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Sample chapter 1

1. First scene


It was his hearing that day. He had risen as a messiah and then to a great Prime Minister. People had ranked him next to God, the people’s man. But now he was just a convict. He walked towards the court amidst a large crowd who were standing for their hero. For their leader. The walls were echoing with the praise “Long live Faizan Khan”. Media had surrounded him with questions but he was quiet and silently he moved inside the court.

“Start the proceedings of the court please,” ordered the honorable judge of the Supreme Court as the lawyer of the Prime Minister rose to begin the trial.     
  
But before the lawyer could say something, he was interrupted by his client. “Your honor, before the proceedings begin I want to say something”. People buzzed in response and then a deep silence. All eyes pointed towards PM. With a deep breath inside chest and eyes filled with dignity he continues. “I accept all the allegations put on me. I accept my active role in the riots of Saharabad. All the allegations put on me are true and I am solely responsible for everything that happened. That’s all”.
A momentary silence covered the room and then a buzzing response by people all of a sudden followed. The judge ordered everyone to maintain silence and asked him, “Mr Faizan, are you aware of what are you saying?”

“Yes sir. I do. You can go ahead with your decision,” urged Faizan Khan to an amazed judge who was perplexed by a rare occasion that came in his life when he had to sentence a Prime Minister of the country.
  
“With respect to the statement given by the suspect himself the court orders to cancel the membership of the parliament of Mr Faizan Khan and sentence him to lifetime imprisonment. The court is adjourned”, ordered the judge and left people in the court stumped with the verdict.

Faizan Khan gets arrested by the police and is sent to the Central Jail amidst millions of his fans who were protesting against his sentence. It is so ironical that for the first time in history a political giant as big as he himself had admitted his crime yet people loved him and protested for him. But why? Why were the people willing to forgive someone’s ‘sin’ when the later had himself confessed his involvement? What was so different about Faizan Khan?

Nevertheless, these things were of no importance to him anymore. His desires, his dreams they all ended with the death of Aarti, his wife. He barely smiled or responded to anyone who came to see him. Solitary was his new companion and in prison, he found his freedom. 

Two decades passed and nothing changed in this dead man. He still kept himself isolated from everyone. Never talked too much. Most of the time he spent time reading Quran, the holy book or performing prostrations to Allah, the almighty God. People inside the jail whether the policemen, the inmates, perhaps everybody, they all respected him and greeted him whenever they saw him. However, he would simply smile back in response to accept their greetings. Yes, sometimes he could be seen laughing with the policemen, motivating the inmates. And they would all welcome him. And his rare laughs. Everyone admired his charm. Everyone was mesmerized with his simplicity. But often when they asked him about his decision he would simply smile and ignore. That’s how he spent his 20 years in imprisonment.

And nothing would have changed ever, if only until one day when the jailor himself requested him to hoist the flag on the eve of the Independence Day, as always. Perhaps it had become a tradition now that he would hoist the flag, always. And how could he deny since it was not just a job but honor for any Indian. And perhaps it used to be a wish for the entire community that the flag must be hoisted by their honorable leader. The atmosphere on every 15th Augusts used to change dramatically inside the jail. Strong winds of patriotism would blow that day which literally used to envelope the entire prison. Even the inmates would proudly participate in the National Day celebrations. When the flag was hoisted and National Anthem was sung the celebration would be at its peak and you could hardly segregate good guys and bad guys. Such was the effect of his presence.

Meanwhile, that day after the celebration was done, the jailer humbly requested him to speak few words on that auspicious occasion. Perhaps this time they wanted to hear something more.

“Sir, on the behalf of everyone present here on this auspicious day I request you to share your experience in politics. Please tell us about your early life and struggles you faced. Tell us how did you prevailed those situation when everyone called you a ‘Muslim’ Prime Minister and when it was once believed that a non-Hindu can never become a Prime Minister of India, you changed the saying starting a new chapter of faith, belief and co-existence” requested the jailer to him while others were standing eagerly with their wide eyes open in belief that he won’t disappoint them. “We desire to hear from the legend himself the story of the journey of that shy and bashful young Faizan who always feared to speak in public to the one we know today, who whenever speaks, Millions listen” requested another.

“Please tell us about the pious relation between Faizan Ahmed Khan and Aarti Singh and what actually happened in Delhi riots”, requested the jailer on behalf of everybody present there. 

Initially, Faizan tried to skip but failed to resist people’s request. The people there somehow successfully convinced him to speak on the untold truths of his life. And then with a long deep breath and a heavy heart filled with emotions an 84-year-old man took out his specs, cleaned it and tried to throw some light on the rusted memories of his past life when he used to be young and riant, lad of a politician dad with hometown in Saharabad back in 80s. Several flashes of past memories shrouded his vision. Those precious schooldays memories, all the friends, that accidental meeting with Aarti, her presence, her smiles, those priceless moments and then her dead face, that fatal riot.

“Oh God…no, no, no…” he screamed in panic and turned breathless. The jailer screamed for the doctor. Another policeman ran for the water. The policemen, the inmates, everyone present there become worried. Their breaths tighten up for what abruptly happened to him.

After small medical check-ups, the doctor advised him to take rest. The jailer apologized to him for his mistake and held his hands to escort him to his compartment. But this time he denied. He denied because now he wanted to speak. Perhaps speak everything about his life, his mistakes, and above all about his wife Aarti who was not just a wife but also a true friend, a soul mate, perhaps the energy behind his success. He lowered his head and stared momentarily at an adornment she had given to him as a souvenir. There was silence all around the vicinity and everyone took the seat on the floor to listen to him. With a little tear in eyes and a content smile on his face, he spoke with a heavy voice.


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Acknowledgement
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