Tuesday 10 August 2021

Shiqran Sharfuddin, ShortStory 2021 Longlist

The English Bulldog!

Early winter, 2020

Udupi District, Karnataka

Unbroken expanse of darkness had already unfurled on the night skies and the shimmering stars hid themselves behind the veil of miasmal smoke; ogler moon was caught grinning at the fellowmen’s yearnings- few highly intoxicated by the wines and spirits were murmuring their sufferings in the deserted parks and few had injected drugs into their bodies. The circuitous crazy town, Bangalore- which never relaxes and works rudderless even at the Sunday nights is clammy and unsavoury. There are, unarguably, two breeds of dog in Bangalore: The African Wild Dogs – busy as beavers and other being The English Bulldog – the bone loafers ‘Molowa’!! Corporate kings, who actually ruled the town, snatched away the peace of minds of their employees. In order to earn their daily bread, the compelled graduates and postgraduates (Sometimes Doctorate degree holders too) toil like the madmen in the air conditioned cabins throughout the week; Even the women aren’t spared. The caged African Wild Dogs betray themselves thinking of achieving something big in those air-conditioned elegant cages. The elegant prisons disillusioned their employees- better to be called as ‘The Caged Parrots’ - as their paradises: An outstanding example for ‘Oasis’! Still, the life led working before the computer between the four walls is far better than the life led in dishonesty and dissemblance- Mohammad crusades, both ideologically and practically as well.

Mohammad, a withered employee in an IT sector, was an erudite man with strict principles and reputation. Financially, he might not be so sound, (How can an employee of IT sector think of being economically sound?); but ethically, he was quite sound; and in terms of fidelity, he had developed an uncompromising stand. He spoke and moved slowly with perfect control over his tongue and his private parts! - The Man of Noble Etiquettes. But, now as he returned home late, he was seen quite vehement…

His elder daughter- Fatimah, was on the prayer mat and had finished all the units of her prayers of night; she was reciting some holy phrases by turning the beads from a Misbaha- a string of beads used to count. His wife, whose name is still unknown for many- as Mohammad never unveiled her name to anybody, was hectic cooking food for the dinner. Even the folks of her neighbourhood hadn’t seen her face- as she had veiled herself from the head to toe, except two starry eyes. His younger son, Abdullah- who was uncomfortable from the evening, was completing his homework. As Abdullah saw his father entering the home, he leaped upon him like a spitting cobra and began weeping bitterly.

‘Abba, did you scold that bad uncle?’ the bereft son interrogated.

‘Yeah… Yeah…’ he unsuccessfully replied, ‘I scolded that…’

It was difficult for him to ease the art of lying before his children.

‘It’s too much… For now’ Mohammad thought gnashing his teeth,

‘I must start dictating the e-mail to the Commissioner of Police…How dare he slap my son?’

* * * * *

Flyleaf :

From: mohammad@yahoo.co.uk Sent: 16/06/2021 12:30 a.m.

To: compolbcp@ksp.gov.in

Subject: information regarding a most wanted criminal.

For the desk of:

His Excellency Mr. Kumar

The Commissioner of Police

Bangalore – Capital of crime-hub

The State of Karnataka

From the desk of:


‘The rebel with a cause’

A frustrated employee in IT sector


Mr. Commissioner,


Neither you nor your jawans know what actually is happening in our state; but there are certain strange happenings that I can inform you in private, See.

In fact, each time when you patrol the areas, you target the hideouts of criminals- like the deserted gardens for the drug racket and the old haunted buildings for the sex racket etc. But, now what I am going to dictate you is really going to surprise you!

Sir, today my son and his classmate quarrelled over a petty issue in the classroom and eventually, the father of that child- A preacher in Dargah slapped my son ruthlessly. Yeah, you might feel awkward to receive the complaint regarding a mere slap; but the consequence is quite interesting and spine chilling. Here it goes…

Two years ago, when my employer, Mr. James sent me and my two colleagues to Mumbai for an important meet, I saw a poster at the train station.


General Public is hereby informed by the police department that a man in the picture

Namely Waqas Khan Alias Chikne s/o Iqbal Khan- a butcher, is wanted for police interrogation.

Age: Around 35s. Complexion: Blackish. Face: Diamond. Height: Five feet six inches estimated. Build: Athlete Body.

Well, that’s not exactly working anymore. The picture of Chikne wasn’t seen clearly- as the quality of the photo wasn’t in high definition. The blackish thief like face is still true and is still preserved in my memory. The town Mumbai is so hectic in rudderless everyday tasks that everyone has totally forgotten their own faces. Even, the mirrors are waiting to see the happy faces to come before them and stare blankly for few moments. Then how come one remember the facial aspects of a criminal who was arrested long back- who later had broken the gate of the prison and faked another dead body as his own? Even some says I don’t know the truth, that a local politician too was involved in the gate break of the prison; Later, the politician helped the said criminal to go on an exile- somewhere far from the sight of law.

But let us go on, you don’t have all night. I know. I’d better explain you this briefly right now.

Waqas Khan Alias Chikne…

See, the name might interest your department; but is quite dangerous for the common people. Yes, he’s the one- who has never left any opportunity to commit crime to go in vain. From the expertise in pick-pocketing at this early years to gradually becoming a murderer! Yes, a murderer!

Waqas had left studies after writing his final examinations of second standard. He never came to third. What a lucky guy he was? Every morning and evening, he was supposed to roam about in our groves watering the trees and collecting the coconuts fallen from trees; He was also appointed to get the necessities from the nearby grocery store. Rest of the time, he loafed about the entire village, barefoot.

One day, I lost my pencil in classroom and feared to complain about it to my mother.

‘Waqas, I’ve lost my pencil’ I shared my fear with him, ‘lest my mother cane me and smart my palms’

‘Fear not, bro… I’ll solve your dilemma’ he consoled me calmly and walked out as if he has nothing to do with my fears.

Within half an hour, he walked in with his chest swelled in pride and placed a new pencil before me.

‘Here’s your pencil. Now, maalikin will not scold you’ He solved my complexity.

‘How come you get 10 annas for a pencil?’ I asked him.

‘I stole twenty five annas from Zafar Bhai today in market’ he replied proudly.

I gaped at his confidence and envied at the pocket money he earned through pick pockets every day.

At the age, when we were in fifth standard, he had already mastered the art of pick pocketing and other little crimes!

The odyssey of the part time criminal to a murderer wasn’t sculpted in a day! Chikne was my classmate in my first and second standard. I am ashamed to inform you that once we both lived in one home.

‘Maqaam e Aqsa’

The name stood tall in our village. The pride of my grandfather wasn’t less than a peacock ostentating in a rain forest- His dense beard, shaved moustache and big pot like tummy. He uniformed himself in a white lungi and jubbah of the same colour; his velvet black skull cap was like the crown of an emperor! He walked slowly with a big umbrella in his left hand and a big precious watch on the wrist. Though, the source of his income was the coconuts of our ancestor’s grove; but, he had invested enormous amount in fisheries. He occasionally smoked Hukka; sometimes he chewed the betel nuts- as a sign of his royalty. Though, our ancestral bungalow ‘Maqaam e Aqsa’ was built by my great grandfather, but was maintained by my grandfather. Honestly speaking, I don’t know my grandfather’s name. My parents called him ‘Abbajaan’ and the entire village called him, ‘Chachaji’. He had employed many employees to toil in our ancestral grove. ‘Narayan’ was his accountant, who maintained all the records of the fisheries and the coconuts as well. A gardener to maintain the grove, a watchman to guard our bungalow and a driver to drive his ambassador car; He also had employed ‘Iqbal Khan’ a teenager for the household chores. Iqbal was quite obedient and humble before my grandfather.

As the days rolled over, the leaves of calendar changed- so the faces. The moustache started sprouting on Iqbal’s face. As the days passed, our trust on Iqbal started strengthening and we began accepting him as our family member. He married and bought his wife too in our house. The couple lived in the storeroom amidst the cockroaches and the rats. The couple welcomed their child, Waqas, within a year of their glorious journey together in the storeroom. Myself, my cousin and Waqas were of same age and were good friends. We ate, played and walked to school together. The door of the storeroom wasn’t so good and one could peep into it. When we passed our first standard, and entered second, we both (me and my cousin) were made to sleep in another room. Waqas was made to sleep in the corridor.

One night, when everybody was sound asleep in our home, I felt thirsty and went to kitchen to drink water from the pot. One the way, when I came before the storeroom, I heard a woman’s pressurized cry- moans. As I peeped into the room, the red gloomy zero watt bulb glew lull and I saw Iqbal’s wife without clothes. Her body was quite different to mine. I had a flat chest, while her chests were quite larger and both were bouncing- as she was motioning her body sitting on a lying Iqbal. I saw her private parts- it was hairy and the organ I have was missing to her. Why was she undressed and was exercising with Iqbal’s organ into her opening, despite having the pain? I asked the questions to my cousin next day. He too didn’t know why actually Iqbal’s wife’s urinating organ was missing. Then onwards, every midnight we both creepily crawled to the storeroom to see the Iqbal’s wife’s missing organ and bouncy chests. One day, we both noticed that out little penises erected while seeing Iqbal’s wife’s missing organ. We didn’t dare to question neither Iqbal’s wife nor our elders, about her missing organ.

When a distant relatives visited our home, their little girl child pissed in her frock; her elder sister undressed the child to clean. Shockingly, the little girl child too was missing the urinating organ which we had. On questioning, her elder sister explained us that the private parts differs gender wise. Oh, then we understood why actually Waqas mother’s private part was missing! We didn’t dare to question her too about the exercise which Waqas mother does with Iqbal…

The suspect comes from the village of Gangolli, in the…

Like all good village stories, our story didn’t differ from others. Playing kabaddi on the banks of Arabian Sea, pelting stones on mango trees for the raw mangoes, sailing our paper boats on the running rivulets, eating ice candies etc were our daily forms of entertainment. The main source of income of our elders was coconut and fisheries. Our elders had enormous leisure time and spent most of time chitchatting everywhere- fish markets, sea shore, lanes and even in mosques- before and after the prayers. We didn’t know what actually they had so much to talk every time. On the other hand, our maths master caned us for talking in the class. What an injustice!

Whenever, we eavesdropped our ears between their discussions, we could hear only backbiting of each other and faux fabricated stories! The saga of their gossips has no boundaries and shameless men had nothing to do but to gossip like house-wives gathering at vegetable markets. Apart from gossiping, only work which they had to do is to issue fatwas on each and everything. Even if you use your left hand eat a raw mango, they scolded and pressurized us to utilize our right hands. Our classmates from other villages celebrated their birthdays, new years and other auspicious days. But, we were left with only tiresome fatwas. Gangolli is totally rotten to the core- A Theocratic State governed my mullahs with four wives!

…comes from the village of Gangolli, in the district of Udupi.

Udupi district, one of the top tourist attractions in Karnataka, is a paradise on Earth. It is notable for the Lord Krishna Temple and is also known as the temple city; Also, lends its name to the popular Udupi Cuisine, is also known as Lord Parashurama Kshetra, and is famous for Kanakana Kindi.

Kosambari- the dal salad, Koddelu Sambar, Avalakki Upkaar (Red Chilli poha), and Holiges (the sweet Pancake); the masterpiece that has stood the test of time, and is near perfect is the ‘masala dosa’, Udupi’s most delicious recipe. Popular desserts of the Udupi cuisine that is generally prepared during celebratory feasts as an alternative to Kesari Bath is Kashi Halwa. Oodles of butter and ghee flows in Udupi and the dry fruits are found by the street stalls.

Kaup Beach and Malpe Beach are the two utopias where poets dissolve themselves into cool breezes blown.

Pajaka, a beautiful village, is renowned as the birthplace of one of the most renowned philosophers of ancient India, Shree Madhwacharya. There’s also a banyan tree believed to have been planted by the Acharya himself. Visitors, in hordes, come here to capture the ancient sites that stand as archaeological evidence to the life and activities of Acharya in their diaries of memories. There is also a Vedic School where students are imparted education in Vedic and Sanskrit literature. The Kunjaragiri Durga Mandir is another place of significance. The temple is located on the top of a hill, which gives a splendid view of the surroundings.

The suspect was last seen wearing black chequered shirt, purple trousers and orange soles, and had dyed his Mohawk spike with light green…

‘Orange Soles’ – Ugh. Only the hawk eyed policeman could have made up such a detail like that. I really appreciate it.

‘Black chequered shirt, purple trousers and light green Mohawk spike’… er, well, I’d like to deny those too, but unfortunately they’re correct. Those are the kinds of clothes, sir that would appeal to a loafer’s eye. And the criminal identified was a loafer loafing about on the streets and eating pan masalas in the roadside tea stalls.

Now, there is one phrase in that poster that may does annoy your department – let me go back to a moment and throw some light upon it:

…son of Iqbal Khan, a butcher…

Mr. Iqbal Khan, the obedient servant of my grandfather, often dipped his beak into his wife. Even many a time, at mid night when I and my cousin used to see Iqbal and his wife exercising together undressed, we saw them both together going into the bathroom and bathing together. Whenever any child ran out without any underwear, elders used to humiliate him saying, ‘Shame… Shame’ but, here Iqbal and wife were totally undressed and were seeing each other’s shame… shame…! We didn’t understood what the fuck is happening with us and Iqbal’s family.

One day, many people came to our home dragging Iqbal to our home. Iqbal was seen beaten black and blue. People complained my grandfather that Iqbal was caught red-handed while peeping into somebody’s bathroom, while a teenager was bathing. She saw the silhouette of Iqbal and screamed to peak of her strength. People, frustrated from price hikes of daily necessities, unemployment, quarrels with their wives etc, cleaned their palms on Iqbal’s face and stomach. The angry violent mob thrashed ruthlessly and submitted him to my grandfather.

My grandfather, who was smoking hookah, put his head down in humiliation. Iqbal knelt before my grandfather and begged mercy-pardon to be bestowed upon him. But, my principled grandfather kicked him wearing his leather black king-shoes. That was the last day, we saw Iqbal’s wife undressed. From then onwards, we got peaceful night’s sleep!

Later, it was said that Iqbal started his meat stall in the Dargah lane and earned his daily butter and bread. Many times, it was heard that Iqbal was beaten callously for stealing rams and goats for the meat.

When I completed my graduation and came to Bangalore for employment, I forgot everything of my past. I purchased a two BHK flat here in BTM Layout, situated in South Bangalore, nearby the region of ITPL and Electronic City. I tied my knot to a noble girl from our neighbouring taluk, Byndoor and settled peacefully here in Bangalore. She blessed me with two beautiful children. Elder girl, Fatimah, is studying in seventh standard and is quite disciplined and younger boy, Abdulla is playful and naughty… Sigh! I have sowed discipline and principles into them, as father taught me. But, children after all make some mischief during their playtime.

…was caught in CCTV footages, walking from…

Sir, before going to rest of my mail, I humbly pray to your highness to go through this newspaper cut-out:

“LEASH LAW PASSED: Wanted Criminal was spotted in Bangalore”

Public Safety law puts criminals on Leash; this ought to have had happen says Superintendent of Police

Bangalore, Dec 9: The Govt of India passed a historic act ‘Leash Law’ to fight the crime rates in India. Criminals are captured throughout the nation and are interrogated for the further consequences. ‘This ought to have had happen’ The Superintendent of Police spoke to the press, last night.

A notorious criminal ‘Chikne’ charged with murder & a murder attempt charge was spotted walking in Bangalore, and was caught in the hawk eye of CCTV. Police have been alerted and are on the manhunt for the said criminal.

* * * * *

Yes Sir! Last fortnight, during winter session in parliament, the government of India passed Leash law to bring down the crime rates in the country. This is an outstanding act and even the oppositions have lauded it heartily. We common people breathed out the sigh of relief on going through this marvellous law. Yeah! And obviously crime rates fall down dramatically. Many suspects were taken into police custody and criminals were traced and captured into prison.

Set into the text of the notice, a photograph: blurred, blackened, and smudged by the antique printing press of some police office, and barely recognizable even when it was on the wall of the bus station, but now, transferred onto the computer screen, reduced to pixels, just an abstract idea of a criminal: A diamond face with coloured Mohawk hairdo and big staring eyes like the villains of Bollywood movies. He is not apart from the fearless criminals roaming on the streets like the wild buffaloes. Many a time, I’ve seen Mr. Commissioner, when they thump their feet on the middle of the roads, even the big vehicles come aside making the way out for them.

Looking at the unclear photograph of ‘Chikne’, I realized that this Chikne is none other than the son of Iqbal- Waqas Khan!!!

Trust me, Sir… Even I am surprised and expected to this catastrophe. I am surprised that the boy, with whom we played and dined together, has transformed into a notorious criminal with murder & murder-charges; on the other way round, it is expected ought to have had happen. The boy at the age of six and/or seven expertises himself in pick pocketing and stealing can grow to any heights at his juvenescence. I am really ashamed to confess before you that once this criminal used to gift me pencils and sugar candies. Even, if God and Law pardon me, I won’t be able to pardon myself for being in good terms with this criminal once upon a time.

…Kempe Gowda (Majestic) Bus Terminal KBS to Namma Metro Purple line [East-West Corridor]

The congested road connecting Kempe Gowda (Majestic) Bus station to Namma Metro Purple line [East-West Corridor] is always under repair. Just like the construction of flyovers all over the India; Always under construction! Behind the ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotel, starts a dirt road with pot holes everywhere.


The said name stands tall in the entire Urban and Rural state of Bangalore and even far beyond the boundaries- Apart from geographical boundaries, the boundaries of sex, race, religion etc. This architecture stands majestically above the holy grave of Syed Abdul Baari- A noble man, who once came to India to preach the philosophy of Islam and finally rested eternally here. Men and women from all the caste, race and place come here for their well being. To bless their new-born infants, to bless their start-ups, to inaugurate their homes etc people come here and get the talisman from His Holiness ‘Peer Dastagir’. People to cure their harms caused by the evil eyes, black magic come here and get the talisman from said Holy God man. This might seem ridiculously nonsense to rationalists like you and me; but, there’s brutal murder of philosophy of rationalism and logics. Unlike, we the African Wild Dogs, these English Bulldogs earn their daily bread by betraying their devotees!

The legend says that the said holy man, ‘Peer Dastagir’, is a deeply religious cleric from Agra. It is said that once the Peer dipped his finger into a cup of water and the entire water turned into the fragranced oil. It is also rumoured that every blessed nights of Thursday, The Peer sits on his prayer mat and flies around the Bangalore to see the sufferings of his devotees. Sir, but I haven’t seen him; I’ve never been his devotee…

Yesterday, when my son along with his friends, was playing cricket in evening after their tuitions, had some misunderstandings between the friends. My son deliberately bowled many wide balls to the batsman and finally refused to bowl anymore. These childish quarrels are worth nothing to anybody. But, the true astonishment begins here:

As the batsman boy went home upset came back with his father. When my son refused to bowl the other child, despite the pressure of his father; the angry man slapped so hardly that my son fainted. I saw the scene captured in the CCTV footage of our Apartment. The strange man with long grown hairs and dense beard was seen slapping my son. My friend who lives in our apartment and works in a private detective agency said that the man who slapped my son is a notorious fornicator- He has played with the breasts of numerous girls and has dipped his beak into them, in red light pleasure districts!

My detective friend also said that he has a secret escort and she lives in a flat in the neighbouring Apartment; also, he is having illegitimate relations with her. His son is born out of wedlock, a bastard – An Adulterine!

The wanted criminal is charged with murder and murder-attempt charges, was once identified with several criminal charges.

In this regard a case, FIR No. 619/05, P.S. Yeshwanthpur, Bangalore, has been registered.

He is also believed to be in good terms with a local politician, and is backed by a gang of rowdy sheeters.

Further, Sir, my detective friend said that the strange man is constituted with several severe charges and is a wanted criminal. He has embroidered an elegant mask over his rented face, in order to mislead the people and re-start his new adventures in criminal activities. If you want further information and evidences about him, Mr. Commissioner, please interrogate my detective friend.


The said reputed name stands tall in the arena of detective agencies and is celebrated for its stout standing with police department. Even the government of Karnataka has honoured many private detectives working for the said agency with several prestigious medals and laurels for their never-ending service to the department of criminology. Therefore, I guarantee you, that my friend will be pleasured to provide you with the entire assistant he can serve with. I have attested his information with this email, as an attachment.

…any person having any information or clue about this wanted criminal may kindly inform at Karnataka State Police website (http://ksp.gov.in) or mail the commissionerates at: (copcomputer@bcp.gov.in) or (spruralbngdist@vsnl.net) T. No: +91-80-2294-2222/3322 extn. 210 and to the undersigned at the following address or telephone number or numbers given below:

Commissioner of Police, 2,

Ali Asker Road, Vasanth Nagar,

Bangalore, Karnataka 560051

Tel.: 080 2294 3322

Henceforth, I decided thereafter to dictate an email to you.

The escaped criminal, Chikne, funded heavily to a local politician last year during his election campaign and Chikne’s band of outlaws, supported that local politician- who declared himself as the messiah of downtrodden-marginalized community. On winning the elections, the advocate of that politician, advocated and quashed all the criminal charges registered on Chikne. My detective friend, who once had worked as a secret spy to Police Superintendent, informed me that the escaped criminal, ‘Chikne’ himself, is the English bulldog Peer Dastagir of Dargah!

My detective friend, finally, who also once had assisted as a secret spy to Police Superintendent, informed me that the escaped criminal, Waqas Khan Alias ‘Chikne’ himself, is the English bulldog Peer Dastagir of Dargah!!

As far as the legal evidences are concerned, I’ve got all of them to pique your expectations on my desk!

The defence’s rests your honour!

Sincerely Yours



Encl. with:

Contact information of Private Detective.

Newspaper cut-out.

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