All In A Day's Work
Neeraj Shinde Saturday, December 05, 2009 Short Stories
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December 05, 2009 Pune, India - Being a city cop was never exhilarating for Head Constable Shinde, who had been serving the Mumbai Police department for eleven long years. Just as every other policeman, he led a mundane life that toggled between the hour hand of his old wrist watch.
But, today was a bit different day.
It was 8:00 PM when he arrived at home. His three year old was fast asleep. It seems like the right time to present his wife the gift he had brought for her, he thought. He was sure that this was going to cease all her complains she had against her husband.
"So Vidya, What do you think about this one?", he asked as he presented the gift and naughtily grabbed her towards him.
"Waa! A new Mangalsutra!", his wife exclaimed as she seemed so reluctant to believe what she saw. For a moment, she looked at her husband's face with gratitude. Although she was unable to contain her feelings, the very next moment, she looked down. A thought ran across her mind.
"You didn't like it?", Shinde asked after he read her expressions.
"No it's not that, I liked it very much", she replied calmly "But, a ten grams of gold ornament received from a policeman is what made me feel sad"
"Oh! Vidya, you are impossible", the cop was really annoyed after he saw his wife not patronizing his expectations. He just recollected their quarrel that took place last month over her craving for a new ornament.
"I am sick of your dual-ended words. What is a poor policeman supposed to do?", he spoke with outrage.
Realizing that her gift had valuable emotions of her loving husband attached to it, Vidya was in a no mood to engage her in a dispute. She didn't utter a word and kept the unwrapped gift box aside on the table.
Ring Ring - The telephone bell rang.
"Shinde, there is an emergency. Please report on duty as soon as possible. There is another attack on the city. Make sure you report back to the police station as soon as possible", the voice over the phone said.
"I need to go!" Shinde said, trying to regain his senses back from his graveling family issues.
"Dinner's ready, please have it before you leave... ", she said in vain. Just before she could finish her say, he was out on his motorbike heading towards his duties.
He reached the police station in a few minutes. The city was under chaos. There were multiple incidents of violence and bloodshed in various parts of Mumbai. There were unproven rumors of the city being under an attack. The head constable was constantly in touch with the updates from the control room. There is an ongoing shootout in the vicinity of the Railway station, the instrument updated Shinde and his colleagues.
The chaos among the citizens were worsening with every second that passed by. By this time, the control room had reported several casualties and the toll was still on.
"ACP Jadhav, there has been a blast near Kama Hospital and three gunmen are suspected to be around the hospital. Cover up the hospital along with Constable Shinde and four junior constables immediately", a voice from the police control room directed the team.
Equipped with their service guns, a couple of vans filled with a dozen policemen headed at the venue. It didn't take much time for each one of them to realize that their service guns were proving futile against the planned attack of the intruders which was backed with the forte of modern ammunition. Despite being aware of their sapless plight, the six policemen tried hard to gain the control of the situation.
Shinde was shot thrice on his shoulders and twice on his left thigh. The last thing he remembered were the faces of his wounded colleagues and the blood-soaked uniform of ACP Jadhav. His subconscious mind instructed him to play a dead man, as he kept recording the moves of the events around him. But he was helpless when his consciousness gradually faded away completely.
Gradually, the fierce combat had mellowed down into a steep ocean of tears and blood.
"Beep beep...", a hoarse sound brought Shinde back to life.
He opened his eyelids gently, as he tried hard to recollect his memories. A severe ache in his back brought all his memories back to life as he tried to move his body on the hospital bed.
Shinde noticed that he was surrounded by a team of journalists, doctors and a few other policemen. Vidya was sitting just beside him. Her wet eyes looked red, just like the blood-stained cotton bandage that was glued to her brave husband's right shoulder. She held his hand and gave him a serene smile.
"Didn't you like the new Mangalsutra, Vidya?", he asked naughtily.
She looked back at him, puzzled. She wished she could cry, but she knew that it would be an insult to his courage to do so. She was a wife of a man who brings her the ecstasy and agony, both at the same time, all in a day's work.
"I wish, I could ever understand you... ", she replied, as she passionately hugged her wounded husband.
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