Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ctrl-Z (Part-II)

The room was filled with the loud western music that was playing outside. He was at hotel Raj Palace in Jaipur with Avkaash and his wife to attend a wedding. He entered his hotel room after drinking more than he could manage. Avkaash had passed out already and was fast asleep in his room. "Control, you have to help me. I don't think there is anyone out there who can help me. You are his best friend. It's not working out between him and me. We are poles apart. It was a bad decision on my side to marry him. My mind is not working. I was trying to talk to you for some time now but could not. Avkaash is a control freak and it's very hard for me to live with a man like that. He is a good man but he is so insecure in our relationship. I cannot simply sit at home and become a house wife just because he is not comfortable me talking to or meeting other people" Veeraangana said sobbingly sitting on his bed. His head was spinning. He held her hand as she looked at him with her big weepy eyes. She looked beautiful. Control had never thought of sleeping with another woman but alcohol has the power to make you do things you never imagined. It removes inhibitions. It gives you courage, something Veeraangana needed to express her angst. It makes you see what you want to see. That night Control did not see Veeraangana in her room, he saw Raatri. She got up and hugged him. His shirt was wet with her tears. He caressed her hair and that's when he altered the course of future. "Please don't cry. He loves you very much and you know that. I will talk to him right away. Please stay in my room" he said and walked out.

He got in Avkaash's room and woke him up. "Avkaash, I just had a chat with Veeraangana. She is in deep pain. She might be thinking of divorce. You need to give her some space and spice up your relationship" he said. "And who the fuck are you? Her lawyer? Wait a minute, where is she? Is she in your room?". I nodded. "What was she doing in your room at the first place?". "I am just trying to help you guys". "So you are here taking her side. What are you up to? You want to see me divorced, don't you? What is cooking between you guys? You call me your best friend and then you have the courage to tell me that I need to divorce my wife", an emotional and furious Avkaash said, his wild imagination induced by alcohol. "No, Avkaash I am..."

The Beatles were still playing. Ten minutes were over. Control tried to remember the course of events. Avkaash and Veeraangana had left the hotel early that morning. He was not aware of what transpired between the two of them that night. He tried to approach Avkaash to explain to him that his intentions were always good and nothing happened that night when Veeraangana was in his room but all in vain. Things seemed to be coming back on track when Veeraangana called him up again to tell him how deeply she regretted talking to him that night. That was the final nail in the coffin. It was not as if he completely got out of touch with Avkaash. Both of them after all worked in the same office. He had lost his best friend though. It hurt him.

India won the inaugural T20 world cup. Control would have usually seen this high profile game between India and Pakistan with Avkaash but today he watched the entire game sitting at home pondering over what had transpired. "My intention was to simply resurrect a night gone wrong. I wanted to come out of the deep remorse. There was nothing wrong that I was trying to do". He got rid of one pain to find himself engulfed in a new one. Which one hurt him more? He could not decide. Pain at the end of the day is pain. He changed to a news channel that was going gaga over the Indian victory. Ajay Jadeja was on air claiming he had full faith that India would win. "Giving the last over to Joginder Sharama was a master stroke in my opinion" he said gushing. The news ticker flashed "Six billion US dollars rumoured at stake during the World Cup final in betting". Control made himself a drink and said to himself "Time to make some cold hard cash". He was back to his chair, the cockpit of his plane.

"Sensational start!" exclaimed an excited David Lloyd on air. Yusuf Pathan had dived into his crease to make his ground running a tight single on the very first ball of the match. Control picked up his cell phone and dialled a number. A good police man always has his connections. "What are the odds of an Indian win?". "It's 3/4 now that Sehwag is not playing", replied the man on the other side of the phone. "OK, ten lacs on an India win" said Control calmly. There were loud cheers from the crowd as the third umpire ruled Yusuf Pathan not out. Control put down the phone and smirked. He was not as excited as he was the first time he had seen the third umpire make that decision. Control clenched his right fist and pumped it in air as the debutant Pathan expectedly hit the fourth ball of the match for a massive six.

"You can't gamble that big in a world cup final, that too the last over. You have to go with what's tried and tested. Harbhajan should have bowled the last over". Control was sipping scotch and sitting in his sofa watching news. His cell phone was buzzing. Ajay Jadeja was upset over Dhoni's decision to give the last over to Joginder Sharama whom he considered to be a rookie and questioned his selection in the team. The drink slipped out of his hand. He was bemused. "How is this possible? India had won the game. What the hell is happening?". The phone was buzzing again. Control finally picked up the phone. "When do I send my man to pick up ten lacs?". Control could not sleep that night. He was restless and a bundle of nerves lying in his bed. "I must have missed something". He got up and got the instruction manual out once again. After a couple of hours of going through the instructions many times and thinking about what his father had told him he unearthed Ctrl-Z's unsaid law. "What a fool I have been? How could I? It was so obvious". All one could control with Ctrl-Z was one's own decision. You have no control over anything outside that. The transport controller would pick a random forward path to put you in a universe. The only thing you controlled was your decision. The universe Control found himself in was a universe where India had lost the finals and he had lost ten lac rupees. "I have to be very careful with Ctrl-Z. It is a double edged sword. I need to watch my steps closely".           

It was a poor start. The experience of losing his best friend and ten lac rupees had made him wary of the device. He was skeptical of using the device to undo a major event. "This device only gives a false sense of control. In reality I let the transporter decide the future path and make decisions on my behalf. Where is the control in that? What exactly am I controlling here? Who's controlling whom here? I am just a speck in the dust. Changing my little decision doesn't change anything in the overall scheme of things. I thought I would control the time, instead I let myself be controlled. I need to define my own rules to control Ctrl-Z".

For the next week he did not use the device. Instead he spent all his time brainstorming how best to use the power he had at his hand. "I will perfect the art of using it". He penned down whatever he could remember from his conversations with his father and read the instruction manual again and again. Sitting in his office he would make notes and then trash them. "What are you up to Control? What has happened to you? There are at least five cases that are pending investigation and I see no progress in them. You come in late, leave early or don't come in at all. I wish I never referred you for a promotion" shouted Assistant Commissioner of Police Zoraavar Singh angrily. Zoraavar was Control's annoying tyrant boss. "Man all this guy wants to do it control. Everybody in this world seeks control but I will come up trumps" Control thought. He picked up his notes and said, "Sir, please excuse me. Just give me a couple of days. I will be back with a bang". With that he walked out of his office.  

Exactly after two weeks having thought through all the scenarios Control had the new set of rules. "These rules will allow me to control Ctrl-Z". He had neatly penned down these rules on the instruction manual itself.

9. The farther back you go in time, the more the possibilities that emerge out of the undo event. Therefore don't try to undo an event that's very old unless it is absolutely necessary.

10. Always remember that one event leads to another. In case you have to undo something that is way back in past, try to find the best event to undo. There will be other events that lead to the event you are trying to undo and it might be a better option to undo one of them.  

11. You only control your decisions, not anybody else's. The present does not indicate how other's decisions will shape up when you get transported to a new universe after the undo event. So don't ever rely upon them. 

It was not easy but over a period of time Control came to terms with how to best use Ctrl-Z. Raatri was 2 months pregnant and her desire for sex fluctuated. Control loved the days she was in mood. He felt the unborn and could not wait for the day he would become a father. Raatri had become irritable with each passing day due to her pregnancy. He hated to do anything, no matter how little that would annoy her. He cared for her a lot and wanted her to be completely stress free. If he did something that annoyed her he would immediately go back and undo it. He was contempt with what he could do with Ctrl-Z. The urge to go way back in past and undo something's that he regretted was there but he was able to suppress it. Everything was smooth. The way it was supposed to be.

"Control, you are a useless fellow. You sissy, you let him run away right in front of your eyes. You should wear bangles if you cannot catch an unarmed man. You could have shot him" Zoraavar screamed. Control was out to catch a drug peddler but his team had failed to nab him. "Sir, there was public around. I just couldn't shoot him and besides we wanted to catch him alive. He could have been helpful for us to catch the drug lords" Control explained. "Oh! Shut up! Don't give me these lame excuses. You could have aimed at his leg. A police man has to trust his aim" Zoraavar banged his fists on the table. The entire team was seated speechless heads down in Zoraavar's office. "You have not achieved anything in your life and neither are you capable of it. Are you sure you are a man?" Zoraavar squalled again. "What has this guy achieved in life? I can't think of a case he has solved. Just because I report into him he thinks he can make me sit here and listen to his bullshit. My time will come one day and I will give it all back to him. I am not going to take this humiliation. But right now at this moment I have no other choice but to bite the bullet" Control thought. He thought of Ctrl-Z and going back in time to shoot the drug peddler but he did not want to take that chance knowing very well the unpredictability of doing the same. "Ctrl-Z is useless, I should simply throw it away". "Say something you idiot" said Zoraavar. It was then that it struck him. 

Control got up from his chair. "Let me tell you something sir. It's not me who hasn't achieved anything. I caught Babu. He made you run like a toothless cat and you had no clue on how to get hold of him. That's when you gave that case to me. If there is anybody in this room who hasn't achieved anything then it's you. You became ACP only because you have licked everyone's ass in the department" Control said venting out all his frustration. "How dare you speak to your senior like that? Do you know what can I do?". Control laughed, "What will you do? Fire me, please go ahead. I don't fucking care". Zoraavar who had not expected such a reaction stood there confused as Control picked up a paper weight lying on the table and threw it towards Zoraavar with full force. It almost cracked Zoraavar's skull. Zoraavar crashed on the table. Control pounced on him and punched him in his nose. He struck him again and again with his revolver's butt and left him unconscious. His entire team stood there, not moving an inch. No one knew what was going on and didn't know how to respond. Control looked at his puzzled team and laughed. "Take it easy guys".

Back in his office he was ready for a small journey. The tension in the room was still the same. "Say something you idiot" said Zoraavar. "I am sorry sir, I promise you I will catch him soon". "I hope you do, otherwise I am going to be very hard on all of you". The meeting was dispersed.

Control rushed to his room and picked up Ctrl-Z's case. "What an idiot I have been? The power of undo is useless. What's gone is gone. Who cares? Who would want to control the past? It's the ability to control the present that matters. It's today that I found the real use of Ctrl-Z. I have cracked its code" he laughed. He picked up the instruction manual and tore it apart.

Every time after that day whenever Zoraavar annoyed him he would beat him black and blue and simply undo it. That was not the only thing that he used Ctrl-Z for. With every passing day he found new ways of using Ctrl-Z. Indian cricket team was in Australia and he had devised a formula to bet. A formula that would ensure that worst case he would not lose any money. It was simple. He placed his bet and didn't blink an eye if the team he put his money on won the game. In the event of the team losing however, he would simply undo placing the bet. The upside was huge and there was virtually no down side.   

Devil always finds its way. No one knows if there is God in each one of us but the devil does sleep with in. An opportunist animal that remains in deep slumber. It wakes up when the time is right. Control did not realize but the desire to do took him over completely. It also took over the desire to undo. Devil makes its offerings difficult to resist. "Control is not in the ability to undo, it's in the ability to do! Ctrl-Z allows me to do stuff. The way I want to" he would think. Cricket bets made him money but he didn't like the possibility of not making anything if his team lost. The matches anyways were few and far between. He started to hatch a plan to make millions in one shot.

Enjoying his ability to do what he liked he firmed up the modalities of his plan and got back from work early one fine evening. He was extremely happy and was planning to surprise Raatri by getting in early and wanted to take her out for dinner. Even before he entered his house he sensed trouble. The house was in total mess. It seemed as if some wild animals had trampled across it. Not a thing was missing but everything was where it was not supposed to be. He sensed a burning smell coming in from the kitchen. He got his gun out and slowly walked towards the kitchen. The gas stove was turned on and whatever was being cooked was completely burned. With the gun still in his hand he walked worriedly towards the bedroom. He peeped in. The room was painted complete red with fresh blood.

(To be continued....)

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