To the readers of the Madras Mail, Kuyil was just another news item. Another dead girl in the dying world, another strike for the death God’s counter, another entry in the poverty commission survey; hunger death.
Hunger death is what the news item said, even the editor who published the news story wouldn’t admit that there was something wrong about how a girl was found dumped in the mass of daily waste, and even hunger wouldn’t force someone to die there. After all, would hunger be that cruel; the editor thought as he gulped the remaining tea from a printed paper cup which said, ‘CRUSH ME AFTER USE’
But to the mind now inspecting a small speck of brain cells neatly taped microscopically to a glass slide, covered to visible perfection; Kuyil was a prototype, to narrate more of the truth; she would have been a prototype if only there had been time.
There had been conspiracies, loud voices that no one cared on secret experiments, almost as exciting as the ones the writers in Bombay and Hyderabad could cook up, yes almost. Only that it was real.
The mind walked to a nearby stationary cabinet, searching for a pencil, silently muttering the name of invisible assistants for not having the pencils in the right state to write, as it inserted the floral patterned pencil into the electric sharpener, the eyes that came with the mind slowly shifted from the cabinet to the lined experiment files, yellow color indicated not only the cheapness of the file; but of the experiment.
The eyes stayed on the file which read RE101, smiled thinking about what RE101 would be doing right now.
Not far away.
RE101 had just taken a mouthful of fried white rice, which was making its way through the food pipe of a changing being.
“Meeting in fifteen minutes” The officer said while he walked past adjusting his starched khaki cap.
“You know I don’t attend meetings”
“Weekly review meeting, status reports to be discussed” read the co-existing officer from a half paper invite
“Dissected should be the word” Maran said quite loudly, his otherwise low voice filled the hundred year old police hall whose lofty windows brought in light making it looking more like a cathedral than a crime bureau.
“So you’re going to leave an empty chair in the meeting?”
“My name in that hall only has value in that wooden name board that sits static, just like me” this time he was harsher than ever previous.
Maran was unusually obedient, his work level smiley had reached skyscraper peaks at one point but they can be non-existent at other times, his career orientation graph looked a desert shrub; complex but adequate.
So much for statistics, he stroked another slant line to make a physical note and changed his online messenger status to ‘out for coffee’
He walked passed quickly so that the other officer might not hear, “A policeman without a case, is no policeman”
“The computerization of the police force is not the first step in the modernization of it, but it is a railing which will be constantly present in our path towards progress” the Commissioner of police allowed himself a pause, removing slowly the pink lid used to cover a glass of water, he was actually waiting for the rest seated around him to appreciate the analogy he had made with stairs and railings, the ones seated close to him moustached and eyeing for future favours laughed and clapped, the far end of the table nodded justly.
“As for the weekly reports and follow-ups, the numbers have been quite, I am sad to day depressing” this time he sipped a few milliliters of waters. “I know we do not work strictly on mathematics and it is not right to expect every move to result in a case being closed, but it is what we do and I would only engage you to act on them with urgency” he could almost recite it, he finished the rest of the water, gulping them in globules as if it would dissolve the guilt slowly growing in his stomach, the rest of the crime police were just happy that the meeting was over.
“Where’s Maran?” the Commissioner asked to the nearest colleague, before the man could answer he said “I want in him in my office”
In practiced italics she wrote ‘every story begins with an orphan’ her new diary, her only hope for a confession, her only blessing in a long time was a well hidden ball point pen which could slip in and hide inside whatever that she was wearing.
Fears that she had never even dreamed of surfaced. ‘What if the ball point pen was exhausted, how would she complete this?’ Her story was too long, where would she start? She looked at the grey ceiling of the room that would eventually suffocate her. With increased tension she wrote, “Every story begins with an orphan, we found her playing on the banks of a dying river. She said her name was Kuyil”
And then came the footsteps.