Something happened in my small world the other day that's brought our vaunted happy days closer to me. It happened to Mehbub, who has often been in my home with his boss, who also belongs to Mehbub's faith. They are young men, and they do masterful metalwork. Show them the spot, say what you've got in mind, and in quick time they materialise in metal the concept.
My wife finds Mehbub amusing. She speaks to him in Kannada, and Mehbub answers only in English. He is a graduate and insists on distinguishing himself through always using the language of the "educated."
On the day I'm referring to, terrible luck struck Mehbub. It was the eve of his nikah, when, at 3:00 after midnight, the police knocked on his door. With the inmates cowering and slow to answer, the police pushed in and took Mehbub and his two brothers — the brothers in inner-wear and Mehbub in a T-shirt — and shipped them out to Bellary jail. Their mother pleaded with the police, showed them the printed wedding cards, fell on her knees, and begged, and wailed — all to no avail.
As I write, Mehbub and his brothers are still in jail.
The police action is a fallout of the recent riot in Bangalore, after somebody posted on Facebook an offence to the Muslim faith. Opportunistic miscreants gathered and went on a rampage, making bold to attack a legislator's house even. Leaders across party lines asked for immediate action on the guilty. Folks like Shashi Tharoor pleaded that an entire community not be blamed for the deeds of a pocket of rascals.
Which means the police came under pressure to deliver, and now.
Whole neighbourhoods where the suspects reside were rounded up. Mehbub's home is in such a section and, although he has no time or inclination for mischief, and though he earns his living using talent and from good honest labour, the poor chap is lodged in a faraway jail. How can one get him out? Wait until the police have filed an FIR. Submit a bail application right after. He may then be let out, with luck, but with loads of work to defend himself in court in these difficult times for his kind. That burden will weigh on him a long, long time.
As regards his star-crossed wedding, I don't know. I pray to Lord Shiva, my ishtadevatha, for the bride and the groom and his brothers.