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GUNNING FOR LOVE
By Neel Anil Panicker
‘Salaam, Arif Chacha.’
The septuagenarian looked up and peered through the iron bars at the young girl outside.
It took him some time before his cataract ridden eyes adjusted to the dark outside; gradually the silhouette of a burqa clad woman came into vision.
He adjusted his old worn out spectacles and gradually the face turned clearer.
His eyes shot up in recognition.
“Why! You are Liza baby. Allekum Salam. It’s been ages. The last time I saw you were a young child…barely ten or so.”
The blare of passing horns muted the last words.
Liza half turned and shot a glance at the street behind her.
Old Delhi, even at this hour of the night, refused to slow down; tongas, cycle rickshaws, scooters, cars, massive trucks carrying loadfuls of cement, bricks, iron bars and other construction materials whizzed in and out of narrow lanes. The sound of human voices in an array of tongues clashed with a medley of mind numbing sounds, the overall effect not unlike that of a madhouse on fire.
Liza hastily tucked her hands under her burqa; though covered from top to toe she couldn’t afford the risk of being spotted.
This was her father’s area. His people were all around.
If word reached Afzal Guru’s ears that the Don’s daughter was seen here in
Kabootar Wali Galli then her goose was cooked. The Don would roast her alive.
“Arif Chacha, I need a favour”.
The old man’s eyes peered at her. Favour? What possible favour could the Don’s daughter want from him?
“It’s urgent. I need your help”.
It took a moment before the penny dropped.
From behind the iron bars the old man quickly inspected the street behind her.
Though choc-a-bloc with human activity, none were looking over to his small nondescript hole in the wall establishment.
But still this wasn’t the time to take risks, more the guest at his door was the dreaded don’s daughter.
He made a decision. Within seconds a small door square slit opened inwards with space just about enough for a person to squeeze through.
He motioned Liza to enter.
Once inside, he shut the trap door and waited for Liza to adjust herself to the darkness.
“Yes, Liza baby. What’s it that you want? You could have asked for it and I would have personally come and delivered it.”
Tiem was running out. Liza too realized the enormous amount of risks she was taking. Moreover, she didn’t want anyone, least of all Arif Chacha to get into trouble because of her.
Without wasting anymore time, she blurted out, “Chacha. I need some bombs”.
Even in the pitch darkness, she noticed the old man’s expressions had changed.
A look of sheer horror and shock swept through the pockmarked face.
“I need it now. Will you help me, Chacha”?
The old man, though still reeling under shock, thought over her request.
True, he was an arms dealer, an illegal supplier of arms.
For over two centuries his family was in business; a family tradition passed on from one generation to the other.
All manner of people were his clients.
Petty thieves, professional robbers, hardened criminals, even unscrupulous politicians__they all came to him, buying his wares for a price.
It was a business conducted in absolute stealth; a single word, a furtive glance, a quick exchange of goods, a hasty retreating into wilderness.
He looked at the burqa clad girl I front of him and understood.
Without uttering another word, he motioned her inside to a small inner room sans any windows.
“Here, take your pick”.
Lined up from floor to ceiling were machine guns, machetes, swords,, small firearms, and placed in a corner were scores upon scores of bombs, packed in boxes, their tops ripped open.
A maniacal gleam lighted up Liza’s eyes. She bent down and picked a box. It contained six large circular bombs, all bottled green in colour.
She got up and was about to leave when her eyes fell on a row of small pistols.
“Those are of foreign make. Six rounds each. They come with inbuilt silencers.”
Liza picked one and slid it along with the box of bombs inside the inner pockets of her burqa.
“I don’t know what you intend to do with this but I wish you the best, my dear baby.”
In the dark the two looked at one another. Liza knew the old man was taking a tremendous risk by helping the Don’s daughter; a risk that could lead to his death.
“Thank you Arif Chacha. I have looked at you as my own and I shall never forget your benevolence. Khuda Hafiz”.
And then she was gone. As stealthily as she had come, carrying, hidden under her coat, enough arsenal to wreck havoc and free her love.
As she wound her way past the narrow footpaths and sped towards
Sumer Manzil, Liza’s prayed and hoped that her plans for the morrow would come to fruition.
Ali’s words from the previous night spurred her forward, adding a zing to her steps, and filling her lovelorn heart with unbridled passion.
“Everything is fair in love and war, my baby”.
©neelanilpanicker2017#ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2017 #part19ofadangerouslove #fiction #novella #
DEAR READERS/COLLEAGUES/FELLOW WRITERS/FRIENDS
If you would like to read the earlier parts of this ongoing novella ‘A DANGEROUS LOVE’
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