There she was, mangled and distorted beyond recognition, laid out on the huge table. Mit felt his eyes moisten as the air conditioner blazed down on her body, rapidly taking away the last traces of warmth. Shanky held Mit by the shoulders and began to guide him out.
“We’ve to fight them,” Mit suddenly stopped and swerved back.
“Buddy, we’re in their area,” Shanky signalled with his eyes.
“I loved her; if her death does not affect you, fine! I can handle these fat buffoons by myself.”
“Calm down Mit, she was my friend too.”
“You’d never understand…the time we had together, the fun, the joy,” Mit’s voice trailed off as he sat down and broke into a sob.
Shanky looked around uneasily. They were watching it all, ominously. He quickly dragged his friend out and bundled him into a cab. After a quick word with the driver he turned to Mit.
“We’re going to fight this legally,” he assured.
The cab screeched itself to a stop in front of the local inspector’s home. A look of faint hope appeared in Mit’s reddened eyes.
Once inside they were observing the minimal décor in the inspector’s living room when the man himself entered with a smile.
“I’m inspector Tantrumps,” he said and almost shoved the other two into an orange sofa.
Mit bounced up immediately but Shanky remained seated.
“Your people have put a huge potato, almost as fat as themselves into the rice,” started Mit. “They have murdered the taste of Hyderabadi Biryani.”
Inspector Tantrump’s smile became wider as he sank into an armchair. A lady came in to offer a plate of fish fries along with tea.
“You’re too quick to judge Mr Mit,” Tantrumps began smugly. “Please help yourselves while I narrate a story.
In 2015 I had visited Hyderabad for a project. Famished, I had ordered a bowl of mashed potatoes, baked with cheese, for my dinner. Instead I was served baby potatoes, seared in scores of red chillies. I had cried a bucket that night and two more on the morning after.”
Tantrumps stood up and began to pace around the room.
“Thus, your angst right now gives me, a sense of sheer jubilation.”
Mit stood still for a second. In the next one, he lifted a wooden chair above his head and surged ahead towards Tantrumps. Startled, Tantrumps scampered away but came back soon with a thick stick. Shanky wanted to intervene but the fries were getting cold and he decided that it is illegal to refuse fish in Kolkata and began to munch while Mit and Tantrumps beat each other up.
Far away, from the privacy of his plush lounge Shri Bali observed the entire scene telecasted via his spy drone. With the mighty ones pitted against each other, there was now no one to save the Biryani from the onslaught of vegetables. A month, and his vegetarian recipes will be all over the place. Shri Bali leaned back and smiled a triumphant smile.
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