They were known naah infamous as the Devil’s Troika.
Troika, because there were three of them_ Ritesh, Inder, and Tanishq.
And Devils because…?
Well, that was a particular epithet handed over to them by all those whose lives these three highly enterprising young men of a certain lineage touched.
Touched, did I say? Well, pardon my euphemism.
Let me give way and and hand over the rostrum to my boys, my ‘heroes’, the main protagonists of this highly enterprising story.
Over to Lead One Ritesh.
Hi there! Let me introduce myself. I am Ritesh aka Ritz. Pushing my twenties, when not chasing anyone that moves in a skirt, the shorter the better, I can be found cruising the west coast, hitting the gambling dens, or burning rubber on the F1 race tracks around the world.
That’s quite a start, isn’t it? Well, that’s me_a fast guy with faster fingers, around the trigger, and wherever else the itch takes me to. Surprised! Shocked! Repulsed! Flabbergasted! Or, was that a jaw dropping WOW! Perhaps, even a whiff of jealousy!?
Guess, it depends on what side of the decade you were born!
GenZers would understand me! After all, what is it they say…birds of the same feather…
Well, what more do you expect a 22 year old guy with golden locks, a perfect V shaped torso, and whole sole heir to a stinking rich millionnaire stepfather (now, happily dead) to boot do other than live life kingsize!
Another rich, amoral kid rolling in the hay, high on his father’s money! Was that what you just thought of me, all ye oldies!?
Well who am I to come in the way. The reader, you, is the king, the one who decides what is right and what is wrong, right?
So, I, I step aside, bow down to your will, and in abeyance and obeisance, make room for the next character of this story.
Hi, there! This is Inder. Same age as Ritz, his brother from another mother. And, yes, you guessed it right. I am poor, and live off Ritz’s money. No surprises there, right! Well, there’s a slight correction, though. I USED TO LIVE OFF RITZ’S MONEY BUT NO LONGER DO SO. I AM RICH TOO, MILLIONNARE RICH! Ever since…
Well, wasn’t even a year ago. Try being born to a beggar couple, both blind to boot, and try living on the streets and off the streets, starting age five.
Yes, age five! At an age when babies outgrow their milk sucking days, and fall in live with myriad toys and tingle their taste buds with the joys of honey sprinkled coconut flavoured choco chips and savour the mouth watering delights of chicken tikka kebab and pepperoni paneer pista and pastas, I was mastering survival techniques, fighting, battling, surviving older, menacing men (women, too!) with dirty bodies, and dirtier hands. Was learning what it takes to keep body and soul together! What it takes to earn a living, an unlawful living bit of course.
Learning, learning, and relearning the rules, and even making some new rules_all vital to ensure bare minimum food and clothing for yours try and also those two very pure but grossly unlucky souls who brought me into this world.
And then one fine summer morning lie took an unimaginable U-turn when…
I am Tanishq, born to middle class parents, wedded to middle class values. Middle classiness defines me. Same age as the other two, I realised pretty early in this searing reality that with my average looks, average Indian height, and blessed with average intelligence, I wouldn’t stay in the same station in life as all other average brethren, my life’s trajectory taking me through the rigmarole of bagging a clerical job in some bank or the other, a regular marriage, a small house, perhaps, and the mandatory two kids.
All this, as if preordained was what I had resigned myself to until I fair haired, fair skinned boy sidled upto me one fine summer morning during our first day at kindergarten. Meeting Ritz changed the course of my life and set me up for the big stage. It would only be a decade and half later that I would realise the full import of who I had befriended, and what it meant to live life on the fast lane.