Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Search for Skara

It is said that revenge is a dish best served cold.

I was 12 when my parents were murdered. Butchered in front of my eyes by a woman. I can still remember the wildness in those eyes. She was wearing a cloak, as if to hide herself in the darkness. When she approached us, she was wearing goggles, dark ones, in the night. In all honesty, that should have sent us running in the other direction. However, it wasn’t so. He asked my mother about her neckless. Her wayward walk and her blazing eyes, once she had removed the goggles, told us that she didn’t care about the neckless one bit.

After a minute of idle chat, she simply pulled out a kitchen knife and slit my mother’s throat. Next, she moved to my father. Before I could comprehend what had happened, I was an orphan.

It has been 15 years since that night. Not one night has passed when I have not dreamt about it. Not one day has passed when the word revenge has not flown through my mind.

But I had to become stronger first. A frail child could never have taken that revenge. It would take a lot of planning and even more guile to take down my enemy. Especially since that woman was now the Queenpin of the city. Yet, I planned for the sweet revenge. However, I never expected things to happen like that.

After my parents’ death, I was sent to Europe for higher studies.

Although an orphan, his family name was enough to get him a good school and later, a good college.

“Harshit, I am impressed by your improvement in the martial arts. Usually, Indian students are more focused on maths and science, subjects of the minds. I did not expect someone to be as interested and talented as you are in this field.” My master complemented me on my skills.

However, I was not done yet. I was only 24 and I could still not dodge bullets. I was getting some news on the woman- Skara was her name, at least that is what the underworld and police called her. She was getting stronger. In the past 12 years, she had gained more power than he expected. She ruled over the Mumbai Underworld. In fact, in the past few years, it was getting difficult to get any information regarding her as she was moving up the ranks of the underworld.

“Master John. Is it possible for me to get training with Master Mushi?” I asked my master tentatively. While he had declined my previous requests, his encouragement today gave me the courage to ask again. Master Mushi was the greatest martial artist in the world right now. Only he could train me well enough to beat Skara.

“I have already informed him. He will be expecting you in seven days.” Master John said smiling at me. While he knew my past, he did not know my intentions. He assumed that I was just a good student who wanted to improve. I wanted to kill.

Three years, I trained hard, making my steel body into diamond. I was quick before, now I was lightening. I was smart before, now I was cunning. I had learnt the martial arts before, now, I was a warrior.

These three years were not just an attempt to become a weapon for revenge but also a meditation to improve myself beyond my own expectations. I was finally ready.

After 15 years, I was ready to have my revenge.

It was not a difficult task to locate her business location. Before going to Master Mushi, I had made arrangements for people to keep tracks on her. I almost immediately found her evil lair.

However, as luck would have it, after killing 15 people and beating the heck out of at least 20 more, I only found that she rarely visited this site any more. In fact, she had not visited the site in the past one year. The thug, despite under my knee, looked proud when he said-

“Skara only goes where there is trouble. This site was perfect in every way so Skara never had any need to come here.”

“Until now.” I said in anger and burned even more of the building. Over 50 people died because of Skara that night.

If only she would have been there, the slaughter would have ended. However, she wanted to play and he was more than happy to comply.

In the next three weeks, he discovered four more safehouses of Skara’s group. However, his revenge seems to be always one step away. It was as if she could read his thoughts and move one step ahead.

‘Don’t be an idiot.’ I said to myself. ‘She is not a mind reader.’

My name was becoming famous in the underworld. People were scared of me. Even though, I was just trying to find one person, apparently people could not see the pattern in my killing. I never hurt people who helped me in moving closer to Skara, except for that one guy. But he had looked funny. I was sure, he would have informed her of my attack.

And all the other guys had it coming. Power hungry mongrels who just saying that they didn’t know the truth. I had to make others afraid so that I could get the truth out. Unfortunately, people were apparently loyal in the underworld. The only answer I received was that she was either resting or at some other place.

This was my last chance. This informant was reliable. Although he did not know much about Skara, before dying, he had told me about this meeting in detail. This meeting would have all the most important people of all crime organizations. This meeting was supposed to be really important and Skara was definitely going to be here.

I reached the rendezvous point and decided to wait outside. I wanted to get in the meeting but it would be too risky. Besides, I had already planted enough explosives inside for the whole place to blow up in a matter of minutes. It was good that these thieves have chosen an empty house for this meeting. Less collateral damage.

— —

“His name is not known. But many people call him ‘Shaitan’. People are afraid of him.” Rahim spoke softly. He managed most of the west Mumbai region and was the primary host for the meeting.

“It is said that he kills indiscriminately. Although, some reports suggest that he is searching for something… or someone. People have heard him use the word Skara often.” Veer said looking pointedly at Munna while sipping hot tea. He was famous for drinking more tea than most hooligans drank alcohol. He had been asked to look into the matter and his men were trying to understand and research about the monster who was after them.

“Skara?” Said Munna as his face paled. The 22-year old was the youngest in the meeting.

He came to the underworld by chance. He was 7 year old when he became an orphan. From the prospects of going to a good school and college, he was thrown in an orphanage from where, the natural trajectory of self-preservation took him to underworld. Here, he rose up the ranks till only last year, he finally established his own gang — Skara.

“What is this ‘shaitan’ asking about Skara?” An elderly man huffed and rolled his eyes while saying the word ‘shaitan’. He was in his 70s at the least but held the central Mumbai under strong control. His word was usually consider a law in the world of thieves, liars and hoodwinks. In many ways, he was the constant in the ever changing world of crime. Cunning and shrewd, it was his idea to arrange the meeting in a crowded place. This way, no one in his right mind would attack directly on them.

“This man is asking about a woman named ‘Skara’? Odd, isn’t it.” Veer said.

Munna jumped from his seat and was visibly terrified.

“It can only be him.” Munna whispered with white lips.

“Who?” The old man asked while puffing a cigar.

“His name was Harshit. His parents lived here in Mumbai only. My mother was a housemaid in their house. In addition to this, she would babysit Harshit as well when his parents went to parties or something like that. One day, when I was seven, I was told by policemen that my mother was killed in their house.

“According to them, they had found Harshit’s parents murdered by a knife in the drawing room while in the kitchen, they found the dead body of my mother — Skara. They told me that the murders were done by their 12 year old child Harshit who was apparently psycho. He first killed my mother and then waited for his parents to come. Then, he butchered them as well. They had sent him away to a mental asylum.”

Munna said as the others listened to him holding their breaths.

“So, what happened to Harshit?” Rahim finally asked.

“I don’t know. He destroyed my life, I didn’t want to track his.” Munna said shaking.

The old man called a minion of his and whispered something in his ear. He ran outside with his phone in his hand, already dialling a number.

The whole party came to a stand still as they analysed the new information Munna had provided them. Soon, the man came back from outside, and whispered back in the old man’s ear.

“So, gentleman, apparently, Mr. Harshit ran from the mental asylum three years ago and no one has seen him since then.” The old man said, dropping the temperature of the room by at least 5 degrees.

“So, we have a madman, chasing after a dead woman and who has already killed 200 people, out of which at least 100 were innocents including 15 children.” Veer summed up the whole situation.

“Suddenly, the crowded market place seems like a really bad idea.” The old man said.

As if on cue, the bombs started to explode.

— —

“When will I find Skara and get my revenge?” Harshit thought as he dejectedly returned after blowing up all the criminals in the abandoned building.

“At least, I am removing the bad people from the city.” Harshit said smiling as he went back to his house.