This is the story of Subramaniam aka Subbu, a devout Hindu. His wife is Mrs. Subramaniam. More than being a Hindu, he is a superstitionist. If everybody has superstitions in life, his life is built around superstitions. He has a superstition for every conceivable aspect of life. His knowledge of superstitions encompassed all religions and civilizations.
His strong belief in superstitions came from the fact that his father was a rationalist who consistently defied superstitions. A young Subbu had seen his father suffering huge losses in business. Young Subbu attributed this to him being rational. The truth was his father had made some bad business decisions. His wife was an antidote for his superstition. However, she could not match Subbu’s passion for superstitions.
After a lot of struggle, Subbu had reached a respectable position in life. He was the converse of what his father was except when it came to literature. He loved to read books and also wrote a lot. Other than superstitions, he strongly believed that individuals should be trim. His parameter of fitness was an old book shelf belonging to his father. As a kid he could completely hid behind the book shelf; now in his middle age he wanted it to be visible when he stands in front of it. To achieve this, he worked out regularly. During his academic days, he had excelled in athletics especially in Javelin and Discuss throw. Other than that, Subbu was like any other average Indian male. Though his wife was beautiful, he could not stop ogling at other females. His present favorite was Kajal Shetty, the actress.
Subbu wrote a lot especially propagating the importance of superstitions. He had his own blog page and one of the humourus short stories he wrote was titled `Fall of a Rationalist’. It was all about how events of a day change a rationalist to a superstitionst. This was his most popular blog till date inviting a lot of ridicule from rationalists. However, this story impressed a publisher who himself was the epitome of superstition. The publisher also wanted to exploit the controversial publicity that the blog had received.
The publisher wanted to meet Subbu and had fixed 11am on Sunday on 9th of the month. The timing and date on which he had fixed added up to 9. Subbu was highly impressed and agreed to land at the perfect timing. The previous night Subbu had planned his movement to the resort. As suggested by his trusted astrological website, he decided to wear an orange color shirt and a blue pant. Before going to sleep, he set his alarm to 07:02:09 hours.
He woke up at the first ring. The first thing he wanted to see was God’s photo, so he closed his eyes and walked towards the pooja room but skid on the plastic cover and instead crashed against the living room window. He opened his eyes to check what had happened and through the window saw Sweety the street dog standing in all her glory and as usual flanked by a couple of male dogs. Subbu, with a red nose and in despair shouted `bloody dog’. His wife who was a dog lover shot back `This is what happens if you try to follow any faith blindly. For your information, Sweety is the heart beat of all the male dogs in this area and she is not like your Kajal Shetty who is propped up by plastic’. He prayed to God and had a cup of coffee. He went to have a bath and by mistake opened only the hot water outlet in the shower and screamed out ‘aaaaaaaaah’ His wife sniped back `this is what will happen if you start dreaming of a date with Kajal Shetty even before your book is accepted for publication’.
One of the lucky colors told on the website was white, so he decided to have idlis with coconut chutney in a white plate and since the table was brown, he covered it with a white cloth. As he stepped out of the house, he sees a cat crossing his path and whines but remembers his father’s words `The cat is confident that despite seeing you it will get its food. Now it is your turn to show the same courage’. Hesitantly, Subbu stepped forward and took out his car. Since he had enough of mishaps already, he decided that he would not see his inauspicious faced relative, Mr. Mani. So he drove in the opposite direction though it meant an additional 5 kilometers to touch the ring road.
The series of inauspicious omens had put off Subbu but he remembered that this particular publisher never meet a budding writer unless he wants to publish him. He decided to drive towards the target no matter what bad omen came across and entered the ring road.
This ring road was out of the world. A major portion of one side of the road was under control of the army. Their campus had a lot of trees, a picturesque golf course and an enchanting lake. On the other side was a reserve forest which the land sharks were yet to lay their hands upon. It was a sort of road on which you switch of the car a/c; get down the window panes, put on the music and drive soaking in the atmosphere around you.
The road led to the famous `Green Hills’ and NH 756. Subbu was to meet this publisher at a resort just off the road after `Green Hills’. It was just about 10:00 am and only a distance of 10 kilometers had to be covered, so Subbu was taking it easy and gliding along when all of a sudden one after another two SUVs went past him from the right side dangerously close to his vehicle. He turned his steering wheel sharply towards the left in an attempt to avoid hitting the second SUV, lost his balance and hit kerb of the road damaging his vehicle. His attempts to call a tow away vehicle proved futile as mobile signals were not available.
It was already 10:15 and Subbu was getting desperate. Vehicles were fizzing past him but none stopped. Like a ray of hope, a school bus came trundling along. It was an unusual school bus on a trip because the windows were shut from inside and the students did not make any noise. On top of it was a shabbily fixed DTH antenna. Before he could wave his hand, the vehicle stopped a few yards before from him and a bearded, short and lame guy came towards him. He asked Subbu direction to `Green Hills’. A brilliant idea stuck Subbu, he said `I will show you the way, only if you agree to take me along’. The guy went back to the bus spoke to another guy in a strange language and beckoned to Subbu to get in. Subbu happily locked his car and ran towards the bus. At a fair distance was a tv channel SUV stationed.
As soon as he got in, the doors were shut with a thud. The children and three beautiful teachers were looking like frozen food. Subbu had a look at the rear side of the bus where he saw two guys, hands and legs tied. He turned to the guy who let him in and asked `what is this all about?’. The guy laughed menacingly and said `We are Always Fayada terrorists, we have hijacked the bus and now you too are our hostage’ Subbu grinning nervously looked at the TV and breaking news on `End TV’ channel was `School Bus hijacked bus, heading towards Green Hills’. `END TV’ even showed live visuals of the probable spot where the bus would head to. The spot was carefully chosen with a difficult to motor road and a suicide point behind it. Subbu then remembered it was this channel’s vehicles that had overtaken him hurriedly and caused the accident. What baffled him was how a channel could guess where a terrorist vehicle was headed to.
There were three terrorists and all three had an AK 56 in their possession. The first was at the door with an AK56 in one hand and TV remote in the other (As of now he was only using the hand with TV remote in it). The second one was busy rendering prayers (Subbu wondered why he was saying his prayers when his hostages had to be doing it). The third was looking at the beautiful teachers through the rear mirror or turning his head and looking at them and in midst of all this, he was driving the vehicle. These guys were thrilled at the coverage their cowardice act was getting. They were jumping with joy every time their photos were flashed on various TV Channels. To Subbu, they looked like characters from a poorly made reality show in the neighbouring country rather than menacing terrorists.
Then something bizzard happened, the channel `News Now and Then’ played a video of Subbu running and getting into the bus. They termed him also to be a part of terrorist gang. Next, `Husband & Wife News’ had traced his house and playing it out. The worst came on `Timed Out’ news channel, when its theatric chief news anchor, thrust a mike in front of Subbu’s wife and asked her `The nation wants to know, why your husband, grandson of a freedom fighter, would do such a heinous and humongous act of joining the ALWAYS FAYADA terrorists.’ Even before she could reply, the host shouted her down by saying `Mrs. Subbu, you can say 1000 things but the truth is, when it comes to terrorism, your husband is a terrorist unless and until he is proved innocent, which according to our sources is unlikely’. Mrs. Subbu was left wondering why all men were not like her husband who always allowed her to have the first and last say. The `Headless Everday’ news anchor got on Subbu’s mobile and gave him a mouthful.
The coverage Subbu got did not please the terrorists. The first one threatened to kill Subbu but the second one desisted him on the grounds that they had not yet reached their planned destination and susceptible to attack by Commandos if Subbu was killed.
No sooner did the bus reach its destination, a swarm of TV cameras with correspondents propped up from nowhere but there was no sight of the police. The terrorists made the children kneel down at one end; the three teachers on a raised platform and Subbu with his back towards the suicide point. They were very rough with Subbu beating him with the butt of their guns. These pictures were telecast live and finally, the nation came to know that Subbu was not a terrorist but an innocent guy who unwittingly got onto the bus. Mrs. Subbu was crying at the way her husband was being treated. She told to her neighbours, who by now had become sympathetic to Subbu, `even I don’t beat him so badly’
The terrorists beckoned one of the correspondents and announced that `We want three of our associates jailed in India to be released, a billion dollars in cash and an aircraft to fly to our land’ The third butted in and said `I want to take these three teachers along with me’. The other two terrorists shouted him down by saying it was not part of their religion to steal woman who used artificial aids to look beautiful. Subbu wanted to ask them if it was permissible in their religion to kidnap a woman who did not use artificial aids to look beautiful. However, taking into account his own welfare he kept quiet.
The Government was in no hurry to take an immediate decision and still deliberating how to negotiate with the terrorists. Meanwhile, the cops with the Commandos arrived. Subbu’s appointment time was gone. The publisher who had seen Subbu’s fate, called him on his mobile and said `All the best, don’t worry if you become a martyr, the book will become the best seller India has ever seen’.
Meanwhile, it was getting to evening. The children were getting restless. The third terrorist was getting over flirty with the three teachers. The Government which was under attack from its rival party for being soft with terrorists decided not to agree to any of their demands. The TV channels announced it to the terrorists. The three terrorists got into a huddle. First they thought of killing Subbu, but later decided against it because he would end up getting more publicity than them. The first one suggested killing a kid but the second terrorist who was always praying ruled that god would punish them when they appear before him for justice. The third broke out and announced that he is going to rape one of the teachers in front of the TV cameras to teach the Government a lesson. He dragged a teacher to middle of the raised platform and started molesting her. The patriot in Subbu was awoken and he took a log nearby, aimed the back of terrorist’s skull and threw it with all his might. The log landed bang on target and the terrorist collapsed instantly. The second one enraged by this, instead of shooting down Subbu, started chasing him with the log in his hand. Subbu ran towards the drop point and realised that the ground was very slippery. At the right time, he changed tracks. The terrorist madly ran in the original direction of Subbu’s path, skid and fell down the valley. The first was overpowered by the school kids. Soon everybody was liberated and Subbu became an instant hero. Timed Out channel played its headlines `Unlikely entry, Timely Bravery’.
On being questioned by the TV channels, Subbu related his story how he had a lot of bad omens on that day and still he met with success. He confessed before TV that he would never believe in superstitions. As a result, the original publisher backed out because he could never support rationalism. However, film maker Damu announced his plans to make a movie on this incident. To be realistic, he would cast Subbu as the hero; Kajal Shetty, being the latest romantic interest of Damu, would play Subbu’s wife and the three teachers would play their roles. Subbu was so happy that he was laughing till his wife shook him violently. He woke up to see his wife standing with a cup of coffee in her hand. The dream had ended.
The alarm rang 7:02:09. Subsequently, the sequence of bad omens happened in the same order as in the dream. Subbu did not mind taking on terrorist in real life, given how the dream ended. He was driving down the ring road and in the far horizon could see two SUVs hurtling down the road at monstrous speeds. He was still a superstitionst but one who saw something good will happen at the end of all the bad omens.