Remember all the Amitabh Bachchan movies where the hero is always named Vijay? Yeah, this is a Bollywood parody.
If you’ve never seen a Bollywood movie, you’ll just think I have a very weird sense of humour,
if you don’t already.
On with the fic!
He cautiously peered around the corner. A shout rang out, and he ducked his head again.
They had seen him.
He couldn’t hide any more, he had to rely on his superior speed now to make it to safety.
Taking a deep breath, he set off. Footsteps pounded behind him, and he sped up. He grinned as big steel doors loomed ahead of him. If he could just get through them…
Pushing his way inside, he charged past the surprised security guard and into the elevator, catching only a glimpse of its other occupant as he frantically stabbed at the buttons.
As the doors slid smoothly shut, he released a chuckle at the disgruntled looks on the faces of his pursuers. His amusement was cut short when his companion cleared his throat quietly.
He looked around, and groaned. Caught.
With a wide smile, the man next to him latched onto his collar.
‘You can run, Vijay, but you can’t hide!’
‘You just got lucky,’ he grumbled in reply, giving the other man a dirty glare. ‘All the others missed me, you were just in the right place at the right time.’
The other man shook his head. ‘It was all part of the plan,’ he said, smiling. ‘Remember how we caught the Dancing Thief?’
Vijay sighed. Yes, he remembered.
‘Besides, you’re the only one who works so hard to avoid paying for a measly round of drinks at the bar! Everyone else pays their turn fair and square, but you try to do a runner every month!’
The elevator doors slid open, and the two men stepped out into the lobby of their office. Vijay’s colleagues were now standing in front of him, wearing grins identical to the one on Ajay’s face.
‘So, after work tonight, say eight-ish?’ asked one of them innocently.
Vijay grunted, which they took to mean a yes.
‘We’ll be waiting,’Ajay smiled, clapping him on the back as he moved away.
Vijay glared at their backs as the rest of them walked away, but he knew he had no choice. With a sigh, he made his way to his little cubicle, already dreading his expenses for the evening. He had just settled down in his chair when his boss’s secretary arrived.
‘Agent Zed wants to see you,’ she said.
Nodding, he got up to follow her down the few paces to his superior’s office.
He entered the room, glancing around to see who else was there. He saw two very harried looking men wiping their foreheads distractedly. In his five years with the TSGA, or the Top Secret Government Agency, he had seen many such men in his boss’s office. What was new, however, was the angry looking woman seated with them. He took the seat Zed indicated, glancing at his boss inquiringly.
‘Gentlemen, this is Agent Vijay, one of our top operatives,’ Zed said. ‘Agent Vijay, this is Mr.Ghosh,’ he said, indicating the first man. ‘And this is Mr. Kumar,’ he said, as the man nodded. ‘They’re here because…well, it seems that Miss Naina Kapoor has been kidnapped.’
It felt like a light bulb had gone off in his head. Shaking his head to clear the away the sensation of feeling like a tube light, he leaned forward. Naina Kapoor, the darling of the masses, queen of the silver screen—kidnapped?
‘Yes, kidnapped,’ the angry woman snapped, unconsciously answering Vijay’s question. ‘It’s been twenty four hours since Baby has been missing. Do you understand what that means? Interviews, movies, photo shoots—so much is behind schedule!’
Vijay’s mental tube light flickered on again, and he realised that the angry woman must be Naina Kapoor’s mother-cum-manager. He shuddered slightly. Mothers of film stars were a breed even he didn’t want to get entangled with.
‘Mr.Ghosh and Mr. Kumar are with the government,’ Zed went on, ‘As you know, a National award is to be given to Miss Kapoor in a few days. We need to get her back. If we don’t…’
‘Miss Shruti Saxena is the only other candidate for the National award,’ Mr. Ghosh said, wiping his forehead again. ‘If Miss Kapoor is not found in time, she will have to be given the award, instead.’
An angry snort escaped Mrs. Kapoor, and Mr. Kumar paled at the sound.
‘We think the kidnapper may be trying to make Shruti Saxena more popular. If she were to be given given the award, her popularity would rise—and you know what would happen next,’ Zed said, giving him a piercing look.
Vijay shook his head, horror in every feature. ‘Sir, you can’t mean—no one would ever really—’
Zed nodded. ‘Mera Dil Tera Hain part two.’
Vijay shuddered, as did everyone else. Even Mrs. Kapoor looked disturbed at the mention of the latest Shruti Saxena starrer, a three and a half hour melodrama with fourteen songs, fifteen fight scenes and twenty five lead characters.
‘We cannot simply sit back and allow such an atrocity to happen to our nation,’ Zed said firmly. ‘Agent Vijay, you have to get Miss Kapoor back in time. It’s a matter of national security.’
He nodded. The fate of the country was in his hands. If he failed—it was too horrible to even think about. Another Shruti Saxena movie… He shuddered again.
‘Where do I start, sir?’ he asked, pushing the terrifying thought aside.
‘There was a note left behind at the scene of the crime. Mrs. Kapoor has it with her,’ Zed said, glancing at the woman.
She nodded, and opening the huge handbag she carried with her, she rummaged around in it. The four men watched with interest as various things were haphazardly removed from the bag and piled on Zed’s desk. It was rather like watching an archaeological excavation.
‘B.P tablets, I need to take those, I forgot this morning…Filmfare—Baby was on the cover, she looks very nice here, don’t you think?… Lipstick…That Samuel boy’s number—I need to talk to him, he made Baby look fat in his latest photograph… Another lipstick…Mr. Dutt’s script—he wanted Baby to do a rain dance. I have to explain to him that he has to provide a full length raincoat for that scene, Baby cannot catch pneumonia, no? One more lipstick…ah, here it is!’
And she drew out of her bag a small, crumpled up piece of paper.
Taking it into his hand, Vijay glanced at the letter. It was blank save for a very large ‘Ha ha!’ followed by a ‘You suck and I rule!’ written in black. A faint smell of onions assaulted his nostrils, and he uttered a sharp sound of anger, almost crushing the epistle.
‘It’s him,’ he said grimly, glancing up at Zed.
‘The Wild Onion?’
Vijay nodded, grimacing as Zed uttered the nom de crime of the greatest criminal mastermind of the century, the man who had been the bane of his existence from the time he had joined the TSGA.
‘The Wild Onion?’ Mr. Ghosh said in a puzzled tone. ‘Sounds like a North Indian dish.’
‘The Wild Onion is the code name of the greatest criminal we have ever known,’ Vijay said reproachfully. ‘He was behind the Great Attack of the Cell phone virus a few months ago. Remember that?’
From the look on Mr. Kumar’s face, he did. The virus had affected all the cell phones in the country, draining half of the talk time on every pre-paid card, and billing thousands of rupees worth of calls on the post-paid accounts. The money had gone directly into the Wild Onion’s pockets.
Plus the man had sent everyone single one of those numbers endless sms forwards for months afterwards. Even now, Vijay sometimes got text messages promising him that ‘his dream would come true’ if he ‘forwarded this message to more than 28 people’.
‘We almost caught him that time, but he got away,’ he said ruefully. ‘Incidentally,’ Vijay added, when he saw that he had their attention, ‘wild onions are poisonous, sometimes even fatal.’
‘So what can we do now?’ Mrs. Kapoor asked, tears in her eyes. ‘What will this Onion do to Baby?’
‘Don’t worry, madam, we’ll get Baby—I mean, Miss Kapoor—back in time to get her award,’ Zed said reassuringly. ‘Agent Vijay, I suggest that you start from this spot,’ he said, handing the younger man a photograph.
‘Chandni’s Ice creams and Softy Centre,’ Vijay read aloud.
‘It’s in the heart of the city. An informer tells us it’s the Wild Onion’s secret headquarters,’ his boss explained. ‘You can collect your equipment from the Ammunitions depot. Good luck, Agent Vijay.’
‘I won’t let you down, sir,’ he said, standing up. He nodded at the two men and gave Mrs. Kapoor a reassuring smile.
Turning quickly, he left the room.
It was dark by the time he was standing in front of Chandni’s Ice creams and Softy Centre. Hoping that no one would be expecting him at midnight, he stole quietly towards the building. There were two guards outside. Knocking them both unconscious, he cautiously made his way inside.
Loud, menacing laughter could be heard from somewhere further inside. A woman’s voice screamed.
‘No! No! Help me! Please! Someone save me!’
Heading for the voices, Vijay crept as quietly as he could into the room. He froze as he took in the scene before him.
Tied up in a chair was a young woman, beautiful even in her helpless condition. A look of utmost horror painted her delicate features.
In front of her, holding a cat in the crook of his arm, a man was laughing. Evidently, this was the Wild Onion. Even as he watched, the criminal mastermind snapped his fingers, and a henchman stepped forward with a huge bowl.
‘Alright,’ the Wild Onion said. ‘Since you don’t like that one, we’ll just have to feed you—butterscotch!’
A momentary look of longing crossed the actress’s face before she screamed again. ‘Noo! You can’t! I’ll become FAT and then no one will make movies with me! I’ll have to enter the South Indian film industry, and I can’t dance well enough for that!’
The Wild Onion laughed, completing the story. ‘And then… I can easily force all the directors in Bollywood to sign Shruti Saxena—and when the Indian public can’t take any more torture, the Prime Minister will agree to pay me anything I want, just to make the Shruti movies stop…’ He laughed again, stroking his cat.
Vijay’s blood ran cold. An endless line of Shruti movies? He had to stop this madman, even if he died in the process.
Still in the shadows, he aimed his gun at the henchman who was even now raising an ice cream laden spoon to Naina’s lips. She was shaking her head, but Vijay didn’t know how long she would last.
He had to make his move soon.
Taking careful aim, he pulled the trigger. The tranquiliser dart struck the man squarely in the chest, and he slumped to the floor, the bowl falling with a clatter. He was snoring before he even hit the ground.
The Wild Onion spun around. ‘Who’s there?’ he cried.
He snapped his fingers, and another henchman sprang forward out of the shadows. The man ran towards Vijay, and thinking fast, the Agent pulled his secret weapon out of his bag.
Hopefully it would work…
‘Here!’ he cried, thrusting it into the man’s hands. ‘Tinkle issue number 456! Where Suppandi works in a police station!’
The henchman immediately stopped, looking at the book in his hands curiously. He eagerly turned the pages, and Vijay heaved a sigh of relief. It had worked like a charm.
He stepped away from the Wild Onion’s minion who was now laughing at Suppandi’s antics, and moved toward the archfiend.
‘Nowhere to go now, Onion,’ he said steadily.
He aimed his gun at the man, who paled. The Wild Onion fiddled with his cufflinks, and a trap door opened a few feet behind him.
‘You came close, Agent Vijay,’ he said, smiling. ‘But not close enough!’
He made a dash for the trap door, and Vijay fired the gun. He missed. Now the Onion was almost there…
‘Shoot the cat, you idiot!’
He heard the voice, and obeyed, even though he resented being called an idiot. The dart struck the feline and it lost consciousness.
The Wild Onion stopped running, cradling the unconscious body of his cat in his arms.
‘Not my caat!’ he cried, stroking shaking hands over the animal. ‘Wake up, princess! Wake up!’
In two strides, Vijay was next to him. He placed the handcuffs on the unresisting man, who was still trying to revive his cat. Then he walked to the still captive Naina Kapoor and untied her.
‘How did you know about the cat?’ he asked her.
She rolled her eyes. ‘Everyone knows that when a villain has a cat, it’s his only weakness. Don’t you watch Hindi movies?’
Shaking his head in disbelief, Vijay reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He had to call for back up, now wasn’t the time to start thinking about the madness of criminal masterminds.
Dialling a number, he waited. Naina was staring at the containers of ice cream with a wistful expression.
‘You can go ahead and have a little if you want,’ he offered. ‘I won’t tell your mother.’
Her face lit up. ‘Really?’ she said.
He nodded. ‘We have about fifteen minutes before she arrives with my boss.’
He blinked as he saw her run to the container full of vanilla ice cream so fast that she was only a blur of motion. Selecting the smallest bowl she could find in the ice cream parlour, Naina hurriedly filled it. She took a bite, and tears filled her eyes.
‘It’s been two years since I had ice cream,’ she said, sniffing as she had another bite.
Vijay smiled, and moved off to handcuff the two henchmen he had taken care of earlier.
In a few minutes, he heard the sound of cars arriving, and then his boss entered the room with Mrs. Kapoor. A few policemen ran into the room with them, and they carted away the two henchmen, the second one still deep in the pages of Tinkle.
Mrs.Kapoor gasped as she caught sight of Naina.
‘Baby!’ she cried, running to her daughter.
‘Mummy!’ Naina replied, hurriedly pushing her ice cream bowl away with her foot.
The two embraced, and immediately, the older woman started talking as she led her daughter away.
‘Baby, Filmfare> called, they said they can reschedule your interview for today, so we need to leave now—’
Stopping in front of Vijay, Mrs. Kapoor thanked him with tears in her eyes.
‘It was my duty, madam,’ he replied, grinning as Naina smiled shyly at him.
He snapped his attention back to his boss when Zed cleared his throat.
‘Well, congratulations, Agent Vijay,’ the older man said. He looked at the Wild Onion, and smiled.
‘Glad to see you realised you had to shoot the cat. I remember when I caught the Night Croaker—’
‘Yes sir,’ Vijay said, hurriedly cutting off an oft repeated story. ‘If I may, sir, I have a suggestion…’
‘Yes, say on, Agent Vijay. You have our ear.’
‘Instead of jail, I think the Wild Onion should have a little taste of what he almost sentenced us to,’ he said.
Zed frowned, and then his face cleared. He chuckled, and walked to the criminal mastermind.
‘Vijay’s right,’ he said, looking down at the man who was staring sadly at his cat. ‘A week of uninterrupted Shruti Saxena films sounds about right.’
The Wild Onion looked up, petrified.
‘You can’t!’ he cried. ‘I’ll tell the Human Rights Commission!’
‘He’s right,’ Zed sighed, defeated. ‘They wouldn’t allow it.’
Leaning forward, Vijay whispered in his boss’s ear. Zed started smiling again.
‘Well, like Agent Vijay suggested, we can always screen some of her interviews in between the films, so it wouldn’t be uninterrupted torture—’
‘Nooo!’ the Wild Onion sprang up, cutting off the terrifying words. ‘You! I’ll get you for this!’ he cried, lunging at Vijay, as the policemen surrounding him held him back.
‘You haven’t seen the last of me!’ he screamed as he was led away. ‘I’ll get you for this yet, Agent Vijay!’
Vijay smiled as he contemplated what was in store for the Wild Onion. Still smiling, he turned to his boss.
‘Oh, by the way,’ Zed said, frowning at him perplexedly. ‘Ajay asked me to tell you that they haven’t forgotten, and that they’re expecting you at the Taj tonight. I don’t really know what it’s about, but he wants you to bring both your credit cards along.’
Vijay groaned, ignoring Zed’s look of bewilderment.
A/N: So, liked it? Hated it? All comments and constructive criticism are very welcome, thanks for reading. =)
[mood | creative]
[music| Carnival of Rust: Poets of the Fall]
Word count: 2,800
Author note: Everything belongs to ME. Any copyright infringement is ill advised.
Ah, it feels nice to write that after years of disclaimers in fanfic! ;)