Thursday, February 22, 2007

Supreme Court is a "@#$@#$#%$%#".

I was not a happy man when I boarded the train. Even the plush comfort of the air-conditioned compartment of the Mangala Express could not cool my frayed nerves. I was a student and still not had the means to air travel on those days because Air Deccan was still not covering Kerala. It was not the comfort that I sought,I had tried to reason with the parents, it was the savings in time but I knew we couldnt afford the hefty charges from Kerala to Delhi whatever be the savings in time. In Delhi I had so many things to do and spending three days inside a comfortable train cabin somehow seemed total waste of time. Whatever, I opened my suit case and took out the laptop, determined to put the three days in train to some good use.

" Are you going to Delhi? ," the man beside me was staring appreciatively at the laptop.

After glancing briefly at him and realising that he is a first time traveller to Delhi, I mumbled in affirmation, handling the laptop now with exaggerated care and importance as if it were an expensive car to show off.

"Today everything is getting computerized.", He remarked.

I smiled and turned around to give the man a look , of course any body in post liberalisation generation can take some credit for the IT revolution which changed India and it was a pleasure to take that minor share which was coming into my platter.

The man was short and plump. He looked simple and strangely out of place in that little lap of luxury in an AC compartment with his white Mundu and shirt among army men , nurses and families . Most probably he is going to Delhi for his business requirements , I thought.

"The train is reaching Thrissur station" the man continued, " Would you like to share a cigaratte?"

I smiled deprecatingly and knew he was trying to engage in a conversation with me till Delhi as both of us seemed to be the only people who were not in groups. For a moment, I was tempted to explain how cigaratee companies are making revenues through people like him who smoked umpteen cigarettes a day but restrained myself to a single statement.

"Thanks , but I don't smoke."

" I assumed so. What about a tea? "came the reply.

A hint of belligerence and banter came into his so far affable, persuasive tone when I tried to keep away from him.

No point .I closed the laptop.

Somehow the three days are going to be wasted in this train drinking tea and coffee with him .

Over a tea I learnt that he is from Southern Kerala and is going to Delhi for something related to a case in Supreme Court.He told me about his sons , wife and mother . Sometimes I wonder how easily I am able to extract information out of strangers I meet

The train had already started by the time we finished tea and a very old lady came in between us.

I welcomed her as an escape from the man and thought about opening my laptop again.

"Mone" . It was the turn of the old lady now. I hate when people call me mone because it is a sign of people treating me as a kid for my boyish charm.

"Yes" , I tried to put on the look of a pseudo intellectual.

"Would you like to have some banana chips? . I made it specially for my grandson in Delhi."

Again she was trying to engage in a conversation but I didnt mind , since she looked like my grandmother.

"Thanks. How old is your grandson?".

"He will turn eleven next September"
, She said

How come people wait for children to turn old when they are young ?
What is her motivation in sharing something with me that was specially made for a eleven year old kid?

I wondered and I didn't bother because the chips seemed very tasty.My mother has adviced me a thousand times about the need to keep away from strangers and I never accept anything from strangers but the old lady seemed too innocent to con me. I took two or three chips from her just for the sake of it.

"Would you like to have some?" , I asked the man and the old lady offered some chips to him.

" Ammachi ,The Taste is good " , The man said.

We became like a family since three of us were the only people who were not in any group or family in the compartment . I never got a chance to open the laptop again in my trip. We talked about each other and I learnt that old lady is going to visit her son in Delhi who was working in the Foreign Affairs ministry.She was very proud of her grandchildren whom she claimed were very smart.I found the old lady more interesting than man because she always gave the the banana chips and tasty achappams and so many snacks whenever I spoke with her and agreed to the fact that all her grandchildren were among the smartest kids in the world.

The man just listened to us and did not utter a word . He appeared tense and lost in his own world. Occasionally he asked me and the old lady when the train stopped in various stations whether we needed tea or food and three of us ate from the same vendor. The train proceeded through Mangalore , Konkan , Bombay and into Uttar Pradesh taking all of us in its womb.Somehow I always liked talking and making friends with people in my train journeys to Delhi and so many of them call once in a while.This journey and conversation was a welcome change from the usual banter of Army officers about their gallantry and from those flirty young nurses who worked in North Indian towns.

The train reached Hazrat Nizamuddin on the third day and thanks to a train derailment somewhere between Agra and Mathura ,it was almost midnight when the train reached the station .

The old lady was so sad to leave me and the man.She gave her phone number in Delhi and in Thrissur and invited me and the man home . I promised to visit her next time I am in Thrissur visiting my relatives and joked with her that she should share teh recipe with my mother.We handed her over to her son and smart grandchildren and then just two of us were left.

Me and the man. Just like it was in the beginning of the journey.

"So where do you want to go ?", I asked him.

"I want to go to a place where I can stay for tonight. I have to go to the court tomorrow and the return train is on day after tomorrow morning if possible" , He said.

"If Possible?" , That caught my attention

"Don't you have a reservation back , else it will be very tough?"

"Yes , I have"

Why did he add if possible, I wondered secretly.

I was going to Delhi University and thought that I can drop him in Pahadganj since he was not familiar with Delhi.

Mallu Mallu bond, my northie friends called my tendency to help other people from Kerala .

I dropped him at Pahadganj and explained to him the way to go to Supreme Court.

"Why dont you stay with me and go back tomorrow morning?", He asked

"Nopez, Got to go tomorrow for an early morning lecture" , I lied because i didn't want to stay with a stranger.

"All the Best for your case tomorrow" , I wished him when I was leaving

Suddenly he cringed and tension on his face was palpable.

I was thinking about his court case and that expression when I was returning from his hotel room.

Next day , I forgot about him and the expression . I was busy focusing on the things that needed my attention when I was away.

The call came in the evening.

The call came in the evening from the same man I met in the train.

He was screaming over the phone , totally exhilarated , " We won the case "

I couldn't actually place how it was We and not I. "Congratulations , Now you are happy is it"

"Certainly " , He said . " I want to return to Kerala tomorrow and would like to meet you over a drink".

"See , I am really busy"

"No , No . I have to meet you before I go . You were my good luck charm "

I knew he was buttering me , " See , I am really very busy"

One of my North Indian friends asked . " What is the guy saying about drink? I can hear him shouting over the phone about the drink"

"Nothing , Yaar . Some shady guy I met in the train". I lied about it eventhough he told we won the case.

"I did my TCS training in Trivandrum , Don't lie" . He said "I heard him shouting over the phone and inviting you for a drink , Lets go. It is Free yaar"

Whoever said FREE is the most attractive four letter word with any offer should be the most intelligent person in the universe , I thought

"Ok , where?" , I asked the man

"Come to my hotel room" , He said.

We went in my friends car and the man was different . No tension , no pain . Happiness roseated from his face and he was talking animatedly to his wife and sons when we entered his room.

We went to a swanky bar and people stared at him because he was still wearing the Mundu and a Blue Shirt. Me and my friend didn't care about those glances that we received occasionally from other tables.

We settled down ordered some drinks and started the usual banter.After two three rounds I told him.

"You were really tense yesterday . So , what was this case about?"

"Nothig much , a small issue "

"May be some business problem , It happens you know"

"It was a business problem , but was a criminal offence"

"Criminal offence?"

"Ya , I killed two people"


" I killed two people and Supreme Court is a !#$@$#$@#$. The verdict was that I was innocent. I thought I would be hanged and wont be bale to return back to my family in Kerala"

The vodka in my head evaporated . I looked more closely to see whether he is still there and whether I was dreaming.I looked at my friend who was only concentarting on his drinks.I was not sure what he meant when he said 'Supreme Court is a !#$@$#$@#$' whether it symbolised deep regret in killing two people or happiness in being acquitted.

"Excuse me .Are we having this Vodka for killing two people? "

He just stared at me without answering and replied .

" I invited you for a drink because you didnt ask anything about me in the train and talked to me like a brother. I was tired of all those accusing glances and tears of my children who were constantly harassed by people in our town for being the sons of a murderer".

I was meeting a murderer for the first time in my life and I always had this stereotypical image about a mudrerer who killed other people being nasty , eccentric and abnormal.This guy appeared normal anyway .I wanted to keep away from the person who had murdered two people whatever be the reason.

He started with the story on how he started a factory in his village with what he got from his parents and how union leaders harassed him . He had to resort to gun fire when an angry mob attacked him and he killed two of his own workers.

The story started falling into place. I remembered reading about it in Malayala Manorama.I didnt know whether to blame him or empathise with him when heard the whole story.

He defended himself saying about the huge loans he had to incur to start the factory , about his family- the wife , mother and two kids- who depended only on him and how he helped the families of workers after the factory was reopened.Whatever , I could not take any drinks after that and the entire Vodka in my head and my friend's head (after I explained to him) evaporated into thin air.

We fled from there with in fifteen minutes and left him in his hotel room and drove back to University in silence.

It didnt end there .

He used to call me often for next six months and then slowly the calls decreased as his business picked up.

Once I had to visit the town where his factory was .Moore and his laws always tried to play with me and I ran into him of all the people in that town . We went to his house . His wife made me tapioca and fish curry and I played with his children . He took me to his factory and showed all around and introduced me to some workers saying I was a distant relation.He used to call me , to discuss his family matters till I changed my old number.

Whenever I pass in front of Supreme Court in Delhi , I think about that man , the journey , that old lady and his statement Supreme Court is a "@#$@#$#%$%#" and often wonder how he is doing these days.

Hopefully you are doing fine , my friend.

Why do killers kill? - Thought about him after reading this.


Jiby said...

very interesting read...this can be made into a film man... every f$%*ing trade union leader in kerala thinks he is lenin.

Nariyal Chutney said...

Hi Jiby , This is not actually a story . It is a real incident :( . Somewhere I have read that best films are made from real life stories . Remember the Malayalam movie "Varavelpu" . Hope wherever the guy is he is doing well. Somehow can't think of him being able to kill two people :(

crocodile said...

I dont know if you remember, there was once a political murder in kerala, where some communist chaps murdered a school teacher, an activist of the BJP, in his classroom, in front of the kids. The high court convicted them but he supreme court aquitted most and gave a life sentence to one chap.
The law and justice are different things.Life sure is funny...

Neihal said...

That made for a very inetresting read (not my fault that jiby already mentioned it :P)
other than that, I think these are rare meet a murderer...and to know his side of story...

Seema said...

That was real life encounter huhhh…very interesting to know the mind of a person who really kill…cant even think in the wierdest of my thoughts of killing…so what is it that puts a human mind into such an act, the state of mind before doing, how does it feel after n then the aftereffects that haunts one for whole life…very intriguing thoughts...
Something like Kabul Express…that was a movie though!
Strange real encounter you had… really interesting !

Nariyal Chutney said...

@Crocodile: Well aware about the case that you mentioned . I was in school then :( .The law gives a lot of focus on proofs and sometimes proofs are not enough for justice when the entire world knows what actually happened .

@neihal : Well , well it was a rare meeting . So hard to forget it . But beware the starnger sitting near you in your journey may be a murderer . Who knows? :P

@ Seema: Interesting to read it now but it is not so nice to experience that the person with whom you are sharing a drink has killed someone. Well , the strangest encounters I had was in your city , Mumbai .But why me yaar , everytime as if send for this strange encounters to this planet ? :P

Ajith said...

Well...that was interesting n amusing... Anyways, more worthy than getting hooked up to a laptop throughout a 2 day journey :)

Umesh said...

A wonderful read. The twists and turns were fabulous. I think you should write for movies. SN Swami is out of ideas.

Anonymous said...

Had been watching you since you started .Was always amazed at your clarity of thought and the level of analysis in the comments that you make in others posts.What I like about your posts is that they have a lot of quality content and variety unlike so many posts that offer only humor or is focused on one area. Dont know where you did MBA from but sure if you are 25 and is writing like this you have got some serious stuff in you . Keep it up.

- A Friend who reads your blogs hoping you will write more

Anonymous said...

It amused me as well. (And reminded me of the cabby in Pulp Fiction).

What really amused me was, how almost a trivial incident can shook up even a person of your exposure and knowledge. Trivial, compared to you being meeting him, when he was about to pull the trigger. (I've been at dagger points, if not at gun points, on a couple of occasions) And you confess that you had stereotyped images about murderers and criminals.

Even the article that you have provided the link to, is missing out on one interesting point. Civilisation is all about teaching to override the instincts. From your narative, and knowing about the case, it was an impulsive murder. And that's nothing more than a reflexive action of squashing a mosquito, at the moment of action. Of course, life of a human being is a lot greater than that of a mosquito.

Well written post, anyways.

mathew said...

mm...quite spectacular encounter!!!
Our idea of a murder is haevily influenced my media and the movies..And that stigma always haunts us..

neways on a lighter note.u should have taken martinis..that would have left u shaken but not stirred!! :-P

Anonymous said...


Excellent narrative.
BananaChips, train, grandmom, an alleged murderer & the yuppie , someone?

Nariyal Chutney said...

@ ajith : Well , the experience was worthy but I was working on a business plan and lost handsome cashproze narrowly in a competition . But some experiences are priceless is it :P.

@umesh: S N Swamy wrote mainly those shady stories . Hopefully someone will give me a chance to sketch new contours for Malayalam Cinema and I will give u credit :)

@Friend who reads NC blogs hoping NC will write more ,
Wait for a few more posts :).There is something happening in my professional/personal life and may be not so many posts after sometime.

@Anonymous-II, It completely shook me up because , never expected the guy to be a murderer and as you said I had a stereotyped image which I found hard to match with and could not blame him because it was an impulsive murder. But dont u think mosquito purpose in earth is to kill humans and humans have all right to kill them.

P S: dagger Points ,Were you in KSU or SFI? :).

@mathew: You bet and I should be the last person to which this advice should be given because i have been invloved with Media all along in my career.Martinis in a train is not a good idea because then that Ammachi would have turned away from me without offering the chips :).

@Anonymous - III . Movies , sure . This seems to be the age of plagarism according to some bloggers.As long as no body else had a similar experience , I hope NC can get the a small mention among the credits for the movie .

Amooma said...

scary story in parts. thriller material??
u write very readable stuff

Attribution said...


Nariyal Chutney said...

@ Amoomma: Didnt know scary meant readable :). It seems I should include more scray stories then :D.

@ attribution : :(

flaashgordon said...

That was a real gripping narrative with a shocking twist in the tale. Well, as Jiby pointed out- with the sort of blood sucking Union leaders we have in Kerala, even i do feel that a avg entrepreneur might be pushed enough to murdering a couple of them.This again seems to have been in self defence -when a mob attacked him....
Again, as someone script material...

Anonymous said...

Glimpses of Batten Bose ;)
Keep your Identity secret...otherwise "Ma" publications may approach you...ha..ha...
..Definitely not a Movie material.....
You could have ended it up like this:
After 6 months.....NCs mobile rings
"Nariyal Chutneeeeeeeee"...he is hearing the same old voice...
And write a second part later...."Supreme Court is still..." :D

Cosmic Voices said...

Well written!!!

I was trying to imagine what thoughts might have passed in your head when you knew he killed someone..

Incidentally, I too met someone like this. I guess that was in my second or third year of graduation. My dad, who, then, regularly visited jails, once took me. Among all the inmates, there was this man who spoke perfect english with impeccable pronunciation. I was told that he was some research scholar. When I was wondering why he was there, someone told me that he murdered his wife.

I understand that being with prisoners, it is not something unexpected. But then, of all the people, a sophisticated research scholar committing a murder? Well, I don't know if appearances are deceptive, but surely our prejudices are.

Jo said...

Man, NC! This is definitely a touching post. You have presented in a nice way. Every story has two sides...

Amooma said...

reading it sent 'thrills of fear' thru me. hence, scary?? :P