- The Silent World(s)
Author: Suresh Kumar, Infosys, Chennai
Disclaimer: All the characters including the first person “I” is fictitious. Resemblance to any Individual (alive or dead) is only a coincidence.
Prologue: This is the first story that I wrote for the weekly competition under the Topic ‘The Silent World’. By Standard Silence is the absence of Sound. But there is always moments which is Silent, even though there is plenty of noise around us. Dreams, Death and Life after Death, God, Happiness at its peak, Sorrow at its bottom are some of those moments. This story is another attempt on those Silent moments. Few of those moments are explicit, while few others are intentionally left out.
“Can I ask the girl to come?” The girl’s dad asked us.
“Oh yes, please ask her to me” replied the broker who was sitting with me.
I was sitting uncomfortably in the only wooden chair in the house. One of the legs was shorter and whenever I make a small move, the chair itself was moving, or better to say dancing. The house has one small hall cum verandah, one bedroom and a kitchen.
The girl came after a minute or so. She was looking older than 30 years, which the broker told me. But still I don’t have complaints from me. I am 39 years and yet unmarried. But this proposal so far looks like will get finalized. She came, gave me the coffee and left back.
“Its rare to find bridegrooms who does not take dowry. Because of dowry, I could not get my daughter married these many years. And only god has sent you for my daughter.”
Just at that time, someone came into the house. He looked like one of their other family member came. While entering, he gave me an awkward look and a dry smile. It gave me a signal that he knows me.
Then he took the girl’s daughter outside the house and there were murmurs from outside.
“WHAT…Is it…I didn’t know…That is not possible…Oh ok…What should we do?”
Then the girl’s dad come inside and asked the broker to come out. Then there was some shouting as well. I could only hear a bit of it. But I sensed that they now know about me and my job. Now there is no way this marriage will happen.
I stood up from the chair. Despite the noise outside everything around me looked silent, as I walked slowly out of the house.
This is the 21st time I was walking dejectedly out of a girl’s house in the last four years. All the rejections were because of one reason, my Job. I reached the bus stop and took the next available bus to my place, not waiting for the broker to join me.
My Job is Executioner of the Death Penalty Prisoners in the City’s largest Prison. Literally, Killing was my Job. In the last 15 years, there have been 32 Death Penalty executions and 22 of them were executed by me. I have pulled the trigger to kill 22 of them. The last face that all those Prisoners have seen was mine. I always had troubles watching those face for the last time and I don’t know how many more faces I need to watch more. I lay on the bed and don’t remember when I slept.
At Midnight someone was kicking me on my back. I woke up with a jerk. In the glared views, I could see someone standing in front of me, in a white shirt and a white trouser. I jumped out of my bed and switched on the lights to find out who it was.
To my surprise, it was Ranga. He was the one that I executed 3 months back.
“Ohh.. you still remember me?”
“How come you are alive? It is not possible!”
“I killed you 3 months back.”
“I am not saying that I am alive.”
I was shivering now.
“Do you mean you are…”
“Yes, I am what you think I am.”
I didn’t know what I should be doing. Should I run away from this house or hit him with something?
“I am here to take revenge on you for killing me.”
“I didn’t kill you. I only did my Job.”
“I don’t mind. But the last thing that stayed in my mind was that you pulling the lever to hang me. So I want to kill you first.”
I decided to run away from him now and went towards the main door of the house. But I could not unlock it. Then something pulled me from the back and threw me on the floor. Before I could gain sense, another kick fell on my abdomen and I cried loud in pain.
By that, my hands were tied behind my back with a towel. I had no strength to get up because of the kick. I was dragged to the kitchen. I shouted for help. But the abdominal pain kept my voice feeble. I could barely move. I smelled gas in the kitchen. I could see that he has opened the gas cylinder. He closed all the windows and the door.
Then he took the match stick and scratched it with the match box.
The ringing bells sound near my ears, woke me up from the terrible dream. I took the time-piece and pressed the off button. I tried to remember everything that has happened in my dream and I could trace back the entire events and the conversation with Ranga.
I wondered how even in the ‘Silent World’ of dreams, there was a conversation, cries and the heavy blast noise. The events in the dream were violent, but the dream was silent. I may not have heard any of the noises in the dream. But I have listened to all of it and remembered every bit of it.
Confusingly, I got up from the bed. First checked the gas cylinder. It looked fine. I got ready to work, as I have one execution to be done today at 6:00.
Today’s Victim was Hari.
On a night when Hari was drunk, he happened to kill his Engineering college roommate accidentally. The roommate belonged to a high profile family and his family ensured that Hari gets punished severely. So they cooked up stories to the case.
Hari pleaded for guilty as well. But the Law was Silenced by Money. His plead could not work out in that Silent World.
From the day, when he was given the death penalty, I have seen him very rarely outside his cell. It was no surprise that he lost faith in everything in his life. But today is last day of his life and he was being brought in to the execution room. I looked at his face before execution. His eyes looked still and a gazed look.
From the time he was brought in to the room, none of us spoke. Everyone knew the routine well and there were only actions. When they finally signaled me after the other formalities, I pulled the lever unwillingly.
I completed the Shift and came back home. I took bath and stood in front of the Gods. I sent all the prayers to them to forgive me for today’s act and to relieve me of this job sooner. But they never respond back, not only today but any day. They have been only silent so far, for all my prayers. After my prayers, I took a sheet of paper to pen down my letter to the President of India.
“This is my 23rd letter to the President of this Country in stopping this Barbaric act that is being practiced in this Country in the name of Death Penalty. Today I have killed the 23rd person in my life.
I have been watching him since his case was handled in the court. I will have to say that this was a false judgment where money played a bigger role than all the filthy law people. If only he had the money, then I guess he would have also got away with this punishment. But when this law system is totally flawed and is full of holes to escape, then why punish a person in the name of law.
Although he was killed today, he died mentally long time back. He stopped eating, praying and everything. He has been living in his Silent World until we killed his body as well today.
If Death Penalties are to reduce future crime activities, have you seen the criminal activities reduced in this country. It has not, in fact it has increased and so are the number of mercy petitions.
Everyone in this world has a right to live and should be given enough chances to correct their mistakes. During this case, Hari clearly explained that this was an accident and he understood how his roommate’s parents felt. He cried in front of everyone in the court. I feel that if only he was given a lesser punishment, he would done remorse by involving in any of the social activities. But we denied that to his poor soul.
If Killing is a crime and so is this Death Penalty. And this letter is to abolish this cruel act in the name of law. Abolition will not come from the desks of local politicians, whose lives have likely never been touched by the death penalty. Abolition can only come from people demanding the change. And I am one of them.”
I have got no replies for all my letters and I am sure that I will not get any. All these letters must have reached their dust bins. It is like playing a horn in a deaf person’s ear. Another world that is partial and silent.
I put it in the cover, wrote the President address on the top of it. I locked the house, took my Scooter and left to my usual place to spend the rest of the day. On the way I put the letter in the post box.
I reached one of the famous Shopping Malls in the City. This is one of the places where I can see people happy or atleast they appear to be. And this is one of the places where no one judges me for what my profession is. This place is one of my favorite spot to spend my time, infact most of my time.
As usual, I went to the stall where they provide different corn based snacks. Also this is one of the spots where I can get a very good look of the mall. I ordered for my favorite Lime Pepper Corn.
At that time, there was some noise coming from the second floor. A woman was screaming from one of the floors above. I looked up. Something was falling from one of those floors. It initially looked like a pillow. My first reaction was to move away. But out of the cloth, there were two hands and the cry of the baby. I dropped whatever was in my hand and caught it. There was a crying baby in my hands. Someone has dropped the baby by accident.
There were few screams all over the mall. Few others in the ground floor came running towards me. But I was looking for the child’s parents. The baby has not stopped crying. Then a man and a woman came running from somewhere. They were the baby’s parents.
They took the baby from me. And the man came to me and hugged me. At that time, everyone around me started to clap and few of them were giving me pat on my back.
The parents now have recovered from the shock. They took me away from the crowd to the nearest Food Court. The baby has now stopped crying. I took the baby and kept on my lap. We both started to develop a love feeling towards each other. The baby for some reason started to like me. It was smiling me as soon as I took it.
“Thanks. You saved our baby. We cannot forget this moment. You have been the Savior for the baby. Thanks and Thanks a lot.”
He was saying much more things about the incident. But from being a killer today I have become a savior and this has become the most unforgettable moment of my life. I could not hear anything. I was living my life in this Silent Happy World, still enjoying the smiling baby on my lap, which will sucking my left hand thumb.
"Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually,We are as good as dead"
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