March 12, 2005

Slinking on the drive

If only he hadn't been "slinking". 20-year-old Munna Shaikh fromn Lucknow attracted a patrolling cop's attention because, the Times of India tells me, he was "slinking across the tetrapods" on Marine Drive in Bombay. When the cop followed him, he found Munna searching for his belongings, so he questioned Munna. And before long, he (Munna) confessed to three murders over the last month, bodies that had been found among the tetrapods.

It's a strange, sad story. For one thing, Munna was unemployed and homeless. He had come to Bombay in search of work. He and a friend in similar circumstances, Asid, seem to have been living on Marine Drive. At least, until Munna got fed up with Asid's demands that Munna return the money he (Munna) had borrowed from him. Munna stabbed Asid to death and threw his body under the tetrapods. Helping him in this ghoulish effort was one Rupesh Waghmare, also apparently unemployed and homeless. But Rupesh began blackmailing Munna over the murder, trying to extort money. So Munna killed him and threw his body under the tetrapods as well. But someone else saw this happening. So Munna killed him in turn, and that body ended up under the tetrapods too. (This person has not been identified yet).

This much, and this is already a small Bombay story. But there's one more little detail. Apparently a police team "patrolled" the area for a while, searching for the murderer. "During this time," says the news report, "they came across hundreds of homeless people who had come to Mumbai from all across the country to look for jobs."

In that innocuous sentence is some essence of this great city, this great cruel city. This is one enormous magnet for every kind of Indian in search of work, and then they can't find homes.

Some kill others around them. One of those gave himself away by slinking around. A small Bombay story, that's all.


wise donkey said...

just so sad and meaningless it seems. and yet we r talkin about human lives here.

btw congrats on winnin the outlook non fiction contest.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Just noticed this as well ... thanks again, Wise D! Outlook was supposed to have published the essay last week, now it isn't in the current issue either. Maybe next week... who knows. But thanks for noticing.