Title: Self Reflection in Four Parts
Ratings: PG for some implied violence and death.
Summary: Where there is life there will always be death. A series of vignettes from four Bollywood movies. Notes: The vignettes are from the movies Kal Ho Na Ho, Ek Haseena Thi, Khakee, and Dil Se.
Taking a deep breath of the crisp winter air, Naina stared into the evening sky. The hues of dusk were painting the world around her; night came early during these short days in New York. Soft blue and luminous gold painted the horizon, casting the shadows of leafless trees beside her. Wrapping her coat a little tighter around the collar, she blew out her breath slowly, watching as it condensed in front of her. It disappeared after barely a second. Such was the way of things. Fleeting. But that didn't make her warm breath any less real. The rest of her family was inside, relaxing after their Christmas dinner. Ria was revelling in the glow of her father and aunt's love, elaborating on the many wonderful things she had received for Christmas. Naina had stepped outside for just a moment, to think about the past. Her talk with her sister had brought back so many memories. Memories she held close to her heart.
She still missed him. It had been so many years but she still missed him. It didn't take much to bring him back to her; a rose, the sound of rushing water, looking into her mother's eyes... his memory coloured her life. She saw him everywhere. He was everywhere, looking over her and her family with his love and that infectious smile of his. Love that he had bestowed upon her, love that lasted longer than a lifetime.
An arm suddenly wrapped around her shoulder. She turned and smiled, placing a kiss on Rohit's cheek.
"Thinking?" he asked. Naina nodded an affirmative.
"I think about him too." he replied, staring into the distance. He turned back to Naina. "Come back inside, Ria is parading around in the dress we bought her and wants to show you."
"Alright." Naina said, and they walked back the house together. The wind blew a sweet breeze as they walked, promising years of happiness and the unconditional love of a friend.
Sarika stepped out of her rented car and stared up at the cliffs. They were just as steep and impressive as the old man had described. Impassive walls of grey surrounded her on all sides, topped with bright green grass hardy enough to brave growth in this isolated place. The climb was long and torturous, but nothing that Sarika couldn't handle.
Picking her way among stones and dust, she trekked upwards on the brown path that led to the mouth of a dark cave. She walked in, with neither flashlight nor lamp. She knew what to expect. Her requirements had been precise, and if the old man had delivered to her expectations... well, she wasn't afraid of anything anymore. Not of the dark. Not of strangers. Not even-
She heard the squeaking moments after she walked in. It was hard to ignore. Their shrill chirps echoed and surrounded her completely. They were everywhere, hiding in crevices throughout the cave. Rats, backing away from this sudden intruder but not fearful enough to flee the area entirely. Pulling a flashlight out of her purse, Sarika turned it on. At the sudden appearance of light the rats did flee, scurrying off into various nooks and crannies. The cave became strangely subdued as their shrill cries quietened. Taking stock of her surroundings, Sarika realized that her search was over. This was the place. The position of the stalagmites, the rat colony, the profound isolation... this was his place. This would be his final resting place.
"Only a matter of time now, Karan." She whispered to herself. She stood rooted to the spot for a few moments longer, then turned heel and left. It was time to throw her plan into action.
The blood didn't stop flowing. It blossomed brightly and quickly, turning the non-descript kurta from off-white to vibrant red in a matter of minutes. Angre was still breathing, but his breaths were shallow and rapid. His eyes were closed, and his lips were slowly deepening in colour from fleshy pink to a sickly purple. Without a doubt, the man was seconds away from dying.
Aswin felt guilt suddenly well up from deep within his heart but clamped it down and pushed it aside. He couldn't afford guilt right now. Everything was going as planned. This thing in front of him, this creature, this monster that called itself Angre, deserved nothing but death. He was heartless and felt no remorse. He was corrupt and base. There was no redemption for the things he had done. He had killed Shekhar without a second thought, using that devious woman Mahalaxmi to lure the brash man into a trap. And in the end, the monster dying before him had used Mahalaxmi. She had meant nothing to him, had been as disposable as a paper bag. He held no value to human life. And what of the things he had done to the DCP? This creature dying before him was remorseless, and would have no doubt come after the DCP at the very first chance he could. Aswin couldn't take that chance. The DCP was a true and just man. He stood up for truth and good morality. Aswin wouldn't stand aside, wouldn't quit the force and let someone so honest and genuine person die a terrible death. He had a responsibility as a police officer: to protect the law and the lawful.
Aswin stared down at Angre as his breaths slowly stopped. Sometimes protecting what you valued most meant becoming what you hated most.
Preity had felt somewhat relieved that no one had been required to identify the body. The police said that dental records had identified the charred corpse as Amar's. Amar's charred corpse, tightly ensconcing a female charred corpse. Preity's heart beat faster as the horrific image she had built in her mind came back to her. Even lying safe in her bed, under the roof of her parents' house, she no longer found peace. She could see his face, blackened and hollowed, dusty on the ground with the body of Megha at his side, looking equally as disturbing.
The last few weeks had been hell, emotionally and physically. As much as they could, Preity's parents had offered their support to Amar's mother and siblings. But there wasn't much they could do. Debate still raged between Amar's family and police about whether or not Amar had been a terrorist. Preity knew the truth, that Amar had become so entangled with Megha's violent activities that he couldn't break free. It still kept her awake at night, Amar's death. What had happened to him? What thoughts had run through his mind in those precious last moments of his? Preity has been willing to let him go, to let him be with Megha. But that letting him go had led to his death... her mind was wracked with guilt. Had she sent him to his death? What had Megha done to him? What spell had she cast on him to make him want to die in such a way? Maybe if she hadn't let him go, or let him be captured by the police. If she hadn't told him about the conversation she overheard on the phone, he might have been alive right now.
Ah, but that was the irony of it wasn't it? If Amar had lived, perhaps Megha would have succeeded in wrecking havoc on the Independence Day parade. Hundreds might have died. But Amar had met her before it could happen, and was probably a hero despite everything the police said about alleged terrorist activites. He had saved lives without knowing it. His love for Megha had saved lives.
Still, that didn't make his death easier to bear.