There was tension in the town of Kaliganj. Khoka da was shot in the head.

The breaking news came out in the media in two ways:

“ COAL MAFIA KHOKA KILLED BY UNIDENTIFIED MEN”

and

“THE GREAT KALI-BHAKT KHOKA DA SHOT DEAD”

Like the media, the townsfolk were also divided in their opinion about Khoka da.

“Maa Kali won’t forgive the sinner,” cursed an elderly woman with unstoppable tears. While a professor mumbled, “Thank goodness! Kaliganj will be a safer place now.”

But who killed Khoka?

Everyone knew, but none had the stomach to squeeze out the name of Pagla Pandit.

Pandit was the biggest land mafia of Kaliganj and infamous for his courage to challenge Khoka. The root of their rivalry was however, not their ‘trade’ but Kali Puja. In search of easy moksha, both had been organising Kali pujas for many years to wash their sins away, but it was Khoka who always won the ‘Best Puja Award’. This embittered Pandit.

***

Oblivious to the pervasive tension in the town and clasping his mighty kaladanda, Yamraj was spotted on his buffalo entering the town. Something was flashing on his phone screen. A literate henchman of Khoka read it.

Khoka of Kaliganj to be deported to HELL.”

Word spread, and in no time, around ten thousand supporters of Khoka gathered outside his house.

“You can’t take Khoka da to hell!” protested the mob.

Infuriated at this obstruction, Yamraj was about to wield his kaladanda when two messages from outer space beeped on his phone:

Restrain honey, deal peacefully,” pleaded Dhumorna, his wife.

Talk to the mortals and find a solution, Sire,” counselled Chitragupta, his clerk.

Yamraj quickly updated his Facebook status.

Stuck in ideological jam in Kaliganj.”

Then began the spirited talks. For the first time, sins and virtues of a mortal were weighed on Earth. Yamraj was quick to realize it was futile reasoning with the ‘intellectually impaired’ bhakts of Kaliyug. In ten minutes, it was agreed by both parties that a plebiscite would decide the final abode of Khoka’s soul.

***

The government made arrangements for a peaceful plebiscite. Voting was concluded but the result was a tie! To break the stalemate, a ‘decisive voter’ was invoked. Pandit, who had thrown all his weight behind to ensure Khoka received hell, was flustered. In his confidence, he had abstained from voting; but now he pounced like a hungry lion.

Triumphantly, he wrote a big and bold ‘HELL’ on the ballot paper and was about to drop it into the ballot box when his wife clutched his hand and whispered,

“Have you gone mad? If you send Khoka to hell, will people send you to heaven when you die? After all, are you any less than Khoka!”

Pandit was flattered by the wisdom and humour of his paan-chewing pretty wife.

He cast his vote and Khoka was lifted to heaven.

***

After this fiasco, Yamraj is ruminating on resigning and Chitragupta is looking for a new job.

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Written by Birendra Agrawal

Birendra Agrawal is by profession a teacher of English Language and Literature for the last 15 years. He is highly critical of school education system and advocates independence of students. He has written close to 200 poems in Hindi and a few in English too. Apart from this, he is a lover of nature, music, photography and children. Children are his absolute love.