PASS IT ON

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Saira was angry nay furious. She could feel the rage coursing through her like red hot lava scorching down a mountainside. And much like the volcanic fluid that hungrily consumes and incinerates everything in its path, her system too was demanding a sacrificial victim to vent its explosive fury on.

She needed to just scream at someone, better still if she could just grab them by the throat and slam their heads against the wall again and again till their skull shattered and blood and brain formed a greyish crimson pool on the floor and…

My God, she was sounding psychotic even to herself. But what could she do? The anger had been building up inside for weeks now, fuelled by so many different people and situations. The AC repair guy who’d been promising to show up for a week but never did, causing her sultry, sweaty, slumber-less nights. The boss who couldn’t making cheap digs about her accent and ‘modern’ sense of dressing, in his own crude way hinting that she was a amoral slut aping American strumpets. Guys everywhere who wouldn’t stop leaching even when she was enveloped in fabric from head to toe. Boyfriends who would either cheat or think she was cheating on them… If she started to make a list it would take her a week but even thinking about these people made her want to find someone and start hammering his bones out of shape…

That’s it. She couldn’t just stay home, driving herself nuts out if frustration and fury. She had to let it out, even if the object of her wrath was some poor schmuck who had done nothing to irk her.

She slammed the door behind her but it didn’t assuage her by even a tenth of a percentage point. She looked around for the watchman to blast him for never warning her about the all too frequent water cuts. But he too, was absconding. She tried to flag down a rickshaw, positive he would turn her down, which would give her ample reason to let loose with a vituperative outburst invoking all kinds of sexual activity concerning his wife, sister, grandmother. But lo and behold, he too stopped and was willing to take her wherever she wanted. And that too with a broad smile.

It was as if the fates itself were conspiring to ensure that her desire to blow her top remained unfulfilled. Which just ended up pissing her off even more.

Through the rickshaw journey she kept glaring at every guy who passed by, be it on a two, three or four wheeler. Her hope being that one of them would do something sleazy, the default setting for most Indian Males, which would hand her the license to whip off her sandal and wallop him mercilessly till his blood flowed and her lust to see the crimson liquid spilt, was satiated. But perhaps their early warning systems had kicked in. Cause forget passing a comment of whistling or leering, they didn’t even give her a second look.

Saira was close to losing it completely. She wasn’t even looking for someone to enrage her any more. She was combusting anyway, didn’t need any ignition. All she needed was a fall guy.

Enter Madhusudhan Bhatt, unremarkable collegian, taking his brand new Yamaha for a test ride. By sheer dint of bad luck, he attempted to cut across just as she had dismounted and was crossing the road.

He screeched to a halt, she screamed at him as if he had personally molested her and all the woman folk in her home town. And then to oust the last vestige of anger in her system, she followed it up with a tight slap.

Only she hadn’t really finished off the anger, only passed it on. Madhu took out his fury on two street kids who in their excitement at seeing a new bike, expelled their foul breath too close to his mean machine.

Being slapped and kicked for no apparent reason didn’t go down too well with them. They found succour in removing the air from the tyres of a parked Audi. And scratching its bonnet as well.

Vikramjit Narayan was a man with a simple principle. When someone or something pissed him off, he took it out on the population at large. And as the owner of a dozen engineering and medical colleges, his ire took the form of raised fees and delayed salaries.

Some of the students who couldn’t rustle up the moolah and got docked a semester in consequence, tried to sublimate their vexation in vodka and hash. It only aggravated them to the point where they got into a bar room brawl. Things got out of hand. And a waiter got stabbed.

He turned out to be from a lower caste, which came in handy for a budding political leader hoping to grab some media mileage. He spun this isolated act into one more assault on the aspirations of his downtrodden brothers and sisters. Result – a full blown mob on the rampage, smashing and burning vehicles, beating up anyone they could see, including a few cops.

One of whom saw red, and gave the order to start firing.

Which was perfect fodder for a sensation hungry media and an opportunistic coalition partner. Within a week, support to the ruling party had been withdrawn, a fresh alliance came into being and the state had a new Chief Minister.

Saira never realised how she had helped bring down a government.

Of course the deposed Chief Minister was super pissed off and his anger set off a whole new chain. But that’s another story…

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