Zara zara touch me touch me touch me, zara zara hold me hold me hold me. He swayed as the sultry voice crooned from the pocket radio he carried everywhere. The girl slowly walked into focus. The tea shop was closed yet. He waited hungrily. It was just a matter of minutes now.


‘Serial rapist-killer strikes again. Body of another young girl found brutalized’. Flashed the news channels. ‘This is the fourth case of rape and murder of innocent young girls.  When would the pervert be arrested? The nation wants to know!’ the bespectacled news anchor snarled into the camera.


Traces of drugs on the girl’s body meant the rapist was also a drug addict. CCTV cameras from the nearby shops revealed a scrawny, gaunt man sitting outside the dilapidated tea shop. His profile was matched with the sketches of suspects in previous cases. 

‘Fan out into the city. Monitor every single watering hole. Raid every haunt of the drug addicts. Hound out the monster!’ the Commissioner barked to his minions.

Contrary to popular opinion, policemen can do a mean job of snooping when they wish. How long could he evade their hawk eyes!

Once he was spotted loitering near an abandoned rice mill the investigating officers swooped down swiftly. He was caught swaying to the husky voice wafting from the pocket radio. A few porn magazines lay nearby. 


The fast track POCSO court convicted and sentenced him to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment but the dissatisfied public refused to accept the court verdict. News anchors bayed for his blood. 

‘Hang him! Enraged family members and protesters swamped the streets.  

‘The case would be taken to the higher court. 125 crore Indians are standing strongly with you’, the political leaders promised.


The convicted man remained unperturbed. A faint smile hung around his lips even as he was taken to the prison. Destiny had been rather kind to him. They knew of only four, not eight.

He had been always been smart. Would cover his tracks carefully. No trails left behind. If only he had noticed the darned CCTV camera! 

Curse it! He was going to miss his favorite game in the prison.


Dark shadows descended on the prison walls as he was hustled inside. 

‘Welcome!’ the prison inmates greeted him. They had followed the case on television and were waiting for him with eager anticipation.

‘Introductions, boss?’ Someone called. 

‘No hurry! The whole night is ours.’ A burly man grinned through his thick moustache.

The new inmate fidgeted. Nobody ever welcomed him. He walked in. Gingerly. 

The inmates gathered around him. They waited, hungrily. Only a few minutes more. If the new prisoner was a pro at his game, they were no less professionals too.

One of them flicked the radio on. A sultry voice floated in the dingy cell. They started swaying. ‘Zara zara hold me hold me hold me, zara zara touch me touch me touch me*. 


Glossary – *Zara zara hold me hold me: a song from a Hindi movie



Photo By: Oscar Keys


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