6. PARTNERS IN CRIME
Read from First Chapter here.
Read Previous Chapter here.
Previously on The Bike Babaji: James was planning on how to tackle the newly developed situation when all of a sudden Vinod bumped into him.
4th Monday November, 12:30 p.m.
James was checking whether someone else wasn’t nearby to confirm that Vinod was addressing him.
“Babaji! What a miracle? Just half an hour ago I saw you on TV and I never thought I’ll end up seeing you so soon,” said Vinod with overwhelming joy. “I have found my purpose in life”.
James was sceptic, perplexed, and cautious. He looked at Vinod with this third eye, the intelligence. Unkempt demeanor, a torn t-shirt and worn out lungi, outgrown hair, aquiline nose and a bright vertical tilak of vermilion on his forehead. Vinod was looking unprepossessing to him. There was something stuffed around his belly under the t-shirt, which gave a look of protuberance around his waist. Must be a drifter, a naughty and stupid one. He chose to remain silent to deduce more.
Vinod frenetically started climbing the stairs of the billboard and sat near James. Unexpected of this move, James lifted his upper body and rested his back on the billboard, next to the McDonald’s logo. Both their eyes exchanged glances.
“Oh Babaji, I know why you are silent,” said Vinod, catching his breath. “Who is this guy? Came out of nowhere and all of sudden talking to you as if we know each other for many years. Ah?”.
“Who are you?” questioned James.
“I am your devotee Babaji. Like Lord Hanuman being an ardent devotee of Lord Ram, I am your devotee Babaji. From now on...”
James interrupted, “I am not your Babaji. I asked who the hell are you? answer me”, in an irritating voice.
Vinod became servile. “Sorry Babaji. I will tell who I am. My name is Vinod. I’m a petty thief. My business has become disastrous lately and it is devolving day by day. I didn’t know what to do” said Vinod dejectedly. Then he became excited, “And then all of a sudden I saw your photo on TV. The master mind behind bike thievery. Right then I decided, whatever it takes I will find you and I will work only for you, and only with you, for you are my Babaji from this second” exclaimed Vinod with emotions inundated.
Looks innocent. Sounds stupid. Impulsive in his decisions. Would be a liability. Thoughts flashed across James mind.
“I don’t trust people. Especially new ones. I work alone”, proclaimed James.
“But Babaji, I will be an useful aid for you. Like how a small squirrel helped Lord Ram build the Rama Setu, I will be also be helpful to you in some way Babaji. Please accept me Babaji”, requested Vinod.
James thought deeply for a moment about his situation. I could train him. He’ll be a much-needed aid if I use him properly.
“How do I believe that you are a thief?” asked James.
Vinod quickly lifted his t-shirt and untied the clothes he had wrapped around his waist. “See Babaji, see all these clothes. I just stole them from other building terraces on the way here. I was just about to steal some clothes here and I saw you”.
James couldn’t help but laugh in his mind. No wonder why his business has been disastrous. “Stop calling me Babaji. I will have a test for you. You need to pass the test if you want to work with me”.
“Okay Babaj...” Vinod abruptly stopped by noticing an angry stare from James. “...If you may allow, I want to ask one thing”.
“What is it?”
“May I know your honorable name?” asked Vinod subserviently.
“My name is Ja...” James paused for a second, and continued “Jim”.
“Wow. You are a strong person Babaji”, exclaimed Vinod.
James looked puzzled. Vinod continued, “Everyone will go to Gym to become strong. But your name itself Gym. No wonder you are my Babaji for life”.
James now became frustrated with his vacuous mind. “It is J I M, JIM, not GYM. And I told you not to call me Babaji” said James angrily, in a high pitched but controlled tone.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help it,” Vinod apologized. “But I will call you with respect. I will call you as Jim’ji” he said and widened his mouth to show off his grimy teeth rows.
James rolled his eyes in exasperation. He looked up at the sky and took out another cigar from his Black casket.
[To be continued]