Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Out of Depression

Apurv picked up a brick and slammed it against the sword that was swung against it. The force of the sword broke the sword and the upper half of the brick crumbled. Apurv went with the flow and turned in a circle and the next swing of the brick had its target as the swordsman’s face. The man holding the broken sword screamed and moved to one side. He was on the floor bleeding. However, Apurv did not have the time to look at the man. Apurv took another turn and threw the half broken brick at the man holding the gun a few feet away from him.

All this happened in a span of 3 seconds. The most adrenaline filled 3 seconds of Apurv’s life.

— —

“You really thought that I can’t eat the whole pizza?” Jason said stuffing the last piece in his mouth.

“The question wasn’t whether you could but whether you should.” Neha said yawning and looking at the watch. It was late and she was already done with the food almost an hour ago. Eating one pasta is not that hard a job. At least in comparison to a whole pizza.

“Whatever. I win. Now, we will go to the movie.” Jason said and immediately took out the phone to book it.

“Come on! At least book it tomorrow. Let’s go now. I am tired.” Neha said and got up. It was almost 12 night and the pizzeria owner was looking at them longingly. He desperately wanted them to leave.

Jason looked at her, stuck out his tongue and continued tapping on the phone.

“I am booking a cab doofus.”

“Oh Ok.” Neha said meekly.

“There are no damn cabs in the nearby area. Oh wait. There is one. Booked. Will take around 15 minutes though.”

“It’s alright. We can wait outside till then.” Neha said.

— —

It is never a good sight to see drunk men on the road. Unfortunately, this is a sight seen too often in the city. Why people drink so much and then roam around is something Apurv never understood. It had been almost 10 months now since he was driving the cab.

Brought up in a rich family, Apurv never felt the need to earn money. Bored to his wit’s end, he ended up having depression attacks. He tried gymming, Krav Maga, sports, arts and what not. Nothing worked. He wanted to do something, anything to get away from this. His solution, become a driver. No one understood it. Neither his parents, nor friends nor he himself. But he would drive the car on weekends and that gave him a thrill that he did not understand. Despite the fact that overall there is little action but the conversations with the customers somehow gave him a kind of peace that helped him with his solitude and depression bouts.

Apurv used to drive from around 12 in the afternoon to 8 or 9 in the evening. Then he would meet his friends for the nightlife of the city. After the weekends were over, he would go to his father’s business and for once he was enjoying the work at office too. His parent’s did not understand how it was working but they were happy that their son was happy. They had almost lost their son to depression and now he was fighting it. Fear of someone finding out the truth about him and him getting kidnapped still gripped them on weekends when he was away but they were learning to live with it.

Apurv had taken an early break from the partying today and had dropped his girlfriend home while going home when he switched on the cab service just to see if someone needed his help. The service blinked about 15 minutes from where he was. It was a little out of his way but he decided to take the detour anyway.

Apurv reached the place in only 10 minutes and the scene there shook him to the core.

— —

Neha and Jason walked hand in hand a little outside the pizzeria. 
“7 more minutes left.” Jason said as he gave a soft kiss on Neha’s lips.
Neha looked at him and melted in his arms.

“Give us a few kisses too bitch.” A man said in a slurred voice. Neha and Jason turned and saw three men walking towards them.

“They are drunk.” Jason whispered to Neha and the two started to move away from the three people.

One of them took out a gun and another took out a big knife.

“Don’t run sweetheart. We are not going to hurt you.” The third one said.

Even amidst the stress, Neha could only think — “Why does this man have a sword?”

— —

Two guys were in a scuffle. One of the two had a knife and he was almost at the other guy’s throat. Apurv swerved the car towards them. They immediately broke up. It was then that Apurv saw the girl.

Her clothes half torn, two guys were holding her. She was trying her best to fight the two but was failing miserably. Even from the distance, Apurv could see tears flowing from her eyes.

Apurv immediately came out of the car and moved towards the girl. He shouted at the two people and got their attention for the first time. One immediately took out a gun and took a shot at Apurv. Apurv barely escaped and that too probably because the guy seemed drunk. Apurv was panicking. He did not know what to do but he knew he had to do something. He picked a brick and threw it at the guy holding the gun. The guy moved but the brick hit him and he fell down. The girl took advantage off the commotion and ran towards one of the two guys Apurv had initially seen. His boyfriend maybe, Apurv’s mind registered.

Apurv turned towards the man with the sword. Why he had a sword, Apurv thought. 
Before Apurv could reach the man, pain ran through his body. His hand moved towards his back. A huge knife was stuck on his waist. He turned and saw a man grinning.

“I should have hit you with the car.” Apurv said and gave the grinning man a punch. Apurv’s old strength and technique was still with him. The man was on the ground in one punch. Apurv turned towards the other two.

The man with the sword was coming towards him.

Apurv picked up a brick and slammed it against the sword that was swung against it. The force of the sword broke the sword and the upper half of the brick crumbled. Apurv went with the flow and turned in a circle and the next swing of the brick had its target as the swordsman’s face. The man holding the broken sword screamed and moved to one side. He was on the floor bleeding. However, Apurv did not have the time to look at the man. Apurv took another turn and threw the half broken brick at the man holding the gun a few feet away from him.

All this happened in a span of 3 seconds. The most adrenaline filled 3 seconds of Apurv’s life.

— —

Over a year had passed since that day. Apurv did not change his habits much. The only shift was that now, he would start his cab around 11 and till 5 in the morning on the weekends. His outlook however had changed completely.

He had survived that night, but barely. Ever since then, he had decided to become stronger and understand the criminals more. He became obsessed with how the minds of the criminals were working. He did not have bouts of depression anymore. In a way, his life didn’t change but the way he looked at life changed completely.

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