Bhaskaran was having yet another bad day in office.
Back from a three month suspension for having physically assaulted his superior office, the Asst Commissioner of Police, he now had to deal with insubordinate Head Constables and Asst Sub Inspectors who didn’t even bother with the fact that he was at least two grades higher than them as a Circle Inspector. After all, he still belonged to a department which still placed a lot of premium on which caste you belonged to. And since Bhaskaran belonged to one of the hill tribes from the Kumli region, he had an obvious disadvantage when it came to earning respect.
Right from the time his father migrated to the town in search of better employment opportunities and Bhaskaran was enrolled in the local Govt School, he had to face the brunt of being a boy from the tribal community. The slang and the accent with which he used to speak, the ear stud that all boys from his tribe used to sport right from the time they were three years old, the odd tattoo of swirling snakes that he had on the inside of his forearm, these were just a few of the things that provoked mirth and ridicule from the other kids in the school. He therefore knew how to deal with being an outcast right from the time he was seven or eight years old.
In his naiveté, he believed that by studying hard and scoring good marks in studies, he could gain some well-deserved respect, but that just ended up exacerbating his ‘differences’ further. After all, the Govt School in Kumli was not known for over-achievers and therefore when a student from there, a tribal one at that, started scoring high marks, more than quite a few eyebrows were raised.
While the other kids in his classes hated him for being so bright and good at his studies, the teachers refused to believe that he was performing so well due to his hard work and motivation. The shadow of plagiarism and using foul means plagued him throughout his days as a student.
The one good thing that came out of Bhaskaran’s studious nature was that he was able to crack the State Public Service Commission examinations and the interviews and was selected to be part of the State Police Force.
On his first day in the force after his training, Bhaskaran walked into the local police station where he was assigned to feeling fully confident that the stigma of him being a tribal youth, an ‘outsider’ would finally be wiped out. His birth, his caste, his skin color, would finally stop mattering and from now on only his deeds would decide his true worth.
Little did he know that this idealistic viewpoint of his wouldn’t last even the first two hours into his new assignment.
One of the first questions that his superior officer, the Inspector asked him was about his caste and why he spoke the local language with a peculiar slang. And on hearing the answer about Bhaskaran’s caste and his background, the Inspector derisively laughed at him and asked him to go to the tea shop just outside the police station and buy him a pack of cigarettes and some refreshments. Soon this became a daily chore. Bhaskaran was destined to be ‘the outsider’ here as well.
Refusing to be bullied and cowed down by the circumstances, and by virtue of his dedication, commitment and motivation, Bhaskaran managed to overcome petty workplace politics and managed to rise up to the level of Circle Inspector in the force. Although it took him twice as much time compared to his peers, he did not accept defeat and kept fighting.
However all the years of being mocked, taunted, laughed at made him an extremely bitter person who treated everybody around him with a lot of disdain. A lifetime of being treated differently only because of his birth meant that he stopped treating anybody with even an ounce of respect.
As far as he was concerned, society continued to conspire against him in the name of casteism and favoritism and nothing that he ever did would be good enough to erase the fact that he was a tribal. His frustration and anger slowly drove him to find solace in liquor and while not a full blooded alcoholic, Bhaskaran was at times prone to drinking in the mornings and then going to the police station in a foul mood.
This attitude of his spilt into his personal life as well and did not help the already difficult situation with his innocent wife and a small six year old daughter who was perennially on medication due to her respiratory problems.
Disclaimer: This novella is based on a popular movie, the name of which I am not going to disclose here. I have taken a couple of the plot elements from the movie, modified them, added some background of my own and penned down this novella. Advance apologies for any fans of the movie who might be reading this novella, the intention was not to dilute the movie in any form or fashion, but to reinterpret some plot points using my imagination.