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Kundhanlal, The Crowd Puller By Sushi

Discussion in 'Stories (Fiction)' started by sushi, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. sushi

    sushi Silver IL'ite

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    Friends ! This story I wrote for my blog 'BLACKBOLDILALICS' but then thought why not share it with my friends here in Indus Ladies. One more thing to mention is, I have not completed the story. I would like you to participate in the final part of the story i.e solving the mystery behind the death of Kundhanlal.

    Kundhanlal, the Crowd Puller
    It was a lazy Sunday morning and as always I got up late and with a cup of coffee and Hindu newspaper was grazing through the pages without giving attention of any particular news. There was enough time for serious reading and now is the time to relax – I was telling myself sipping my hot coffee. Then I heard the commotion on the park in front of the balcony. I stood up to look what was happening. I saw a police van and ambulance standing at the entrance of the park. A huge crowd was gathering and there was such a noise as if everyone was talking to everyone. Then the police started dispersing the crowd with lathis in hand and as the crowd moved I could see a body hanging from the Peepal tree that had spread its branches even into the compound of the building.

    I was so shocked and just wearing a fresh shirt went down and in few seconds I was in the park. I was doubtful about being let in but when I saw my friend Inspector Totuwal attending to the case, I was relieved Inspector Totuwal was a giant of a man 6.2 ft. tall and physique to go with it. He had a long nose and as always, my mind came with the thought that how he has aptly named as Totuwal. (Totha means parrot in hindi) He gestured me to come in and as I entered I could clearly see the body hanging from the tree. My heart stopped for one minute as I saw the swollen face of Kundhanlal, the popular magician staring at me. When I turned around I could see many in the crowd which consisted of residents from the nearby slums crying uncontrollably. I could understand their feelings because Kundhanlal performed all his magic free for them every Sunday. I had seen him coming to the park every Sunday and perform in front of the huge crowd. He was such a good magician that sometimes people from our building which has upper middle class residents also stood with the slum residents to view his magic. He never took any penny from anybody and never talked to anyone. He will just come with his attendants , one man and one female who helped him in his magic performance and after the show, they all left in the same car they came. His attendants would explain the tricks and never ever talked anything other than the magic tricks to be performed. He never showed any emotions except while performing his magic tricks when he used to joke and address the kids in the crowd. Many in the crowd tried to speak to him but he will just smile and move away. We came to know his name was Kundhanlal only because during the show he always used to mention his name as Kundhanlal. He was a crowd-puller, no doubt, but never mingled with the crowd. There were lots of rumours going on about him . Someone had found out that he was a software personnel working in the town nearby. Someone had a story to tell that he lost his whole family in a car accident and hence was performing magic to forget his sorrows. But no one could tell for sure why he was taking pains to come every Sunday and entertain the crowd with his magic show free of cost. My thoughts were broken by Inspector Totuwal ordering the body to be brought down after performing the necessary formalities While the body was brought, I could hear the crowd wailing and crying uncontrollably.

    I asked Inspector when he had a moment to spare as to why the man committed suicide – the answer from Inspector Totuwal was “ How do you conclude it is a suicide – it could be murder too – “ Yes” I thought to myself and then again more questions as to why someone would kill this gem of a person. .By that time all the police formalities were completed and after the body was taken to the ambulance, Inspector Totuwal looked at me quizzically as if to ask “what to do think, Sherlock Holmes? “ He knew I am a writer and had written some crime thrillers too. I just looked at him blankly as if to let him know that “ Wait till I come with a story” - But while all these exchange of thoughts were going on, I was actually telling him “ Inspector – please keep me informed , I am interested in this case. As long as he was alive, nobody knew anything about him and he was a mystery man but let his death also need not become a mystery. I would like to know for sure whether it is a suicide or murder and whatever be it, I would like to know the reason behind it too” Inspector Totuwal nodded absentmindedly and I could understand that his mind is already planning the next course of action.

    I left the park as the police cars were leaving and as I entered my building, I turned back as if something or someone was beckoning me from behind and as I turned my heart skipped a beat for that moment. I could see her moving away into the crowd . Even though she had covered her face with a scarf, I could recognize her from her powerful blue eyes and her sporty gait which I had always used to admire in my mind. Our eyes met and I somehow felt she was frightened and the next moment she disappeared in the crowd. However, I searched to find her in the crowd, it was futile and she had vanished. Yes – she was one of the attendant who used to help Kundhanlal, the magician. My mind debated as to whether I should tell about her to Inspector Totuwal, but the writer in me wanted to find out more about her on my own and as always the writer succeeded. I knew all the answers for this mystery lay with the blue eyed damsel but how to find her was the million dollar question. I went home and while I had my breakfast, my thoughts were on how to find the damsel who will give the finishing touch to the story that was painfully nagging the writer in me.

    I was just playing with the remote trying to fix my thoughts on the TV show, I heard the bell ring. ‘Who can be at this time of the day?” was my first thoughts as I hardly get any visitors at my home. I opened the door to stare at the blue eyed beauty who just entered hurriedly into the house and closed the door. I was taken aback by the whiteness of her face as if the blood has totally drained out of her body and the blue eyes showing a hollow as if totally filled with fear. I could see she was visibly trembling and I pointed to a chair for her to sit and gave her a glass of water. She calmed down a little and asked for more water. I offered a cup of tea that was kept in a flask and I could see her face getting to normal as she sipped the tea slowly.

    I knew she had come to me to seek some help from me and my mind debated as to whether I should get into this or not. As can be seen, she had something to do with the murder or suicide of Kundhanlal and whichever way, she was in trouble and trying to help her or even being with her may create trouble for me. But all these thoughts were hushed up by the curious writer in me who was dying to write one more thriller story and what else can be more thrilling to get the story from the horse’s mouth itself.

    I waited for her to totally calm down and then asked her the reason for her coming to my home. She said ‘ Saheb! I have been seeing you during our shows and you seem to be more educated and gentleman who can help me. Moreover, I saw you talking to the policeman – so I came to you”.

    I just told her to calm down and asked her the million dollar question i.e abut the death of Kundanlal – whether it was suicide or murder . Her reply threw me top to the ceiling and brought me down. She replied that ‘Saheb ! It was an accident” - I just stared at her unbelievingly as if to ask “ how can anyone die with the rope tied on his neck on the top of a tree accidentally?” Seeing my look she smiled wryly and said “ I will tell you the whole story, Saheb – then only you will understand.” she told the story in her own way – many a times I found there were some loose ends but then what else can be expected from a totally frightened lady? But the most surprising information I received was that the blue eyed beauty whom I had been thinking as an attendant of Kundhanlal, was actually his wife.

    I have used my imagination based on bits of information given by Ujwala and have come up with a story about Kundhanlal, the magician. All these days myself and all the other residents in our colony used to wonder why he was performing high quality magic for the slum dwellers without taking even a penny – Ujwala told me bit by bit what she knew about Kundhanlal and I finally came to know more about Kundhanlal and what a man he was !! Only one title came to my mind i.e Kundhanlal - the Crowd Puller. First I thought of writing the whole story in one part and then thought why not give the readers some food for thought and why not allow them to solve the case as to why Kundhanlal was found dead hanging from the tree and why Ujwala called it an accident. Second final end will be released after getting the feedback from the readers. Now to

    Kundhanlal - the Crowd Puller.

    When Kundhanlal was born after three girls, there was great rejoicing the family of famous magician MihirLal. Sweets were distributed to all the residents in the street they lived. 7th street in Sowkarpet in Chennai wore a festive look -why not - Kundhanlal was born after so much longing by not only the parents but both the living grandparents, aunts and uncles too. Mihirlal's family had been shifted to Chennai when he was just two years old. But even though his parents were living in Chennai, he lived with his Uncle M. Lal, the world famous magician. M. Lal, the uncle had only two daughters and he took Mihir lal as his heir to be taught all the magical tricks and Mihir lal did not fail him too. When Mihir lal was 21, he was competent enough to perform on his own and travelled all over the world- By the time he had married Shyama, M.Lal's daughter and had shifted his base to chennai to be with his parents too. When the first three daughters were even Shyama and Mihirlal were happy but heart of heart they wanted to have a son as the heir for the huge property.

    So Kundhan's birth became almost like the birth of a prince and as Kundhan grew up he was sent to the best schools in Chennai as Mihirlal wanted his son to become a doctor or engineer unlike him - Though Mihir lal had learnt to speak good English and converse like a hifi educated person due to his global interactions as Magician, still heart of heart he had a grouse about not going to proper schools or colleges. Mihir lal though uneducated lived a grand life and always mingled with the high level rich in the society. He became the coveted member of race club, cosmopolitan club and had started believing and acting like a spoilt neo rich. He was averse to mixing with middle class society and wanted all his children to follow him in his views. His daughters were totally spoilt spending their time and wealth beauty parlours and numerous fancy stores buying clothes and cosmetics which they used once or twice and let it remain unused. Education for them, Mihir Lal never bothered as he thought daughters were there to be cared and married to a family which met their status.

    But Mihirlal wanted Kundhan to be a different person from his own self and urged him to study. He never even allowed him to learn the tricks of magic which was in his blood. Kundhan though was good in his studies but was interested in learning magic which was in his genes probably and tried to spend as much time with his father when he was training his subordinates during practice sessions. Even though Mihir lal disapproved Kundhan's interest in Magic still he could not avoid Kundhan being with him as he liked his son to be with him all the time. Moreover,as Kundhan studied quite well he did not have any complaints about him.

    All this was going on well, till Kundhan entered his engineering degree for which he had to shift to Pilani where he got his admission. Even though Mihir Lal was ready to set up a house for him with cook and servants or even ready to send his wife for a while to take care of kundhan, Kundhan was in favour of staying in the hostel with his friends and at times Kundhan could be really adamant and so Mihir lal had to give in to him. But never would Mihirlal have thought sending him to pilani would cost him his son.

    All was well with the studies till the first semester. But after first semester, Kundhan joined the NSS (National Service Scheme) group of the engineering college, as extra curricular activities He started taking active role in NSS and soon became the leader of his unit. NSS made him visit the rural villages where the poor lived on hand to mouth conditions. Till that time he had never mingled with the lower rung of the society and once he started mingling with them, he was startled to know how the poor lived . He was appalled to see the vast difference between the living conditions of rich and the poor and he could never digest the fact that his family's one day meal could serve a poor family for 10 days.

    His being in NSS got him some very good friends too - some his college mates and some from the village, his NSS group had adopted - He and his friends started evening classes for the old and even for the children who had to work with their parents for daily bread. He started entertaining the children with his magic tricks too and he became quite popular among the village folks especially the children. But all this had affected his studies and his second semester marks had fallen low too. His father was summoned by the Principal and Mihir lal got so angry with Kundhan when he learnt that his NSS activities were hindering his studies. Mihir Lal went to the extent of ordering his son to resign from NSS group and he made the principal agree to this wish too.

    After Mihir lal's visit, Kundhan kept quiet for some time and tried to concentrate on his studies. But his mind was always on the good times he had with his friends and the children. Again he approached the Principal and discussed with him his mental dilemma and sought permission to join NSS but promising to concentrate on his studies too. This went on till the fourth semester and during this period, Ujwala , the bright girl from the village had joined first year BITS, her fees and other expenses being taken care of by the village trust. Ujwala also became NSS member and as she was from the same village, she became more closer to Kundhan due to their travelling together and working together. They thought they were just good friends but both of them also understood they needed each other.

    Kundhan was in the final semester, when Mihir Lals Magic group came to perform in the state of Rajasthan on invitation by several corporate houses and were to give a performance in Pilani too. Till that time, only close friends of Kundhan lal knew that he was the son of Mihir Lal as he had kept it to himself. When the banners were seen about the Mihir Lals magic show, the children of the adopted village were so enthusiastic to see the magic show as they had never seen any such show.

    Then Kundhan Lal thought about a bright idea to take the 50 and odd children to his father's magic show and surprise them. He had selected a week day afternoon show in a big corporate hall so that the 50 and odd children could be accommodated in the gallery without affecting the crowd who had purchased the tickets. Ujwala and one or two close NSS friends also accompanied him without knowing that Mihir lal was his father.

    He had asked the children to get their best dress and had arranged a school bus too with his friends and took them the hall where the magic show was scheduled. He had not even a bit of doubt about taking the children to the show as he thought it was his father's magic show and like he and his sisters entered free and watched the magic show so the 50 and odd children would be allowed to enter free.

    He reached the entrance and after stopping the bus asked the children to get down and stand in a 'Q' and started entering the hall. By then he was stopped by the security guard ( who naturally did not know who kundhan was) who asked him to show the tickets for the children . Kundhan lal said they don't need the tickets as he was bringing them to watch the show. The security guard was adamant and Kundhan lal was getting red in face when all this was happening in front of the children who were also getting a little unruly. Seeing the commotion the manager came from inside and recognised Kundhan lal but he said he had only authority to allow Kundan to enter and not all the children. Hearing this Kundhan got so angry he said, he would talk to his father but by then someone had informed Mihir Lal himself about the happening and he himself came to the entrance.

    Seeing his father, Kundhan Lal thought now everything will be settled and children will be able to see the show free of cost but to his dismay, Mihir Lal said that he was not in a position to allow the children to watch the show free of cost. If he allowed his show to be watched by the poor free of cost, then it is only disgrace to his magic show. Village children if they want to see any show then they should have money to pay or they can watch it being performed by street performer.

    These words infuriated Kundhan Lal as he felt miserable seeing the enthusiastic faces of children who had all the dreams of watching a magic show in big hall like big people. He challenged his father saying that if he (Mihir Lal) did not allow the children to watch the show free of cost in the hall then they would be seeing it performed in each street by his own son (Kundhan) free of cost. Mihir Lal was adamant as he felt allowing such children to watch his show with the elite and rich crowd waiting to watch his show would only be disgracing not only to his show but also to the elite crowd waiting to watch his show. He just turned and went back without even uttering a word to his son. By then, he had thought it was futile to convince his son in the mood he was in and also was not willing to create a scene in front of those who were in awe with his magic. He had all the faith that in time he can convince his son as he always believed that money is the medicine to cure anything. But he was not aware that his blood flew in his son too and as he was adamant so his son too.

    Kundhan somehow convinced the children by taking them to a nearby resort and getting them some delicacies too and promised them they will get to see a better magic performance from him at the village itself. Ujwala was so surprised to know that he was the son of such an illustrious father and her interest in him grow more too and she started showing him affection and spending more time with him. Even Kundhan became so attached to her as he thought no one can be so simple and beautiful at the same time.

    Soon he passed with merit and got a plush assignment with a corporate house - He was good at his work and soon earned the goodwill of the management. But he never took part in any activities which his colleagues were busy after office hours and never mingled with any of this colleague. He was nicked as ' Rishi' in the office. But only few of his friends knew that after work and during holidays and sometimes taking leave , he was performing special magic shows in the village schools and parks for the children free of cost. He never took any money for his performance but there was always the crowd to watch his performance because the tricks he did were so enthralling - He said to himself " Pappa -now you should come and see me perform and how much my shows are appreciated - I know your business mind will calculate how much this show can earn if there were tickets but the satisfaction I get when my shows get applauded by the street children cannot be measured with money value. One day I will perform that trick in the street itself which will be appreciated one day by none other than you".

    Every time he performed he tried to include one trick which was very unique and always saw to it that the local newspaper had a column about him. He always knew in mind that his father would be reading about what he was doing and one day or other he will come to meet him. That day also came...

    (To be concluded)

     
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  2. sushi

    sushi Silver IL'ite

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    kundanlal.jpg

    This was the picture to go with the story, Kundhanlal, the crowd puller. somehow it did not get attached.
    Hence, now for your eyes.
     
  3. lazy

    lazy Silver IL'ite

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    Waiting for the next update. Btw story was too good
     
  4. sushi

    sushi Silver IL'ite

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    thanks a lot for your patience. I was waiting for some of the member to complete the story. I will wait for a week .
     
  5. creativemumma

    creativemumma Gold IL'ite

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  6. blissfull

    blissfull Silver IL'ite

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    @sushi What happened that day, is that a murder or Suicide?
     

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