The Jungle – Next Chapters

Chapter 2:

As the Newton laws of motion were written with a smudgy chalk on the board by Jagadeeshan, the humongous physics teacher, the class felt the soporific warmth fill the classroom. The people who designed time tables ought to be genius, who placed physics and history lessons after lunch. One wonders if they had any recollection of their childhood and remembered how their eyelids would have felt after lunch. It was that time of the day when the stomachs felt heavy, and the eyelids heavier. However, Mikael wasn’t sleepy and had his full attention on the blackboard. It wasn’t because of the subject; it wasn’t because the teacher, but it was because of the stuff that was written on the board. On that day, the words didn’t seem like an obsolete concept for Mikael. It didn’t sound like Greek or Latin to him. It made him look back on the past, and it made him look back on his father.

“Hey! Does anyone live here? Or did I come into the wrong fucking place? “Tony, a fisherman with an ink blank complexion, yelled out in disgust as he entered his house holding a giant fish in his hand. The house looked modest, but had all the necessities for living.

“Why the fuck do you yell?” said his wife. Some of the roughest women in the planet came from the fishermen community. They swore, they fought, they bashed each other up, but most importantly they stood up for themselves when it mattered.

“Don’t you swear at it me. You would have still been in that whorehouse if it wasn’t for me”

“Yeah you came in there and none of the whores wanted to sleep with ya. My fate”

“Now shut the fuck up.”, said Tony as he shoved his wife away with his strong hands. Mikael chuckled as he saw his parents fight, or maybe he chuckled because it they weren’t fighting at all.  Tony’s father was a fisherman, but he moonlighted with the local drug mafia in the night. Fishing was tough business, and his night job ensured that Mikael and his younger brother didn’t go to bed with hunger.

Tony sat down with the local newspaper, and puffed on the beedi as he read. And suddenly, he saw something that disturbed him.

“Oh fuck. We are in trouble. Deep trouble.” , said Tony as he puffed on the beedi in frantic fashion.

Back in the class, Mikael narrated to an attentive Babu. “A 16 year old had died, taking drugs.”

“So is that a big deal?” asked Babu.

“The drugs were shit. This stuff has been going around the city for months now, and my dad has been selling it.” Babu looked on, shocked.

“Dad got busted. The police are onto him now. He’s got only one way out of this shit. He gives up his boss, and he walks free. After all he just sold the dope.”  Tony was in talks with an undercover cop, and the cop had promised to get him out of the mess. But how far can one trust the police? After all, they were as corrupt as the mafias, if not more.

Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it, and as the teacher wrote down the first law, Mikael knew that the boy’s death was going to be the external force in stopping the mafia. The organized crime network would be busted and the rampant object would be brought to a standstill.  However Mikael didn’t know about the second law, as he would find out later. The session ended, waking the students and Mikael up from the slumber, although in different ways.

Chapter 3:

The knock on the doors woke up Tony and his family. The entire family looked at each other, with fear evident in their eyes. When there’s a danger, people look at their loved ones, and a confident look would go a long way in comforting them. Tony had a calm expression in his eyes, although he was far from calm on the inside. The police had not given any protection to Tony, which was a sin taking in the fact that Tony was a potential whistle-blower. Tony picked up a knife, or as they call it the Aruval and went up to the door.

“Who is it?”, asked Tony.   “Ethiraj!” said a voice from the other side. The familiarity of the voice brought a sense of relief to the Tony family.

Tony shoved the Aruval behind the shirt and opened the doors to find a panting Ethiraj.

“Tony. There’s a problem. You gotta come”

“What? It’s 2 AM in the fucking morning and you…”

“Maniraj is having one of those asthma attacks. You gotta come man…”

The look on Tony’s face twisted as he heard the name Maniraj. He closed the door behind him, took Ethiraj to the corner and looked at him. He didn’t utter a word, and his stare at Ethiraj asked several questions, without a single word spoken. Finally, Tony broke the silence.

“How many people? What all they got? ” asked a resigned Tony. It was as if he was expecting the ambush.

“What?”, asked Ethiraj feigning ignorance.

“Now don’t act out of your ass.I just spoke to Maniraj sometime back. He isn’t in town.”

A wave of guilt and shame swept past Ethiraj’s face. “I am sorry Tony. I  …”

“Can I get out of this?”

“They got men all over the area. They are stopping every bike, car, and rickshaw.”, said Ethiraj nodding his head in a negative.

“What if I hide out in the colonies? Until this thing is over”

Ethiraj doesn’t say a word. He knew that Tony was fighting a losing battle.

“I need to speak to the police. Can you get me there? “

“Look Tony, you gotta go to them. You try to run away, and they come after you and your family”

Tony heaved a sigh. Ethiraj cleared his throat “Keep that with you. “, he said referring to the Aruval.

Tony walked into his house. His wife and Mikael were well awake, waiting for Tony to tell something that would comfort them. Tony hadn’t spoken all that well to both of them for a lot of years now. A sudden outburst of affection would be weird.

“Mani is having a problem. I need to go OK. Now what the fuck you looking at? Huh”, his voice almost trembling in fear.

“Is there a problem..? “

“Just the shut the fuck up! Now go back to the sleep.”  Tony yelled this time. And the tone of Tony’s voice brought a sense of relief in his wife. She could now go back to sleep knowing that her husband was normal. Tony left his house, knowing he wouldn’t return.

Back in the class the next day, Jagadeeshan was talking about the second law. Babu quizzed “Where is he? Any idea?”

“Dad’s friends have gone to the police. Still no news. They say that dad went out to the sea, and might have been shot by the Lankans”.

“Those fucking Lankans”, grunted Babu.

“It isn’t them. I know who it is. “, said Mikael in a soft tone. Babu mellowed down, allowing Mikael to grieve. Mikael had indeed learnt about the second law. He had learnt that bigger objects had greater force, that powerful people could punch way above their weight.

But, in the last minutes of the session, Jagadeeshan wrote down the third law, the law which is easily understandable to students all over the world, the law which has as many as examples as we can think of. Mikael looked at it and had one thing clear in his mind. Revenge!

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