Hello Darkness, My Ole Friend

Hello Darkness, My Ole Friend

Photo by Ahmad Odeh on Unsplash

Kamal Singh Deo was born into an aristocratic family but had lost the bulk of his inheritance gambling in the seedy poker dens behind New Market in Calcutta. His day began with Jhontu, his butler, cooking a lavish breakfast consisting of an Irish coffee, a freshly squeezed orange juice, a masala omelette, two slices of buttered sourdough and oodles of crispy bacon.

After breakfast, Kamal would take a long, hot bath and dress in one of his many hand-tailored Brooks Brothers suits. He would then set off to work in an off-white, vintage Mercedes Benz and looked much like a British sahib whilst smoking tobacco from a wooden pipe sitting in the back seat of the chauffeur-driven car.

He had three household staff that lived with him. First was Jhontu, his Man Friday, who was loyal to a tee. Jhontu was bald, had a crooked nose, red-stained teeth because of chewing Pan Masala (Betel Liquid) and a potbelly. His most admirable quality was his thick skin, and no matter how much Kamal abused him, Jhontu was always obedient and respectful.

Next was the maid and Jhontu’s wife, Laila, who cleaned the house. She was an attractive, voluptuous farm girl, and was gentle and loving to one and all.  She had soft features and full breasts that bulged through the fabric of her blouse. From a purely aesthetic perspective, Jhontu and Laila couldn’t have been more mismatched.

On one occasion, five years ago, Kamal found himself alone with Laila. She was dressed in a burgundy-coloured, embroidered sari and was on her knees dusting the sofa. Kamal had been drinking and was turned on by the sight of her naked waist. Laila also sensed the sexual tension and offered to give Kamal a foot massage. It was Jhontu’s job to give Kamal a foot rub after work, but Jhontu had gone to his village to help rebuild his family home after a bad storm had devastated the village.

Before Kamal could say Jack Robinson, Laila hiked up her petticoat, ripped off his boxers and mounted him loudly and unabashedly, without contraception.

A month later, Laila announced her pregnancy to the household, and Kamal was sure the child was his. Jhontu and Laila had been trying to conceive for years without any luck. When the baby was born with a unibrow much like Kamal’s, his fears were confirmed.

‘One more mouth to feed,’ Kamal thought to himself.

The third household employee was Jeet, Kamal’s driver and bodyguard. Jeet would start his day by chugging a gallon of whole milk, fresh from his pet cow’s udder. Jeet was a six-foot tall, hulk of a man with a grey-coloured moustache that curved upwards on both ends. He was from the state of Bihar in the Eastern region of India and spoke in the signature Bihari accent. Jeet had taken an early retirement from the Indian Army for a better salary and more perks.

Jeet and Kamal were more like friends, and Jeet was the one who introduced Kamal to the Brothels of Sonargachi. They would often drive to the brothels after work and sleep with the various prostitutes that Sonargachi had to offer. Kamal had a standing account with Tara Madame, a brothel owner, and the two of them would run up a hefty tab. Recently, the visits were less frequent because both Jeet and Kamal had contracted gonorrhoea while having a ménage à trois with the same prostitute.

Kamal’s wife, Sanaya, had left him. It was two years after their only child was born and Sanaya had found Kamal doing something unforgivable. Ranuji, Sanaya’s mother, had come to visit her grandson, and she loved to drink late into the night. She was an alcoholic with bipolar disorder. Yet even at fifty years old, after birthing two children, she had the figure of a slim-waist teen. She was going through a hypersexual phase at the time which is common in many bipolar women.

Kamal, who also liked to hit the bottle at night, found a kindred spirit in Ranuji. While Sanaya slept, the two of them would drink and gossip about Calcutta high society. One thing led to another and before they knew it, they were having a torrid affair right under Sanaya’s nose.

In fact, Sanaya would never have caught Kamal except for the fact that one night he was so drunk that after sex, he passed out naked in Ranuji’s bed. The next morning, when Sanaya found them like that, Kamal showed no remorse. Sanaya cried, screamed and threatened to leave. Kamal welcomed the idea of a divorce. He wanted to lead the single man’s life without any responsibility.

Four years later, Sanaya was found hanging from the fan in her bedroom while their six-year-old son slept on the bed. It was no surprise that after the cremation ceremony, Kamal immediately sent his son to a boarding school faraway in the town of Mussoorie. He had no intention of taking care of a child.

The only reason Kamal’s lavish way of life survived was because he was receiving rental income from a building that he inherited in the affluent Park Street area. He would receive one million rupees a month as rent out of which the interest on his debt was seven hundred and fifty thousand rupees. With the balance of two hundred and fifty thousand rupees, he was barely able to run the house, pay for his extravagant lifestyle and his son’s education. He was relieved that he did not have to make alimony payments anymore.

One evening after returning from a satisfying romp in Tara Madame’s brothel, Jhontu brought a letter to Kamal which had come by registered post. Kamal opened the letter nervously, and after reading it, he let out an angry scream.

Apparently, the tenant that was renting Kamal’s Park Street property had sold his company, Sood and Sons, to the Jhunjhunwalas, an affluent business family with roots in the Marwar region of Rajasthan. Prakash Jhunjhunwala, the head of the family, was a cutthroat businessman, and it was said in the business circles that he would sell his own mother, if the price was right. The letter drafted by Prakash’s lawyer stated that Kamal had violated the rent control act by taking a five percent hike in rent every year instead of every three years. The lawyer had filed a lawsuit in High Court and had further stated that because of Covid, rent rates had fallen. He stipulated a fair rent would now be one hundred thousand rupees per month instead of one million rupees.

To make matters worse, the letter also stated that they would be depositing the fair rent of one hundred thousand rupees to the rent control bureau and not to Kamal’s bank account until the matter was resolved in court. Kamal had a bad feeling that the Jhunjhunwala’s had most of the high court judges on their payroll, and there was no chance of winning this case in court. The first hearing was set six months hence.

In six months, without the rental income, Kamal would be bankrupt and he figured that Prakash Jhunjhunwala knew this. Kamal’s financial condition was well known in Calcutta circles, and with a little digging, Prakash could have easily found out Kamal’s state of affairs.

Kamal felt like a lion that had ventured out of his territory and was surrounded by a pack of hyenas. The hyenas were attacking the lion from all sides. In the wild, when this happens, the lion can only hold off the hyenas for a limited amount of time before he tires and succumbs.

Suddenly out of the blue, Kamal’s elder brother, Ranveer Singh Deo, called and Kamal sighed with relief at the interruption. Ranveer was nothing like Kamal; he had strong family values and was a stickler for doing the right thing. He knew that Kamal was a lost soul and took the onus on himself to protect his little brother. With his share of the inheritance, Ranveer was living a comfortable life but had little extra money to spare. Talking to Ranveer made Kamal feel that another lion had joined the fight against the hyenas and the odds had now changed.

After hearing Kamal’s rant about the letter, Ranveer smiled and told Kamal to relax and take a deep breath.

“I knew this would happen to you, mere bhai (my brother). So, Dad and I decided long ago to save a ‘get out of jail card,’ when you finally went bankrupt. It’s not a lot of money, but it will keep you going for a while,” said Ranveer gently.

“Seriously, was it that obvious that I would go bankrupt?” responded Kamal, pretending to be hurt by Ranveer’s statement.

“I was told only to share this information when you fall into such a deep hole that selling this asset is the only way out. Let me warn you, this is absolutely the final thing that comes your way from the Singh Deo family,” Ranveer said firmly.

“Yes, meri jaan(my life), tell me what it is and how much it’s worth?” Kamal asked excitedly.

“There is a Jamini Roy painting in your share of the inheritance. I recently got it valued by Sotheby’s. You will get ten million rupees after Sotheby’s takes their cut and you pay taxes,” said Ranveer.

“Well, that will keep my household afloat for nine, maybe ten months, after paying the High Court lawyer fees. I was hoping you’d offer me something more substantial, but I guess this will have to do. At least, it gives me some time to sort this mess out,” said Kamal, appearing calmer than he was.

Kamal sold the Jamini Roy painting, and it took two months for the proceeds to be transferred into his account. During the interim period, he had borrowed two million rupees from Ranveer, and he paid this back immediately. He was now left with eight million rupees. The next logical move was to hire the best available lawyer and fight the case against the Jhunjhunwala’s in the High Court. Yet, a voice inside Kamal’s head held him back from doing this, and he decided to wait for some more time.

‘In a street brawl with a bully twice your size, you don’t explain to the bully the benefits of non-violence and how you can become best friends in the future. Instead, your best bet is to get down on your knees and punch the bully repeatedly in the balls until every chance of him fathering another bully is taken away from him.’ These were the thoughts that ran through Kamal’s mind while drinking a single-malt scotch whiskey that evening.

Later that night, as Kamal downed his fifth glass of Scotch, he realised he had been so preoccupied with selling the painting that he hadn’t taken advice from Jeet about his situation. Jeet, of course, knew about the letter, but they hadn’t discussed it at length.

Jeet was a problem solver and a shrewd thinker. He had spent some time undercover in Kashmir and was well-versed in covert operations. He was also networked in the city and kept his eyes and years to the ground. Kamal suddenly became enthusiastic about Jeet’s take on the whole situation and decided to wake him up and have a talk.

Jeet was sleeping in the outhouse by the garden. With whiskey glass in one hand and the Glenmorangie bottle in the other, Kamal walked to the outhouse and knocked loudly on the wooden door. Jeet sprang out of bed like a jack-in-the-box and opened the door with a worried expression on his face.

“Is everything okay, boss?”

“Yes, Jeet. Join me for a drink.”

“Hmmmm, okay boss. Give me five minutes and I’ll meet you inside.”

Jeet washed off the sleep from his eyes and joined Kamal in the living room of the main house. Kamal poured Jeet a stiff whiskey shot on the rocks, and they sat down to talk.

“Boss, remember when you told me you had that nightmare the other day. The one where you had gone to this horrible hell-like place after dying, and the devil was wielding the whip on you. You woke up with red scratch marks all over your back and legs. You felt that because of the horrible things you’ve done in this life, the universe is going to punish you when you die,” said Jeet impulsively.

“Yes, I’ve always felt that, and yet I’ve been unable to change my ways. Every time I try to do a good thing, temptation gets the better of me. I’ve even started praying every morning to whatever higher power there is out there.”

“That’s good, boss.”

“Lately, I’ve also been thinking a lot about my son. If I can get out of this financial mess, I’m going to take him out of boarding school and be a good father to him.”

“The boy does need a stable parent, boss. But let me tell you something, your instincts about the afterlife are completely wrong. We live in a deterministic universe. Your actions, good or bad, are because of previous causes that happened, probably in a past life. Nothing in this universe happens by accident. Everything that happens is an effect of a previous causal action. The universe is like a magnificent supercomputer which stores all the information of our past deeds and misdeeds. It then processes that information and dictates our present actions. There is no such thing as free will.”

“So, what you are saying is that the reason I cheated on my wife or haven’t been a good Dad is because these similar things were done to me in a previous life and this is the universe balancing things out.”

“Yes, we have karma with a lot of souls in our lives. Your actions towards each one of them are the effects of past causes. So, Kamal, you’re not a bad person. You’re not even important enough to be a bad person. There is no such thing as good or bad – there is just cause and effect. You’re simply an actor playing out the effects of your past causal actions. The script has already been written.”

“Yes, but there is such a thing as right and wrong, there has to be. I know I’ve been a bad person. I feel it in my bones. It burns me from inside, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

“Boss, remember this in order for there to be good or for you to do good in this world, there has to be bad or someone doing bad. Our world is dualistic. For every Mother Teresa in this world, there is a Kim Jong-Un. Our soul has to experience every kind of life before we finally escape the cycles of life and death and cause and effect. In some lives we may be good, in others we may not. That is part of the journey. The goal is to stop creating karma – good or bad. A lot of evolved humans are able to do this by practicing complete detachment. That’s when you attain salvation or ‘moksha,’ where you merge with the divine consciousness and live in eternal bliss.”

“Well, I think I have many more lives to live before I reach that stage. For now, I need you to advise me on what to do about this damn court case. I hope there is a way out for me. I’m too spoiled to survive as a mendicant.”

“Well, I’ve done some investigation. You’re not going to believe your ears when I tell you this, boss.” Jeet paused for effect after making this statement.

“Don’t keep me in suspense, man!” exclaimed Kamal.

“Prakash Jhunjhunwala was in love with Sanaya. They were having an affair for many years. It was going on even when you were married to her. The bottom line is he blames you for her suicide and wants to see you rot in hell.”

“Wow, I always felt Sanaya was hiding something, but I never imagined she was cheating. In a way that makes me feel a little better about stepping out on our marriage.”

“So, I’m the one who set up Sanaya with her psychiatrist, Dr. Naina Ghosh. Naina’s a friend and we spoke recently, off the record. Naina said your wife was bipolar like her mum, and she refused medication. She killed herself on the day that Prakash told her that he would never leave his wife, and they had to carry on their affair in secret or not at all.”

“What an A-class prick this Prakash is! First he pushes Sanaya off the edge, and now he’s blaming me for his fuck-ups. We’ve got to put this asshole in his place once and for all.”

“Prakash is too rich and powerful. He is virtually untouchable. Give me some time and let me see if I can find a way.”

They talked for a short while longer and went to bed.

The next day Jeet got to work. He was friends with a private investigator, Pappu Bhai, who specialized in extorting information by any means necessary. Pappu Bhai only dealt with the social elite of Calcutta and knew most of their secrets. Jeet paid him a hefty sum from Kamal’s leftover money to find dirt on Prakash Jhunjhunwala. Jeet knew he needed something big that would get Prakash Jhunjhunwala to drop the lawsuit once and for all.

After some digging, Pappu Bhai found out that Ms. Nancy Roy, Prakash Jhunjhunwala’s personal assistant, had a gambling addiction. She was in heavy debt and needed money. He arranged a meeting with Ms. Roy and also invited Jeet to the meeting.

They met in the private dining room of Kimfa, a Chinese restaurant in the Chinatown district of Calcutta. It was 10 p.m. and the three of them were thirsty and hungry. They ordered cheap whiskey, chow mein and an assortment of chicken and shrimp. After dinner and a few drinks, their tongues loosened up and they began chatting like they were old friends.

 “So, Nancy, how long have you been a personal assistant to Mr. Jhunjhunwala?” asked Pappu Bhai steering the conversation towards the business they came for.

“Thirty-one years! Thirty-one long fucking years! I know everything about the man. He can’t take a shit without me knowing its consistency. I even slept with him in the early 2000s, when I was still young and pretty. Now that I’m old and fat, he doesn’t even look at me. I’m just his underpaid, personal slave,” ranted Nancy bitterly.

“Listen, Nancy, you know why you’re here, right?” asked Jeet, getting down to brass tacks.

“I have some idea,”

“Why are you here, Nancy?” Jeet repeated pointedly.

“I’m here for some kind of quid pro quo. I give you information and you pay off my gambling debts,” responded Nancy fearlessly. While saying this, she looked Jeet straight in the eyes.

Jeet could immediately sense that Nancy bore a venomous hatred for Prakash Jhunjhunwala, and she was here as much for revenge as she was for the money. Prakash had treated Nancy horribly over the years and this was payback.

 “Yes, Nancy, but I need information that can bring Mr. Jhunjhunwala down. Something that will make him grovel at my feet, something big, something bad, something that is unforgivable, something where the police will lock him up and throw away the key. An extramarital affair, tax evasion or a little money laundering won’t do. He’s too powerful, and with Calcutta’s legal system, he will get away scot-free,” Jeet explained.

 “My gambling debt is two and a half million rupees. Transfer that to my bank account now, and I will give you what you need. What I give you can put him in the damn electric chair.”

“Fine, consider it done,” said Jeet.

Jeet phoned Kamal and the transfer to Nancy’s account was made within thirty minutes. A short while later, a text message confirming the transfer pinged on Nancy’s phone.

“All right, Nancy, You’ve got your money. Now your turn,” Pappu Bhai said in a business-like manner.

“Okay, brace yourselves for this, boys. Three of the women who are registered in Calcutta’s missing person’s directory were Prakash Jhunjhunwala’s lovers. Prakash is a bondage freak and likes to document his sexual encounters. He not only ties up women but tortures them as well. That’s the only way he can get it up without Viagra. He never does it with high society women, though, so this is still a well-kept secret. Most of his targets are hookers or low-grade models. He went too far with the torture, three times in his life, killing two prostitutes and one small-time Tollywood actress. He got lucky because the cops didn’t investigate too much into the disappearance of the prostitutes – considering they were prostitutes. The detective in charge wrote in his report that they probably ran away to make a new life for themselves.” Nancy was talking so quickly that she had to pause to take a breath.

“And the Tollywood actress?” asked Jeet, completely immersed in the story.

“The Tollywood actress was an orphan, and her extended family went to the police a few times, but they gave up after a year or so. Then Prakash, that lazy bastard, made the novice mistake of asking me to delete his hard drive, sometime after the third murder. The hard drive contained videos of him torturing and killing these three girls,” explained Nancy with anger in her eyes.

“Please tell me you made copies of the videos,” interrupted Pappu Bhai.

“Yes, I managed to make copies of two out of the three videos and have them on a drive at my place. I will give you the drive today, but you must wait a couple of days before you make your move. I’ve met someone, and we are planning to run away to an undisclosed location and retire there. Our flight is day after tomorrow,” said Nancy in a tired voice. She had been carrying this burden for too long.

Pappu Bhai and Jeet realized that Nancy was not planning to pay off her gambling debts. She was going to take the two and a half million rupees and run away to some exotic location, never to return.

The three of them left the restaurant and drove to Nancy’s home. Nancy gave them the hard drive, and after confirming its contents, Pappu Bhai and Jeet drove back to Kamal’s place and updated him on the events of that night.

“You two have done a brilliant job. You’ve given me exactly what I need to get out of this mess. Here’s what we’re going to do. We are going to take these videos to the cops and get Prakash arrested. We owe that to the three girls he has killed, and we have to stop this from ever happening again. I’ve already spoken to a lawyer about this, if Prakash is ever in jail for murder, the lawyer will get us an order from a known judge allowing us to repossess the Park Street property. Our agreement with the tenant clearly states that if any of the Board of Directors of the lessee company has been arrested on a murder charge, they must vacate the property within seven days of the lessor giving them written notice. My father put this clause in every lease agreement he signed, but this is the first time it’s ever going to be enforced,” said Kamal with a sparkle in his eyes.

“Yes, boss, but an empty building does not solve your financial issues,” Jeet reminded Kamal, still looking a little worried.

“Did I forget to mention that the Indian Tobacco Company has made an offer for the space at one and a half million rupees per month? They are the only ones who can afford that kind of rent. And I know I will be renting to a company that sells cancer sticks, but I weighed the pros and cons and I need my bloody livelihood back. If I don’t rent to them, some other unscrupulous person will, and to be honest, I’d rather not get my legs broken by my creditors,” Kamal responded, sounding relieved at this turn of events.

A couple of days later, after Ms. Nancy Roy had safely boarded her flight, Kamal invited the Chief of Police, Rajada, over to the house to watch the murder videos. Rajada was aghast at what he saw and agreed to arrest Prakash Jhunjhunwala that same day. Kamal handed Rajada a copy of the videos and Rajada thanked Kamal and left.

Twenty minutes after the Police Chief had left, the doorbell rang, and since Kamal happened to be in the living room, he opened the door. Prakash Jhunjhunwala stood at the door holding a .45 Smith & Wesson Schofield revolver, pointed straight at Kamal’s chest.

“This is for hurting my Sanaya for so many years, for all the cheating, for all the harassment, for all the hatred. May you rot in hell, you filthy animal!” said Prakash in a hoarse whisper, sounding like a possessed man.

“I’m not scared of you...” As Kamal uttered these words, Prakash fired the first shot hitting Kamal point-blank in the chest. Mumbling incoherently, Prakash fired two more shots, one in Kamal’s face and one in his abdomen. Jeet heard the gunfire and came running to the front door, carrying his own gun. He aimed and shot Prakash in his back and side numerous times. Both Kamal and Prakash were killed instantly.

As Kamal’s soul left his body, it flew into space and entered a portal into a different plane of existence. Kamal looked exactly like himself in this new world, except he was not flesh and blood. He was a walking, talking hologram. There were many other holographic souls around, having one-on-one conversations with many identical looking men. The men were thin, tall, with white, pointy beards, wisdom lines on their face and long tresses of grey hair. They were all dressed in shiny white robes. Kamal automatically came to a resting point opposite one of these men. The man seemed to be sitting idle, waiting for Kamal.

“Hi, Kamal, I am your spirit guide. You must listen carefully to what I have to say. I am going to explain our universe to you,” said the guide in a deep but gentle voice.

“Where the hell am I?” asked Kamal confused.

“According to the scientist, Hugh Everett, we live in a universe of many worlds. Every time atoms collide with each other, the universe branches out into many different, simultaneously existing worlds. It’s only when we observe an atom colliding with another atom our consciousness allows us to see one outcome of the collision. Let me explain this in a simpler way. If you toss a coin and it lands on heads, there is another world where it lands on tails and another world where it lands and settles on its edge, providing no result. These three outcomes of the coin toss exist simultaneously, and it’s only when we observe the outcome of the coin toss, the universe chooses one of the three results based on determinism (cause and effect). Remember, there are even many outcomes of every possible event that happens in our lives, and even Quantum Physics (Schrödinger equation) supports this theory,” the Guide explained slowly so Kamal could hang onto his every word.

“Okay, go on,” Kamal responded, trying to make sense of what the Guide was saying.

“I know you’re confused, son, because earthly consciousness makes you believe that you live one life with one point of consciousness and with the free will to make choices. Not only do you have many lives, but also in one particular life you have many different outcomes or paths. There exists a world where you did not cheat on your wife. Instead, you loved and cherished her, and you both led a long, happy life together. The Universe is so vast that all your lives and all possible outcomes of each life you’ve ever had and ever will have already exist, and they lie in a suspended state in your super consciousness. What I’m going to say next will change your understanding of the self and the universe, so listen carefully,” said the Guide.

“The concept of time is most important. Time is a vertical line in our super consciousness. Every life – past, present and future – and every event and outcome of these lives already exist in our higher consciousness on a vertical line at a fixed point in time. The vertical line lies on a graph where the x-axis is time and the y-axis is every life that we will ever live (past, present and future). That superconscious state where everything already exists is the reality. Our consciousness in this current life is the illusion. When we die, our soul, with the help of our spirit guides and other souls in our soul packet, chooses a point on that vertical line in order for us to experience a human life. This life could be in the past, present or future as compared to the life we just left. This new life could also be a repeated attempt at a life we experienced before where we choose a different set of paths as explained by Everett's theory of many worlds. When we choose a point on that vertical line, our consciousness gets frozen on that point, and we get born into that life. Time then becomes horizontal, and we experience a sequential set of events chosen by our soul based on our karmic journey. For every soul that chooses a point on that vertical line, their journey will be different. Some will be rich, some will be poor, some will be Hollywood stars, others will be mendicants, some will do good, others will do bad things, some will be born looking like Greek Gods, others may be handicapped – all based on cause and effect (karma).” The Guide paused waiting for Kamal to digest the information. Kamal nodded and the Guide carried on.

“Your human consciousness seems to be your everything. It’s your identity, it’s your pathway into a future event and outcome, but remember it’s also an illusion. It’s not real. In fact, reality happens in between lives. When you are living a particular set of sequential events in your current life, that’s not real, that’s the Maya, that’s the illusion,” explained the Guide to Kamal who was still slightly confused.

“I’m going to explain it again. After death, when we pick another life or another series of paths in a life we’ve lived before, we are converting time into a linear concept. All your past, present and future lives lie on a vertical line at the same point in time. When we die and choose a point on that vertical line, our consciousness is frozen at that point for that life, and time appears to be a horizontal line in order for a series of sequential events (that your soul has chosen) to be played out. In reality, your soul lives in a superconscious state, and all the outcomes of all your lives lie suspended on a vertical timeline in your higher consciousness,” said the spiritual guide imparting his divine wisdom onto Kamal.

“It sounds so crazy and makes so much sense at the same time,” responded Kamal intrigued.

“Once you experience all your lives – some lives where you are good and some lives where you are bad, some lives where you are ugly and some lives where you are beautiful, some lives where you are rich and some lives where you are poor, some lives where you are physically abled and some lives where you are physically disabled – you reach a point in your karmic evolution where you escape the cycle of cause and effect. You have no more karmic debt, positive or negative. That’s when you escape the cycle of life and death, and you merge with the divine consciousness and live in an eternal state of bliss.”

“I think I understand, but what now for me? Where do I go from here?” asked Kamal.

“In your next foray into human consciousness, you will be Kamal once again, but this time you will make different choices and be a good husband and a good father. Your karma of being an asswipe is over now. You’re going to do this life over again, and you’re going to choose a different set of paths. You’re going to give Sanaya the life and family she deserves. The purpose of Kamal 2.0 is to make amends with your family and friends, and to be a kind, empathetic human. You need to accumulate good karma, my child. Bon voyage...”

It was the year 2007. Kamal woke up at 8 a.m., excitedly. He was a young and healthy twenty-one-year-old kid who had just graduated University a month ago. He had majored in Architecture, and his dad had allotted him 10,000 square feet of land in the Salt Lake district to develop an eco-friendly housing project for nonresident Indians. The doorbell rang as he was about to step into the shower.

He opened the door to find a gorgeous, red-headed Kashmiri girl with long legs and a full-bodied frame. The parts of her face weren’t individually beautiful. Her nose was too long, her teeth were slightly crooked and both her green eyes were slightly different in size, but when you put it all together, man, she was pretty!!!

“Hi, I’m Sanaya and I just moved in next door...”

About the Author

Kabir Mansata

Kabir is a theatre artist with a passion for storytelling.

Read more work by Kabir Mansata.