Thick air billowed in the Mumbai sky. Burning sensation trickled in the humid air and the usual sweltering afternoon where vehicles ambled slowly in South Bombay. The Jamun trees lingered at one end of the road, juxtaposed towards the gentle, still the Arabian Sea and on the other, sprawling buildings and the luxurious hotel giving an aerial view of the iconic Air India building towards the edge’s end, Nariman Point.
A gunshot was heard from afar provoking chaos, fearing a terrorist attack in the city. Commuters at Churchgate station ran in the opposite and aimless direction for their lives where some jumped off the locals stationed and jettisoning off the platform, jutting across the busy road, sweating blood.
The police vans and beat marshalls screeched at the altar, surveying the road and careful not to raise an alarm to provoke panic in the city. Persistent gunshots splayed and deafened eardrums. Who was doing that! The new Chief Minister held meetings in his plush office at Nariman Point and running against time in his official car, swirling past the crazy traffic towards Matoshree in Dadar and back to South Bombay. OB Vans were stationed and cameras stayed put to relay TRP to TV channels on the move, updating breaking news on the unnamed and invisible foes threatening the country, clamoring about the city assailed by conspiring powers after a decade. After all, who was behind the mayhem? Another enthusiastic TV channel broke the news on a UFO sashaying in the island city and bringing everyone on its toes.
The loudspeakers thronged to occupy space in front of the residential buildings and advised occupants not to step out because of the danger lurking where cops are pulling all strings to protect the people. A loud thunder bulged the sky and cloud menacing the inhabitants, slowly breaking the particle of heat and a sudden outburst of rain wrecked at a frenetic pace. Heat has suddenly subsided, relieving the burning skins to beat the scorching sun and water freckled at the range of arrow shots resembling the Ramayana epic battle.
A giant step moved the sky and taking the form of a thick mound straddling, forming a thick foam encircling the creamy layers percolating the cloud. Dark and grey mist moving in human form and shadow lurking behind, turning into the blue Neelkant sent a tizzy on the ground and blizzard to human eyes, tears percolating on cheeks. Burning sensation felt as a commotion made of human masses ambled chaotically on the streets. The lal batti cars stormed past the vehicles taking a serpentine form on busy road and street, suddenly turned empty seeking refuge inside homes. Gun aim was taken towards the menacing sky. Don’t shoot recklessly only focus, was the high command’s order.
The terror threat was brushed aside in Maximum City. The TV channels didn’t pay heed and announced a huge terror hijacking the city. The fight between the cops’ eyes darting like a radar against the menace in the sky continued uninterrupted for hours when darkness encapsulated the sky. The city slowly subsided into silence and a far cry from the hustle-bustle of Mumbai. Thunder unleashed at midnight and flood captured every inch and space, rising at sea level, road and buildings washed ashore. Day’s chaos turned into a seastorm at night’s fall.
Siren wailed early morning. Sleep was furtively put at an end during the early 4 a.m. Local trains stationed inside moved and slowly rattled within distance on the railway track signaling the mundane early morning activity. Red buses and black-and-yellow cabs slowly moved as fritters, Vada Pav, tea sellers lingered on both sides of the road to quench thirst and hunger of early revelers. A body drenched in blood was slowly lifted by the huge crane from inside the Arabian Sea where the lifeless body reeked of alcohol and tobacco stench. Forensic experts, police commissioner and the Chief Minister flocked to the spot and exuded a triumph of victory for saving the city and sinking in the ingenuity of beating TV channels, scribes and news reporters to conceal news of the day.
The man who brought the city to a halt for days, weeks and months after killing mercilessly and blood-soaked letters which were written all over the decrepit wall was finally dead. The Beer Man’s body floated and choked. Later, news splashed all over TV channels with expert panels, raising questions on the fate of beer man and questioning the system for violating human rights, unfolding the veiled of the conspiracy helmed by cops of taking their duties too far. Who killed Beer Man, they asked? No one knew who killed the murderer. Mumbai police were clueless so were investigative journalists. The city stopped living in fear of the dreaded killer and civilians didn’t give a hoot on his murderer.