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“Arrey, who cares for what Manto bhai writes? Manto has a habit of splitting hairs,” said Khan into the receiver before he hung up. He spread his legs some more so some air passes through his tight denims, his tall frame was sprawled on the sofa in his vanity van. Many film producers, actors, music directors and directors were queuing outside with flowers, gifts and their date-dairy. If a saffron garland or coconut would be put on the face of the vanity van it would be believable that indeed it was a temple, and the devotees were there for Darshan, blessings before Diwali– Ram indeed was home.
Khan’s super private-private number, which was only with three people (the Prime minister, his mother and his current girl friend) rang again. The display blinked and said, “Private number.” Khan ignored it. For him to pick it it should have said- P.M. or Ammi or Jaan.
Dear, his Rottweiler was sitting at the other end of the van. It was a gift from a certain commissioner of police. He had sent it with a nice note, “Next time hunt with dogs.” Khan called the dog Dear. Dear was a good dog, a faithful wolf kind of fellow.
Khan rewarded faithfulness.
Dear had tasted the thighs of many producers- lunch, breakfast and dinner in the same vanity van. Ofcourse the producers never complained- they even offered their fleshy calves on occasions: word was out, “Khan bhai felt guilty and gave early dates if Dear got his incisors deep into your flesh.” But the bone must show!
Dear was a little restless since the morning. Perhaps his master’s troubles were affecting him too. He had toppled the ivory table and was already pawing at muscled men on magazine covers and left over newspapers. Dear’s teeth bore into the newspapers with special vengeance, till they became little tiny shreds. The dark-ink bold words became rudderless letters- Sal, man, sent, ence, sus, V , pen, ded,er, dict, Co, u, Rt, app, eal. Khan clicked a picture amidst childish giggles. Dear continued to chew and attack, chew and attack with the same vengeance. Bal Ki Khaal by Saadat Hassan Manto went inside. The whole of it. Swallowed.
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