Vikas Gone Missing

Clad in a cheap synthetic sari with a bright floral pattern, plastic bangles adorning her wrists and a huge red vermillion mark smeared on the middle of her chocolate brown forehead, Indubai Bharti couldn’t stop herself from weeping profusely as she sat on a rickety chair opposite  PSI Dhanajay Jadhav of Hindewadi Police Thana to lodge a missing complaint for her husband.
“Bai what is your Husband’s name?” asked a disinterested Jadhav.
“Vikas Bharti Saheb” Indubai answered even before Jadhav finished his query.
“When did you notice that he’s gone missing?” Jadhav didn’t even bother to look up from his FIR register.
“He went out yesterday, at around 7 in the morning and hasn’t returned since. I’m very worried, he’s never done this before saheb. He said he’s going to the neighbouring village to buy biscuits for the children.”
“Biscuits! Why, don’t we get biscuits at the Irani hotel anymore ? Kai re Sawant?” Jadhav asked his head constable in jest while picking out remnants of kanda pohe from his teeth with the tip of an all pin (tachni) , “Chaha sang Sawant, tumhi ghenar ka bai?” barked Jadhav ordering for his 8th cup of chai since morning.
“Nako Saheb, the kids wanted Good Day biscuits, they wouldn’t listen, so he got really mad, yelled at the kids and left furiously peddling his bicycle, but hasn’t returned since” Indubai’s voice was barely audible.
“Bara, bara let me look into this” said Jadhav, taking down the details of Vikas Bharti and asking Indubai to send his picture over whatsapp to his Jio number.
The case soon became the talk of the entire village which was gearing up for the forthcoming Gram Panchayat elections. Soon the aspiring candidates, the political newbies and the old hawks started knocking on Indubai’s doors to console her and promising her to bring back Vikas who had gone out to get Good Day (Acche Din) biscuits.
Hindewadi’s being a Mahila Arakshit seat for the post of Sarpanch, it was a straight fight between Foolchap Party’s Shrutitai, wife of the local Irani Hotel owner and the lead actress, playing Seeta in the Ramleela and Sonubai Gandhe a much respected senior leader of the Hand That Rocks The Cradle Party. Since it was a prestigious seat, the Zilladhyaksha of the ruling Fool Chap Party Narayanbhai Modik a broad shouldered gentleman with a wide torso of almost 56 inches in girth, well known for his oratory skills and convincing powers was leaving no stone unturned in campaigning for the incumbent Shrutitai.
Foolchap’s entire team had thrown full force behind their candidate, Nikhil Gajdhari put his team of burly men, with physiques like road rollers into preparing grounds for the sabha where the bhashan baji was to be followed by Ramleela featuring Shrutitai herself in lead.
Modik’s team of dedicated party workers like Ramnath Singh looked after the bandobast making sure that the workers of the rival party didn’t turn up with rotten eggs and tomatoes to the event and
Arunob Jaitale guaranted free flow of funds to the campaign.
During the address Modik promised the villagers that, “Foolchap Party if given a chance to serve yet again will bring back Vikas along with his packet of Good Days”.
He assured the people of Hindewadi that he’s speaking from his heart, his ‘Maan’ and that no one can stop Vikas from coming back.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradel’s contender Sonubai Gandhe too promised the villagers that they’ll bring back Vikas but asked them to introspect as to why Vikas had to go all the way out to the neighbouring village to get a packet of Good Days. “The Irani’s tea stall famous for Bun- Maska had never made an attempt to stock Good Day biscuits. Vikas a hardworking daily wager was tricked out of his only wealth, his ₹1000 note which was taken away by Modik and Jaitale. The heavy Gabbar tax levied on Good Day biscuits didn’t help the cash strapped Vikas. He was also fond of eating beef every now and then and was already on the radar of the cow vigilants for this particular dietary preference of his. Did Vikas go away on his own or did he land himself into some unfortunate situation? We need answers to this and we need a guarantee that this doesn’t happen again” roared a distressed Sonubai.
Under Sonubai’s leadership her son Rahil Gandhe, the revered Shashikant Thorat and Salman Khan sought opinion from professionals from across fields as to what could be done to bring back Vikas and help him prosper in Hindewadi, these professionals met and did chai pe charcha, disucussing with doctors about the side-effects of Good Day biscuits, with teachers about the difficulties that Vikas’s children are facing with their studies and with bankers seeking guidance in disbursement of loans to people of Hindewadi so that they could set up their own Good Day biscuits dealership, thus bringing in the educated mind into working not only for the betterment of the party but for the people of Hindewadi as well.
Amitabhau Shahne the president of the Foolchap Party tried to fool the people giving the campaign a religious hue by stopping Rahil who was happily munching on potato chips from watching the Ramleela pointing out that Rahil was not a Hindu and shouldn’t be allowed to witness the play. Allegations of this kind weren’t new to Sonubai, who had faced allegations of nepotism and of being a foreigner to Hindewadi. Little did Sonubai heed to these allegations and steadfastly kept on working with total dedication for the betterment of the people of Hindewadi and for the strengthening of the Hand party.
Rahil pointed out to the people that Fool Chap party has managed to fool the people for the past 5 years when they were in power, its time that the hand slaps them across their faces and show them the door.
The people of Hindewadi clearly needed Vikas along with that packet of Good Days. Whether they allow themselves to be fooled again or whether they allow the hand to guide Vikas firmly back home needs to be seen.

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