Monday, September 13, 2010

Alternate Life

The wind was still. The sea was calm.  There was no one on the bridge. He looked down at water, and then looked up the sky. He was confused. He didn’t have the chutzpah to do it. “Do you believe in destiny?” He heard a voice. He turned around. He couldn’t see anybody. He prepared himself to make a move. “You did not answer me. Do you believe in destiny?” He again stopped and turned around. He saw a middle aged man standing and staring him. He couldn’t recognize him and his face was blurry too.

                                  A Week Ago:  

“Hey Vik! Raunak here. Outta money. Need a job. If possible, urgently.” He hung up. He needed money urgently. His landlord had been banging his door for the past three days and all his bills were pending, albeit he could have managed money from others but he too had his own set of principles. He never borrowed from anybody.

His phone rang. “Raunak! Dude, you know what an incredible timing you have. Just got a job for you. Stakes and money are high.” “I’m on my way.” He got an unsatisfying smile on his face. He wanted to do something different this time, something that could satisfy him, but there he was, embroiled in his own thoughts and principles.

“Raunak! I was waiting for you only. That’s the envelope. You’ll get everything you need in that envelope. Do it by tomorrow.” “Hmm. How much am I gonna get this time?” “How much do you expect?” Vik asked. “Considering your statement, that the stakes are high this time, I think eight figures would be good.” Vik’s jaw dropped. “WHAT? You know that’s double of what you get every time.”  “Vik, I already told you I need money and there is a bigger risk this time. You know I’m the best in this field. Give it or hire someone else.” He said. “You bastard! Looks like you’ve grown some brains lately.” Vik smirked. No sooner did Raunak leave for the completion of his job, than Vik spoke, “At least have a look at the picture once.” Raunak took the photo out of the envelope. He almost fainted.

                              The Characters:
Raunak:   27, a guy with gifted looks and a gifted mind. Couldn’t complete his graduation. Hitman by profession. Ace in assassinating people for money.

Supported by Vik, the man, Raunak’s father et al.

“I….I –I can’t do this.” That was his father’s picture. “What happened? You know him already?” Vik enquired. “He is my father.” Vik, too, was stunned. “Dude, I don’t know how to say this but job is job, he has to die, whatever it takes.” Vik stated. “Are you insane? This man is my father.” “Look, I know you two are not in contacts since ten years. Don’t get sentimental, and you’re gonna get a crore. I promise!” Vik said. “No Vik. I’m not gonna do this and I won’t let you do this.” Raunak took out his gun and shot him in the head. Vik was dead. Raunak turned back and left for his home. He thought about his father the whole day. He decided to meet him again the next day.

The following day’s news headlines were: “Member of Parliament and leading businessman Vishesh Sharma was found dead in his bungalow. According to the reports, he was murdered by a professional who shot him thrice in the chest.”

                         Present Day:
Raunak couldn’t believe what he saw and read everywhere. He had killed Vik. How anyone else could have taken up the job and assassinated his father! That was all he could think of. Memories of him and his father came all the way haunting him. The man who taught him walking, talking, and everything, the man who was the reason he was in this world, was dead. Murdered by the man with the same profession as he was in. He took the blame on himself.  Suicide was the Hobson’s choice for him. He waited for early morning. He was standing on the bridge, when he heard a man’s voice.

“Who are you?” was all he could ask him. “That doesn't matter right now. What really matters is that you shouldn’t kill yourself, considering you didn’t assassinate him and you had no hand in this.” The man said. “Who the hell are you? How do you know me?” Raunak shouted. “Like I said, that doesn’t matter right now. Calm down. Answer my question.” “I don’t know why I am responsible for his murder. Somehow I get a feeling it’s all because of me.” “How good is your physics?” The man asked. “What? I..I don’t know. I guess it’s pretty bad. What it has to do with all of this?” Raunak was confused.

“Many-worlds Interpretation. Does this term ring any bell to you?” The man asked. “Nope. What does it imply?” “It was coined by a physicist called Hugh Everett in the'50s.” “So?” Raunak was getting irritated. “The idea is, anything that could have happened in our past actually did happen in some other universe. All the alternate decisions and choices you made are still playing themselves out in another world.” The man tried to hint him.” “I don’t get it. What do you want to convey?” Raunak said.

“See, that means, you had got a job of murdering your father, but you followed your ethics and refused the job. But, it was destined to happen. Someone had to kill him. You didn’t do it. Someone else did.” He continued. “If you would not have taken up the Hitman’s job as your profession, you would not have come across Vik, who would not have offered you that job. If you would have completed your studies and obeyed your parents, you would have never got separated from your father.”  Raunak was getting it now. He recalled everything. The man was right.

“See pal, doing harm to any ordinary person or doing harm to your relative is equal in the eyes of God. The punishment one gets for doing either of the two is same. It’s your perception which makes the punishment big or small. If you had not killed the other people in the past, your Dad would have been alive.” The man explained. “Then what do you think I should do?” Raunak was clear this time. “Don’t kill yourself. You have got the chastisement you deserved. It’s time to amend your deeds.” The man finished. Raunak knew what he had to do. He took out his phone. “Hello Police Station? I’m Raunak Sharma. I’ve killed 9 people in the past of which you possess the files but are still searching for the murderer…”

As soon as he finished, he turned back to the man. He could see no one. The man had vanished. At least that’s what he assumed.

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