The streets were bloody once again. Any local lad might have found this all too commonplace, but for Saif, who had set his foot on the soil of Krishnapura (or, Rizwanpur, as one half of its population stoutly declared) just two days back, it all seemed new; and scary.
Krishnapura, a small town on the shores of Mangalore, was a riot filled locality. Fight was as common as food in this multi communal non-entity. Whenever the soothing evening air got punctuated with hoarse cries of “Allah ke naam pe” or “Jai Shree Ram” the wisest thing one could do was to scamper into his house and shut the door. But, being new to this entire furor, Saif found himself suddenly in the middle of the street with a horde of menacing looking thugs advancing towards him, each of them in possession of a Thalwar, or, sword.
With a bout of apprehension he looked around for any means of escape. Unfortunately there were none. Every door was shut and the only way out was to run in the opposite direction as fast as his feet could muster. But he knew that he won’t last long against these hooligans if he decided to make a run for it. He had barely turned back when a long line of shadows fell before him. They had stopped.
“Oi!!” one of them shouted. “Are you a Hindu or a Musalmaan?”
Saif knew that there was no way he could answer that question correctly. His eyes searched the aggressors in front of him for any ‘religious’ clues. Nobody wore a tell-tale Kullah or a bright teeka which would have made things easier for him. He had to think of something fast. He looked ahead of the thugs.
He could see a row of beautiful banana trees, their broad leaves swaying with such uniformity that it gave the impression of a long wavy green blanket. Above this he could see a cluster of hazy white clouds being gently pushed about by intermittent winds. Above this, spread a scenic orange glow that could be brought to the sky only by the twilight sun. There lay the answer, before his very eyes. With a glint in them, he looked at his nemeses.
“I am an INDIAN”, he said proudly.