The Great Malayali Raffle Draw
All characters and events in this story are purely fictitious and bear no resemblence to any person, living or dead. Please note, that the story has nothing to do with the identities of the characters involved.
Raffle draws are a big business in every part of the world. Every minute people buy coupons with big hopes and dreams of earning a fortune. According to my view, most raffle draws don’t just take place. Well, I could be wrong, or perhaps it’s just my vague imagination.
India is one such country where people earn big in the raffle draw business. Mostly plots to pull the poor unsuspecting lot into misery, raffles are very popular especially in the streets. One can find bunches of stalls selling tickets in bright colors, each having the winning amount proudly printed upon them, as a mark of respect.
I, however, do not believe much in luck, but upon continuous insistence by my friend, I decided to buy a cheap 50 buck ticket for a raffle of 50 lakhs. And then, I forgot about the ticket.
That is where the trouble started.
25th June 2009
Laziness is so awesome…
It was late in the morning, yet I lay in bed lazily, thinking about the previous night’s show on TV. Not something really special, I would say, but it was just some ordinary crap that happens in daily life. Just the usual 10 PM serial. Ekta Kapoor is seriously jobless to make serials that go on for years. I particularly remember one serial in which there was a lady who had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and still that female was alive… all nice and fresh and healthy. I wonder if such things happen in daily life. As if that were not enough, the whole family lives in this huge bungalow with all sorts of lighting and stuff. The people speak in crores and drive fantastic (according to Indian standards) cars. And the serial was named ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki’. But no sensible Indian household has ever had a story like that!
I guess I had had enough of wasting my time spent in laziness. Taking one and a half hour to dress up… that sounds feminine, but boys also do the same when they are lazy. Slowly watch the toothpaste drip onto the toothbrush… and the gel slowly spreading over the bristles, then spend half an hour looking and fondling the toothpaste, till your mom comes to give a kick up your ass. And then, once you are done, have a bath, rather a swim with detuned blaring music from one’s non melodious throat (also called bathroom singing). Well, that is just normal, because we humans deserve some days to be spent in laziness, especially after living a fast paced life throughout the year.
I sat down, opening my physics book and started reading it. Rather, I was admiring the chicks on the cover page. I won’t tell you the book title, because I’m quite possessive about that chick.
Tring! The phone rings. I wonder who invented the telephone. Oh, I know it, it was Alexandar Graham Bell. I think so, at least. In his time, there were no books with chicks on the cover page, to relish. But in my day, I hate it if that idiotic machine rings while I am in the midst of interesting work.
“Yeah, walaykum assalam… who is this?”
“I yam da Malayala raffle draw! You winna fifty lakh! Fifty lakhs!”
My heart gave a jolt. Actually, it was a mixed reaction. I was happy at the prospect of winning, but at the same time, I decided to check if it was just a prank.
“I did not participate in any draw…”
“Ayyo….yanna idiot!!! You name… Ankooorrr…yanda ticket numbera…won tree five two!”
(Supposed to mean 1352)
“Ankoooor….won tree five two!!!”
“Hmm….yeah so tell me…”
“This Malayali raffle draw… come to many…many….”
“Ayyo….tendi ….many many… fifty lakh many…”
“Oh yeah right… so tell me when am I getting the money.”
“Yeh… Ech Ess Bee See bank ya….come there inda car, I give many there!”
I kept the phone, and went to dress up in my jeans and jersey. Before leaving the house, I picked up a newspaper that lay underneath the table. The front page sounded interesting:
…The Ministry wishes to warn all residents about prank calls that come from unknown people, who claim that they are raffle sellers and that the receiver has won a raffle draw. We have had cases where two people were robbed by a gang after they fell into a well set trap….
I was shocked. But, determined to find out who are into this fishy business, I decided to step out. The newspaper was still in my hand.
HSBC bank stood in front of me majestically. I looked around the place for some signs of a crazy south Indian holding a suitcase, but I found none. The place was not deserted, but there was an air of eeriness around. As I stood there, a man came up to me and placed a cold muzzle on my neck.
“Do not move,” he said. He placed a suitcase in front of me.
“Who are you?”
“That is none of your business,” he said. His voice was rough, unlike the guy on the phone. “Take this suitcase and go home without looking back.”
I took the suitcase and ran towards my home. Somehow, I felt that the guy was still aiming for me. Perhaps he wanted to hunt me, like a hunter shooting an escaping lion?
But nothing of the sort happened. As I neared my apartment, I decided to check the suitcase. Just in case. The bag was quite heavy, and heavy enough to have contained bars of gold rather than notes of money. Stuck in a dilemma, I stood there and stared at my building.
Man, that suitcase contained real cash. Sometimes life takes unexpected turns, and we look at it the unexpected way of taking expected turns in an unexpected way. Huh, didn’t get it? Neither did I, but that’s what it is, according to a great scholar (later known to be Ankur Jay).
I sat in my room, finding a place to keep the suitcase out of view before mom arrived from her shopping trip. Still not out of suspicion, I sat down to count the money. There were fifty lakhs, true, but there was something weird about the smell that came from the suitcase. It wasn’t a bad smell, but it wasn’t good either. I switched on the fan, to ventilate the room.
The phone rang again. I went to pick it up.
“Eda… Policee comblaint yand police coming to your house”
“What the hell? What happened?”
“Ayyo… you steel many from mee, yand you ask why?”
“Hey dude! I didn’t steal anything! You said it was a raffle draw!”
“Nee undi, give da sootcase to da red beech….”
“Beech or bitch?”
“Wonly twendy minoots. Fast!”
I tell you, beeches are very hard to understand.
I arrived at the Red Beach. This didn’t sound like a place where there would be much decency, after all it was named RED beach. Perhaps that guy wanted me to meet a bitch in red on the red beach?
I walked up to a chick and asked her, “Hey there, honey, mind if I ask you something?”
“Honey your father in law, rascal!” she yelled. And she told me a list of beautiful words that I would not have minded had she been in a good mood. Ahh, the influence is visible on me till date.
I walked around aimlessly on the beach, searching for a bitch in red. No one here seemed to wear anything. Everyone enjoyed the fresh air, the coolness that one doesn’t get in one’s home. My phone rang again. This time it was a rough voice.
“Hey you. Get into the red car on your left.”
I looked on my left. There was a red car, with a huge sticker that read: The Beech. Perhaps this was it. I walked up to the car, and opened the door. There was no one inside it. I placed the suitcase on the seat and sat there.
Minutes later, a man came inside the car, and took the suitcase away. He didn’t say anything to me, but he pulled me outside and locked the car. And then, he walked away without a word.
Sirens blared. Police jeeps arrived at the scene. The inspector came up to me and asked me what had happened, and I narrated my story. It was pretty evident that there was some rascally thing involved in this. The police took possession of the car, as I walked home.
I picked up the phone.
“Yanna Malayali Raffle. Ankooooor?”
“Ayyo… raffle many…wher many??”
“You took it right?”
“Police comblaint yand took many away. I want many!”
“I am not your servant. I have been in enough trouble already.”
“Ayyo…saaaar….please help da!!!”
I kept the phone. Some time later, the phone rang again.
“Oye…idiot. Where are the packets?”
“Packets? Wrong number.”
“Oye… this is right number. Tell me where are the packets, or I will kill you”
“What packets? I don’t have any packets!”
“You gave me a suitcase right? In it there were packets right? Where are the packets?”
“There were no packets you idiot! It had money!”
“And the packets?”
“I have no idea.”
The call disconnected. I sat down, thinking about it for a while. There was definitely some foul play here. Someone wanted me in trouble. Serious trouble. I called the raffle guy. His phone was switched off. I called the guy who threatened me. Phone was switched off again.
More trouble followed. Police surrounded my place.
My house had been thoroughly searched. The police did not find anything of interest, except a few magazines with promiscuous posters on it. They searched every nook and cranny, and having found nothing, walked away with the magazines to content themselves. Three hundred rupees gone waste. Fifty lakhs invisible. And two crazy people after my life.
Tring! I picked up the phone again. It was the raffle guy.
“Ankooooor! Ankoooor! Malayali Raffle!”
“Many…. I have many…take many….five thousand!!”
“I thought you said it was fifty lakhs!”
“Ayyo…dis my raafle. Malayali raffle not your father. So I give many, not you. You want five thousand, you take.”
I felt a gun on my forehead. It was the rough guy again. He had broken through my house. Oh, no, that was not the case. I had left the door open. My bad.
“Where are the packets?” he said.
“I don’t have packets!”
“Ayyo…not packet…many!!!” the raffle guy said.
“You called me an idiot!” the rough guy said, and he placed his fingers on the trigger.
“No…not you…this guy on the phone… the Malayali….”
“Ayyo…hum Malayali….” The raffle guy’s voice spoke on the phone.
“Give me packets!”
“I have no packets!”
“What many! Packets!”
“SHUT UP!!!!” I yelled.
The rough guy held me more firmly and placed his gun on my forehead. The raffle guy was still yelling over the phone.
“Give me the packets, or say good bye to your life.”
“I am telling the truth…I don’t have any packets!”
“I don’t have packets!”
10: 00 PM
Time for the 10:00 PM show, Ekta Kapoor special.
I found myself on the sofa, still clutching the newspaper. It bore an article:
Boy gets shot to death over raffle duel.
The story resembled what I had been through. It was about a guy of my age who had experienced all this. So was this all just a vision? Or had I really stepped into the shoes of that guy and experienced it from a first person view? Was it a DREAM???
I felt myself wearing jeans and my jersey, all set to go, but I was sweating heavily. The television was still on. It showed an awareness program about people getting trapped by such rascals.
Perhaps it was not a dream. Perhaps it was intuition. I myself do not know.
I received the call again.
“Yanna….Malayali Raffle draw! Fifty Lakh!”
I cut the call. True enough, I had received the call. But what I had been through, was it a coincidence, or a dream or a vision of the future?
The clock showed 10:25 PM. I had been sitting there since 1:00 PM??? And mom had not arrived yet….
I looked at the TV screen again. It showed the faces of two people I had seen so clearly in my so called dream. They perfectly resembled the two people I referred to.
And I sat there, thinking, what could it have been?
The answer to that question never came to me.
Suspense is such a wonderful tool. Perhaps that’s why Ekta Kapoor makes such serials. Only if she had not exaggerated so much… perhaps today would have been a different day…..
And so, reader, in the midst of utter confusion, thoughts and suspense, I leave you here once again, to think, for once, about the consequences of incidents like these in daily life….
So until next time,
By Ankur Jay, F Y Mechanical