Sabotage

By Nair Akshay (TIIC Railways)

In case you missed out on the first part, read it outhttp://www.enlightenment.ind.in/2019/08/08/sabotage

“You really want to know how I lost my eyes, Saheb?” cried the man. “Well, here it is!”  

His words fell with the bitter and studied drama of a story often told, and told for money probably. “I was there in Exhitbit Insurance, working night shifts. You know it was minutes to midnight when it (MIC) reached our workplace. I was last of all the folks rushing in cabins for shelter. The insides, there was a chance, fairly little. Still some silver lining to save ourselves from what was announced as deadly and unstoppable. A lot of guys made it safe out the door and got covered by whatever they could find. And just when I was about there, crawling along between those big shelves, a guy behind me grabs my leg! He says, ‘Let me pass you’ Maybe he was nuts! I don’t know. I try to forgive him in my heart, Saheb. But I Just can’t!”

“He was bigger than me. He hauled me back and climbed right over! Tramples me onto the floor and gets away, and I lie there with all that poison gas pouring down on all sides of me, I could feel the air heavy, just like I’m underwater, so hard on my nose and mouth. I was panting and my lungs were burning. I felt helpless and close to death. I knew I was going down.” He swallowed a studied sob and stood dumbly expectant. He could imagine the next words: (Tough luck, my man.) “That’s the story, Saheb.”

The winter breeze shrilled past them, damp and quivering.

“Not quite,” said Mr. Singh.

The blind peddler shivered crazily. “Not quite? What do you mean, you got to be joking being that insensitive Saheb, and don’t you get it? I went blin–“

“The story is true, can’t doubt that Das” Mr. Singh said, “except for the fact that it was all the other way around.”

“Other way around!!?” he croaked untameably. “And howwwww’d you know my name?” he asked almost choking.

“Who are you!!!??” He clenched his overcoat collar. “Tell me, Saheb!!!”

“I was in Exhibit Insurance,” said Mr. Singh. “It was the other way around. You were the fellow who hauled back on me, trampled me on the floor and climbed over. You, were bigger than I was, Das.”

The blind man stood for a long time, swallowing hoarsely. He gulped: “Singh. By God. By God! I thought you–”

He screamed fiendishly: “YES. MAYBE SO. MAYBE SO. BUT I’M BLIND! I’M BLIND, AND YOU’VE BEEN STANDING HERE LETTING ME SPOUT TO YOU, AND LAUGHING AT ME EVERY MINUTE! I’M BLIND.”

People in the street turned to stare at him.

“YOU GOT AWAY, BUT I’M BLIND! DO YOU HEAR? I’M BLIN–”

“Well,” said Mr. Singh, “don’t make such a row about it, Das. . .”

“So am I.”

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