The Yorkshire Biryani

By Vikram Venkataraghavan

Literary fiction, Comedy & satire


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4 mins


"Arey, Bollocks to you mate,” shouted Muthu as he sat behind his friend Giridhar on a 1980’s Italian scooter. Everyone in England had Hindu names. It was considered fashionable. Their original names were Timothy and Gregor (or Tim and Greg, for short). Behind them was another guy with a goat in his arms.
“I need to get this goat to Alibhai in one piece. He needs it for halal, so please drive safely and make sure that the goat and I don't die.” said the third man. There was a huge speed breaker on the road and Greg hadn't seen it. They were riding at 12 kroshas per Muhurta (approximately 60 Km/h in the real world), as the trio, along with the goat and the scooter, jumped over it.
"Indha speed breaker tholla thaanga Mudiyala,” (I can’t tolerate these speed breakers), shouted an irate Tim.
“Why the hell are you talking in Tamil now? This is Yorkshire mate; we speak Hindi here. So I appreciate you keep it that way,” exclaimed Greg from the front.
“Kadavule, this is a free country ain't it?” exclaimed Tim in disgust. They were riding triples on a busy road. It was overcast and cold, and they wanted to finish the job at hand before the downpour came.
Over the next intersection was a signal. The traffic light was still showing ’Namaste’; a Hindustani welcome. The vehicles were moving fast, but Greg had quite a distance to cover, and Alistair doubted if they were going to make it. As they got close to it, the palm symbol came on, signaling for them to stop. However, Greg sped on.
As they were crossing the road, the Namaste symbol came back on for the traffic to their right, and vehicles started rushing in helter-skelter. Stranded in the middle of the road, the sound quelled their hearing, smoke annihilated their breaths, and an excessive display of vehicles conquered their vision. As the smog settled, Greg could make out the silhouette of a man walking towards him, wearing a blue robe and a mask. It was a traffic constable stationed at that particular signal. He wasn’t wearing his day-glow top, so they hadn’t noticed him before. Along with him was another man wearing the same costume. They signaled the trio to stop, but Greg raised his accelerator. Now the Namaste signal had flashed up for the traffic towards his left and a similar tirade of vehicles started to emerge. Greg was smart enough to avoid them though. They sped across before the cacophony emerged, leaving the Constables immobile for a few moments.
“Oh, You Chuthiya Bastards. We are coming to get you,” one of the policemen screamed.
They both got on a big bike; a Bejej. The Yorkshire police Department used Hindustani bikes because they were classier and held a sense of pride from the older times.
“Shit. We cocked up,” exclaimed Alistair from behind.
“Did you have to do that mate? We’re dead!” shouted Tim in Tamil.
“Don’t be a wanker mate, we are fine,” smirked Greg.
“Stop, Stop, stopppppp,” howled Alistair.
They had stolen the goat from Alistair’s neighbor. Sporting a Moustache and neatly combed hair, Alistair was two years shy of thirty. Since his dad was still his puppet master, Alistair was quite used to a bit of mockery from his friends for being his daddy’s sweet little boy. A policeman by profession, Alistair’s dad was a modern day tyrant.
“If my dad comes to know about this, I’m dead, and you are all dead with me,” Alistair said, freaking out.
“Calm down mate. We’re not going to get caught. And even if we do, a few quid here and there will get us out,” said Greg.
Bribing was the order of the day in England and the Police force were quite renowned for it.
Greg made ends meet by delivering vegetables from the shop owned by his mother, Margaret. They reared a few animals including a goat, but Greg thought that stealing his mother’s goat was not a wise undertaking.
Why Greg needed a goat was a completely different story. His passion was Indian wrestling, or Kusthi, and he aspired to becoming a national champion one day. He used to wrestle for his university team, but now he was older. His passion still lived on though, and through his numerous attempts, he had finally managed to get selected for Yorkshire’s preliminaries. To participate, he had to go to London along with his friends and needed money to cover their accommodation and food expenses. If there was any money left, it would be thrown into betting. Betting was infamous in Kusthi, even though it was something the government looked at as illegal, and was trying to root out.
Bharat invented the Malla-Yuddha, which later became Kusthi. The Hindustanis spread it across the world as a sport of honor. England was fascinated by it. In fact, the desire for winning in Kusthi became a national obsession. So Kusthi was a hot topic of discussion everywhere and the general yearning of society was to excel at the game and beat Bharat in it. Every match of Kusthi between the two nations was viewed as a matter of dignity, and every victory rejoiced.
They kept accelerating, passing through smaller lanes in the hope of losing the cops. However, they had an old scooter with limited potential, so cops were closing in on them.
“Maaaaa,” screamed the goat in bewilderment.
Amidst this excitement, Alistair lost his grip on the goat for a minute, and it jumped out of his hand and onto the road, causing an oncoming scooter to break and slide coercively.
“Fuck,” Greg shouted, as the scooter whirled out of control.
“Sethome,” (We are dead) shouted Tim.
“Shite,” shouted Alistair, as Greg got up and started to run away from the fallen scooter.
Alistair felt a surging pain in his right shin. Tim was the worst affected, as he was in the middle; the scooter had fallen on him, and he was desperately trying to wiggle out of its weight. Greg, on the other hand, didn’t even seem to be bruised as he ran in pursuit of the goat.
“I will get you for this, you Piss-head,” shouted Alistair.
The Bejej stopped next to them. From the angle they were at, the policemen looked even bigger and menacing. One of them was actually big, weighing over a hundred kilos and having the paunch of a seven-month expectant woman. The other man was well built and had a big moustache. Moustaches were looked at as a symbol of honor. Every Policeman sported one, as it made them look more intimidating. The fat cop’s tag read ‘Charles’.
“Sir, it’s not our fault. The guy who brought us here ran away.” Alistair muttered in despair.
The other policeman lifted the scooter up like it was a bicycle. Charles; along with his paunch, big moustache and intimidating looks; kneeled down over Alistair and Tim, and exclaimed,
“Son, Do I look like a fool to you? “Catching Tim by the collar, he lifted him like a paperweight.
Tears rolled down Tim’s face as he exclaimed, “Sorry Sir, please let us go.” Charles was about to open his mouth to say something, when Alistair interrupted.
“My pater is a cop. We didn’t mean to do this. Here's some money to keep you guys happy, now please let us go.” He pulled out a fifty pound note from his pocket, as both the Policemen stared on.
The other policeman, who seemed to be silent until now, suddenly got miffed and said, “Use your dad’s name, eh? Well, your dad ain't gonna see what we’re about to do to you in the lock up, is he?” He then drove the Bajaj over to them and made Alistair sit behind him. Charles drove the scooter, while Tim sat behind him on that. They took them both to the police station, hoping they could use them as bait to lure the third man to them.
The market town of Mayfield lay in the north end of Yorkshire, and was known for its beautiful pastures and scenic panoramas. It was a small town hosting one large railway station, a post office, an old church, an old temple, two large grocery stores, one medium-sized hotel, and a few vegetable shops. The central street- Hara Teela, or Green hill- was a picture perfect English street that ran downhill, with houses and shops on either side. Streams trickled through the outskirts of the town, with horses and sheep grazing on the shore prairies. Hills bedecked the distant sights on every angle. The town however, suffered from an overabundance of people like other British towns, and the government was desperately trying to bring the population of the country under control. Recently, a sanction was made for the construction of a factory just outside the town. The town’s people were carrying out protests against it.



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