TerritorialMale Saturday, January 21, 2006
Early one morning, I awoke amidst shouts and shrieks in the streets below. Who are those idiots? I thought to myself. It probably was about 5 AM and still partially dark. I peeked out from between the curtains to find a crowd gathered outside the railway godown. More people were coming in and a few were leaving. All those who left had the same expression of disgust on their faces.
This particular area of interest was an abandoned shed and provided refuge to the homeless and a few miscreants. It is no longer there today and a parking lot stands in its place.
Curious to investigate, I proceeded forth to the streets below. I still feel (even to this day) that I should never have been there. It was the most ghastly scene I had ever seen. On the floor was the old woman I had seen so many times before. (She and her husband usually sat outside the Buddhist Monastery to beg for alms from the devotees.) There was blood splatter all over, particularly around the head. Streaks of blood painted the wall as if someone had squirted on it with a syringe. I could see just the top of her head from the thick blanket that covered her. It was completely squashed. Just a few seconds of this gruesome picture was enough for me. I could feel bile rise up in my stomach so I quickly turned away.
Some people were questioning the old woman's consort a few yards away. I turned my attention to that discussion. The old man was explaining the night's incident. He spoke slowly and took long pauses in between, sometimes a little longer as grief overwhelmed him.
"Last night, a group of boys came in a van and started to pester us," he said.
"They wanted money. They had been stalking my old woman for the past few days..."
"...she did not budge... she was adamant... she did not agree to their demands..."
"They are drug addicts..."
"Then they started to beat her with rods and wooden beams...they made off with a can of coins."
"How much was there?" someone asked.
"Not much, about a few hundred rupees..."
"They killed her for a measly sum!" someone exclaimed.
The old man continued. "They were after the jerry-cans. The old woman stored her coins in the jerry-cans."
"What jerry-cans?" asked someone.
"It is there next to her body. I kept it there in the morning."
The police arrived for a proper investigation. They questioned the man and after examining the corpse, they decided it to send it to the hospital for an autopsy.
They are dogs I tell you. Dogs. How much could they have got from these defenceless, homeless folks? I thought to myself. Couldn't have been more than a few hundred rupees! Well, I was wrong.
All eyes fell on two ten-litre jerry-cans as the police removed the corpse. Both were filled to the brim with coins.
Still, not a strong enough motive for murder!