The room was dark, and there was no moon in sight tonight. Very inconvenient if you worked late, and had to get inside a house at 0300 hours.
Your lifestyle depends on the job you choose, and your job always determines the mood you are in- inevitable since your mood depends more often than not on the money in your pocket and your job puts those coins in there. Your mood is dependent on how easy you can make a quick buck – so for most people it is decided by how easy your work conditions are. How lenient your boss is, how much of an asshole the co-worker whom you share your cubicle with is, how easily your colleagues whore out in office politics yada yada yada. There are a lot of factors involved.
The dark room and the darker street outside were very convenient for me, because I worked late and I had to get inside the house at 0300 hours.
Also, the house in question isn’t mine.
Picking a lock is easier than you think it is, and harder than what they show in primetime TV. Push a wrench, you can use a paperclip to make one, to the bottom of the lock hole and hold it steady. Get a pick to go inside the top of the lock and push it back and forth inside the hole; just keep pushing the wrench all the while. Rest you can get by practice - I don’t want too much competition anyway.
I got inside - as easy as a pen through a used hole. As water through a sieve. As the devil through the gates of hell. It felt like home.
The drawing room wasn’t spacious but had a lot of furniture. Annoying to be frank. However it also meant that the owner had a lot to offer. I’m being hopeful.
I hit my knee sharply against a wooden tea stand, I guess. Things look weird in the dark. I thrust a fist inside my mouth to stop the scream. Eyes moistened. I told myself that this was just a traditional beginning to a pilgrimage. Superstition is criminal faith. I trudged on, albeit carefully avoiding any hard objects. First left was the dining room and the turn after that should presumably be the kitchen. Nothing of interest there, as of now. Probably in a while if hunger ensues…
The room diagonally to the first was some sort of a reading room. The almirahs were huge and filled with huge volumes of books. I loved reading. Anything and everything. I am as sharp as a neck-cutting dagger and typed papers kept me so. I am one proud juvenile. Chuckle.
The bedroom was the root of interest. There were two people sleeping on the bed, and a girl on a mattress on the floor. She was to get married soon, I’d heard from the locals. Cute kid, buck-toothed though. A huge dowry will hide it just fine.
Even steady breathing. I clutched my knife and kept it down, blade facing earth and under my fist. Like a boxer’s stance, ready to punch, but with metal venom dripping from one glove. You learn that after surviving a few street fights. Things aren’t always the way they show in the movies. You can’t hope to kill a man with a single swipe of the dagger- that’s ridiculous. Life is stronger than blunt metal- it’ll hold on- and fight back. You got to fight back too. You hold your knife down, and punch that bastard trying to prick your eyes out. Later, in due course of time, you can take his livers out.
The woman let out a grunt and turned to her right. She was facing me and snoring. Steady swift and rhythmic. Her huge fat tummy rising and falling as she bellowed. It is funny when you think about it. If she woke up now- god forbid- all of them would sleep forever. I turned and rummaged through the almirah.
Killers are almost always lucky. They get away with punishments not even half as worthy of their crimes. Looters are not so fortunate. But today I ran my hand across a huge pile of gold. Bangles, rings, necklaces and anklets. I packed them neatly and tucked them inside my shirt. The huge dowry that will hide those buck teeth.
I climbed outside through the window and dug a hole near the boundary wall. Gave the gold back to the earth. Offerings in a pilgrimage. Nothing to hide the buck teeth anymore though. Let her marry someone with eyes for her soul.
I walked out and closed the gate behind me.
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sins.
Sketch By: Pranavi Kanduri