Ravi — a fictional short series
Life gives us choices. It’s for us to decide whether we embrace those choices or to act against them. My name is Ravi. I chose to be a Muslim…
You may be look at my name and think otherwise. I had reverted and… accepted all the problems that came with it. Life was not to be the same…
It was a particularly cheerful day. The wind was blowing into my hair as I zipped on the highway on my motorcycle. Not a soul in sight I thought as I started to reach my destination. But my joy was shortlived. I saw a check post police man just waiting for me. His signs were clear that I had done something wrong and will be punished for it. I stopped my bike as the police man neared. With a frown he looked at me.
A little bit about me…. I was 5' 10, fair skinned, with a beard rivaling Chuck Norris’. I was well built and wore western styled clothing. Nothing really out of the ordinary.
He asked me for my identification and license, which I gave to him. He looked at my name, looked me as if to check me out and then promptly handed me my stuff to let me go.
As I was about to leave, my phone rang which caught the attention of the policeman. It was not the regular phone manufacture tone nor a wild mp3 or any other tone that’s out of the ordinary. It was just a simple old phone ring tone that just kept ringing. As I was on the road, I decided not to answer the phone which irked the police man.
“What do you have to hide?” he claimed as he signaled for me to pick the phone. I got out of my bike and started to answer as I was told. It was Fathima.
Fathima is the one who showed me the beauty of Islam. Probably the most gentle person I knew and just as patient. She was my strength when I had no where to go ; even when my friends and family no longer wanted me to be a part of them. Our marriage was a secret affair known only to our well wishers — the very few that accepted it. My parents objected to us marrying. She had none. They were killed in the riots of ’93. She was brought up by her doting uncle who loved her more than life itself. Surprisingly, he encouraged us.
I took the phone to my ear and heard Asalamualaikum from Fathima. As instinctively I said Walaikumsalam. As if it was a radar this word just stung the police and he started to bark at me making me drop my phone. He took me in custody. My name. My religion. My mistake…
Chapter 1 : in custody
Cut to 1993
Hindu mobs with sticks and axes are dousing petrol in houses. Screams of girls are being heard. Men are dragging girls out of their homes in the most inhuman way while they torch the men trapped in their homes. Fathima, Fathima a middle aged man cries out through the grilled windows before the fire engulfs him .
“Fathima, Fathima” cries out Fathima’s uncle. Fathima wakes up from the nightmare she is having. Uncle Abdullah was an aging man but his age was camouflaged by his healthy body and lively outlook of life. He wore modest clothes, spectacles, a cap and beard. His modern views paralleled his own conservative look. He loved his niece so much and had never forced her to do anything that she was not comfortable with. He didn’t have children of his own, so Fathima had always been the child he never had.
She hugs her uncle and cries. “Uncle, you are the only family I have left, please don’t leave me”.
Consoling her “My child, for how long are you going to stay in the past. Everyday you have the same nightmare.”
With a terrified look in her eyes “But it seems like only yesterday. I could hear the screams of mom and dad.”
He sits besides her “Life is a test. For some the test is harder than for others. How we deal with the situations we are faced with will ultimately whether we pass the test ” after a pause
“or fail it!”
He gets up and says “Anyway, you should get ready. Ravi should be here soon.”
As if all the worries were just blown away, Fathima face lights up. She gets up and says “I’ll give him a call to see if he’s on his way, your son-in-law does tend to need reminding”
She picks up her cellphone and contacts Ravi “Assalamualaikum”
She hears Ravi on the line “Walaikumasalam”
Before he could say anything else she could hear the policeman in the background saying “You Muslim you. Let me teach you a lesson”
Ravi’s phone can be heard dropping and turning off.
“Uncle, Ravi is in trouble” She frighteningly exclaims.
In the police station, Ravi has been taken into custody. He is in a dark cell lit only with a light coming from an old bulb.
The policeman is perusing Ravi’s license in his hand. He glances at Ravi and then turns his eyes to the license. The policeman a big bulging fellow. His large bushy moustache is the only hair on his face.
“Your dad is a very powerful Hindu, how did you succumb to Islam”
“Truth will always defeat falsehood”
Policeman laughs in ridicule.
“Hey Pandu, we have one of those”
Pandu, a police constable in the background, starts laughing.
Policeman puts his stick near Ravi’s face to intimidate him.
“Listen you, the only reason this stick is on your face and not in your ass is that you are the son of Purshotam Swami. Keep your snide remarks to yourself”
“May I know what is my crime”
“Your crime” starts laughing.
He gets up in intimidation and yells out
“Your crime is that you joined a terrorist religion. We catch people like you before you commit terrorist activities”
Before the realization could sink in, the walls start cracking. Fire flames out. 10 people in black garb with their face and hair covered in turbans barge in. A few of them holding black flags. They are equipped with automatic machine guns.
Before the policeman can react he is relieved of his guns by two of the men. The man looks in eyes of Ravi.
Ravi looks at the policeman and says “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know these…” Before he could finish his sentence the butt of a machine gun knocks him unconscious.
Chapter 2 : Fugitive