— Chapter 1 —
— Chapter 2 —
Evil has the immense potential to make a head start in the race against Good. In twisted minds lies its abode – where it takes guilty pleasure in forging wicked ideas, which it easily spreads with the ability to take advantage of naïve minds. The tool used varies – it can be money, lust, religion etc., all of which indicates the vulnerability of spirit.
The scars within Ameen ran deep. It made no sense to him how religion became one such tool to forge the most destructive of weapons, served as a ground for many a war and instigated diversity among mankind. Wasn’t it meant to be the exact opposite? Somehow there were too many fragile minds that were compromised by wickedness of twisted minds.
When Ameen was a kid, his father always taught him to believe that every creation of The Almighty is here in this world to respect and love each other. And none of HIS creations would have the slightest of intent to hurt another one. Ameen took it to his heart and resolved himself that he would never ever hurt even an ant. He learnt the hard way that the world need not think the way we do.
It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon. Little Ameen was playing Cricket in his neighborhood maidan. The kids were oblivious to the ill fated happening of that morning. Right now, the only thing that concerned Ameen was winning this game. The previous contest was lost by one run. It was his fault not to have run back for that second run, which would have tied the scores with one ball remaining, and ended up running his partner out.
As he took guard, with perspiration dripping down his forehead, he was determined not let things get out of hand this time. With 6 runs required of the last over, Ameen could not score of the first three deliveries.
“Come on Ameen. At least take a single and give me the strike”, shouted Chinna from the non-striker end.
Ameen steeled himself. Relax. Concentrate. Take a deep breath. Focus.
He drove the fourth delivery for a 4. That brought down the equation to 2 runs of 2 balls.
“Awesome shot. Take a single bhai. Don’t screw up this one too!” screamed Chinna
The next one was a yorker and Ameen just managed to dig it out at the last moment.
“OK! We are going down” went Chinna in a typical “I-told-you-so” tone
Ameen prided himself in being able to thrive in tricky situations. Messing up the previous one had dented his pride. He was not going to let his team down again.
Relax. Concentrate. Take a deep breath. Focus.
Adversity either brings out the best or the worst in someone. Fortunately, for Ameen, adversity seemed to have brought out worst in the bowler. He bowled a wide, which made it 1 run from 1 ball. Tension was mounting within Ameen as the bowler came running in to bowl the last delivery. It turned out to be a full toss and Ameen whacked it for another boundary and started celebrating.
At that moment, Charukesh, ‘Charu uncle‘, Ameen’s neighbor came rushing to the ground.
“Ameen, you need to come home now”
From his serious expression, Ameen could sense something was wrong. He tried getting an answer from Charu uncle, but he refused to say anything. Ameen found the answers, when they reached home and life was never the same again.
Tears rolled down Ameen’s cheek, anger surged within him, every time the images of that day replayed in his mind. He just wished that he had the ability to rewind the clock and set things right, back in time. The only glimmer of hope, in his depressingly dark life, was Ashika. That was until Amar became his friend, of course.
Ashika had called last evening. She confirmed that she will be starting the next day and will be here on Saturday morning. Ameen had relayed this to Amar. He knew Ashika had plans to surprise Amar. Not only that, both Amar and Ashika had something else they were hiding from him. Only that it was no secret. Ameen knew it.
If Ameen was asked to choose to salvage something from the wreckage of his life, it would be Amar and Ashika. And to think they have belied his trust by trying to keep things under the wraps did not make him happy. He was furious.
—— End of Chapter 3 —–