit him file- then report to me his version” “Ok 
papa, ok papa- ok papa” I assured him with the absolute force of my 
heart but I understood I might be late as I had to date Shakshi- my 
girlfriend. She had promised me to have a meeting with me in Rose 
garden. Court finished at five but after lunch hardly any of the 
lawyers stayed in their offices. How could I see advocate Mehta and not 
Shakshi? Or see Shakshi and not advocate Mehta. Both were important and 
unavoidable. My dilemma. Papa could ever sense my commitment with 
Shakshi? Moreover, our old model scooter- ha, ha, ha, it too was not in 
the porch because papa would have brought it with him to office. My 
sister Manisha did ever borrow me her bicycle. No, no, no. It is only 
mine. And court campus was five six kilometres far away. How could I do 
two things with a short span of time? Lunch with Shakshi and an 
appointment with advocate Mehta. Why papa had commanded me to rush his 
office today? Why? Why? And I was unable to reveal on him my rendezvous 
with Shakshi. I complained to mummy after his departure why papa did 
not buy me a motorbike and begged her to phone papa that I was not 
coming to him today. “No, no, no. Naughty boy- naughty boy- naughty 
boy” He admonished me over phone and instructed mummy something I did 
not know exactly what it was. Mummy smiled and put some coins onto my 
palms. “Why, why, why?” I cried in resentment. “Hire rickshaw, son” I 
noticed these were six seven coins of five rupees denominations. I 
nodded but mummy was aware that I might not hire rickshaw as I hated to 
hire rickshaw. Was it not demeaning for one man to pull another only 
for some coins. Just coins. Shame, shame, shame. Is it not shameful for 
all of us? Are rickshaw pullers not human beings? God's creatures? Why 
my heart would bleed for rickshaw pullers, Shakshi often interrogated 
me? Why I loved rickshaw pullers and welcomed their battle for basic 
dignity and existence forgetting my own needs? I was not reluctant to 
pay them without mounting on their rickshaw cycles. “Foolish, foolish, 
foolish” Girls in my college every so often disregarded me for this act 
of mine. Scorching waves of heat. Road is blistering. Devoid of 
snarling traffic. When I walk off my home, I meet only two three 
limousines running on the road. I wait for a local bus. Wait- wait- 
wait. Sweat in flood begins streaming down my body. I look back again 
and again. Taxies cross past me and I see in my hand six-seven coins. 
Might he carry me with these coins? To court campus? No, no, no. Then a 
rickshaw puller crawls past me mopping his forehead with small towel in 
his hand. “Saheb, chalega?” He stops his vehicle. “No, no, no” I gaze 
at the coins. “No, no, no” “Saheb, sirf das rupiya” He hopes into my 
eyes. “You go...go, yaar” I speak with indignation. Rickshaw puller 
laughs. “Saheb, itni garmi mein bachat karna theek nahi” He challenges 
me. “Stop, stop, stop” I fume at him. He sees the shrivel on my body 
and again laughs. “Come, come, saheb” I stare at him but the hands of 
my wrist watch stare at me. Why are you being late? Why are you being 
late? My mind forces me to reach the destination at the earliest. 
Reach, reach, reach. I reluctantly mount on rickshaw. The old rickshaw 
puller moves his withered face towards me tilting his buttock on the 
seat and utters. “Thank you, thank you, saheb” And he jumps his legs on 
peddles. I relax for moments as I had fulfilled the promise I made to 
mummy that I might hire rickshaw. Crossing the road, I think I should 
drive his rickshaw and pull him as he pulls me. Is it not demeaning one 
man continues pulling other and other continues enjoying latter's pain? 
 Shame, shame, shame. As I express my desire to pull his rickshaw, he 
laughs. “No, no, no, saheb, it's not your job” And then he stops his 
rickshaw at the motion of his one more customer. A young lady of mid 
twenty three four stares at me and says rickshaw puller. “Baba, I don't 
mind sit with another boarder” Old rickshaw puller nods hoping his eyes 
into me. I do not hate his extra earning. “No problem, no problem, no 
problem” “Baba, move fast” She commands as she mounts on it. Rickshaw 
puller, obeying her command, struggles to paddle down ferociously. The 
more he moves fast, the more his legs slip. For some time, she mocks at 
the way of his paddling then shrieks. “What're you doing baba? Again 
and again, you fall down your legs and slow your rickshaw. I don't want 
miss the show. My friends are waiting for there” “Are you going to 
watch movie” I ask casually. She stares at me with reluctant eyes then 
speaks. “Yeah” And continues- “The Killing Machine, Jagat Cinema” I 
feel comfortable and dare to glance at her pleasantly. She is a fine 
face and tanned complexion. I make her comparison with Shakshi. 

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