Writer’s Note and Disclaimer: All names, characters and places, except Dallas, Houston and Denver are imaginary. Any resemblance to a person, living or dead is merely a coincidence.
The curtain finally came down, I was exhausted. Two hours at a stretch on my feet, drenching in sweat, but it was all well worth it. My concert was a smash hit. The crowd was wild with joy and excitement. Dallas Playdium was packed with South Asians, dying to get a glimpse of me. How strange this feeling was. I was a no name mediocre singer wanna be, 5 years back. Even my close friends used to laugh at me. Daanyal Basheer a no name singer was now “Danny Badshah.” Something transformed this Daanyal to Danny, which was nothing short of a miracle.
It was strange to look at myself on bill boards, on TV screens and inside the magazines. Where ever I went, people followed me. My e mail accounts were over loaded with fan mail. Girls going absolutely nuts over me. If I wanted, I pretty much could get any South Asian girl. They cried, yelled, screamed, “Danny we love you, Danny be mine. I will die without you.”
Daanyal Basheer loved only one girl in his life, Kiran Alvi. Kiran, my classmate at Samaritans College in Karachi. To die for, straight out of a fashion catalog gorgeous. Every one called her “Kirbie”, a modified version of a toy doll. How Kiran came close to me was a sheer accident, and how we parted was no accident at all. After all, I was a nobody and she was the beat of every one’s heart. Always, in search of secure grounds. I was a novice of a singer and that was it. A novice singer and a Pre Engineering student, all I had to offer was a promise of a life sometimes in future. Kiran was living in the present day and wanted a safety net rather immediately.
A person by the name of Sarwar Rana, came from no where and asked for her hand from her rather impatient parents. Her parents some how knew that my future was in doldrums and Sarwar, an entrepreneur from the US was best suited for her. Even though he was 20 years older than her, but all what mattered was that he was loaded. There was no comparison between Sarwar the King and Daanyaal the Pauper. That e mail from Kiran telling me that the breakup was imminent and we were supposed to weigh things objectively with no hard feelings, did stir up a lot of feelings and emotions inside me.
My feelings were translated in my songs, which I wrote, composed and sang. The gaping hole in my heart got bigger and bigger. One day, out of the blues, on one of my friend’s advice, I did post my song on a famous social networking site. I don’t know who emailed that song to a top producer across the border, S. S. Singh Ji. The next thing I knew, in a week’s time, I was recording the same song with the famous Music Director, Babu Kumar. At the end of the recording, Singh Ji wiping tears from his eyelids, said something in Punjabi which meant, “Danny Badshah, it takes a Punjabi to recognize another Punjabi. Danny Badshah mark my words. You are going to rule Puttar, you are going to rule.”
Singh Ji must have been a fortune teller in his previous life. His words came true instantaneously. My debut movie’s song and the movie was a record breaker of all times. Daanyal Basheer died that day to give birth to Danny Badshah. The King of Punjabi Pop almost across the globe. How strange this life is. I felt that my life came to an end, when Kiran walked out on me. Little did I know, that many females like Kiran were ready to slit their wrists for me. The only problem was that all of them were a bit like Kiran, but none of them were my Kiran. I mean none.
The phone’s annoying ring broke my chain of thoughts. I answered the phone, it was Agha Ji, my Assistant and Manager/Agent. He was worried about me and my whereabouts. I pacified him and told him that I wanted to be left alone. I knew that a Limo was waiting outside for me, to take me to the Hotel. I just wanted to stay in the Make Up Room for a bit more. I sat in front of the mirror and saw how much I had changed. The mirror was silent as usual, but I could hear what it was trying to tell me.
Some how the pain inside the heart brought the same song back on my lips. I sang the same debut song to myself looking straight in the mirror. Every time I repeated the same lines , it almost felt that some one was around me. It almost felt that Kiran was around. Her image in the mirror was so clear and transparent. My eyes got misty and I repeated the same lines on high notes….
“Akhan wichon athroo warsey, yaad teri jadd aayee
Yaad teri aayee jadd o mittra assi seeti wajayee
Ho Mittra Assi Seeti Wajayee
Ho Mittra Assi Seeti Wajayee”
I whistled to move along with the song. As my whistle got louder and louder, the stream of tears gained momentum. My eyes wide shut, I whistled louder and louder. Suddenly I felt a familiar pair of arms around me. The fragrance and the touch was all too familiar. I knew I was losing it. I knew I was not in my senses. The embrace got tighter and I said spontaneously. “I know its you Kiran, it can only be you.” With her lips touching my cheeks and their softness sending electrifying signals in me, I heard a sweet whisper, “I love you Daani, I love you, now more than ever.”
With my eyes, wide open, I turned. It was her….It was really her. I embraced her. Her signature fragrance, her hair, her neck everything was the same. 5 years and a few day later, she was the same. To really die for. Dressed in a gorgeous designer Black dress, with those mesmerising eyes staring at my face. I was able to inhale her fragrant breath and the only thing which was separating our lips was the loud beat of my heart and the guilt that I was so close to a “married woman.” I abruptly let her go and said, “How did you find me, how did you get in?” She was very quick to respond as usual with her chuckle, “Remember Daani, I have money and money really talks in America. I mean really. Hey let’s go for a cup of coffee.” She was the same, unpredictable and full of life. I nodded.
We stepped out of the Make Up Room to the parking lot. The Parking Lot of Dallas Playdium had very cars left. I looked up, my Limo Driver and the Limo were no where to be found. I was a bit perplexed and she looked at me and said, “If you are looking for your Driver, I let him go with a sizable tip. He was the one who took me to your make up room. ” I could only smile and say, “Hmmm.”
She ordered me to jump into her Dark Mercedes and I immediately followed her instruction. She was all excited. Every single sentence of hers had the same message, “Daani I missed you… Daani I love you…Daani please forgive me” and so on. We reached the coffee shop and she ordered our favorite Vanilla lattes for both of us. Every single drop of the coffee was like a potion of life. I was savoring every single drop. She was the one, who opened up and mentioned. “Daani, as soon as I heard about your concert, I was ecstatic. My GOD, look at you. You are a super star. You have completely changed man.” I could only say, “You have not, not even one bit.”
Sitting in front of one another, staring each other in the eyes, with piping hot Vanilla Latte and whipped cream topping, we were completely immersed in one another. She said, “Daani, those days are gone, we are both stable now. I have 30 gas stations here and every one in Dallas Fort Worth area knows me. I am Ms. Rana. Literally, I can buy anything I want. I am planning on buying another 7 stores in Houston area. By the end of next 5 years, I will have a total of 50 stores and guess what I will retire. The money will keep on coming and I am confident that all the dreams you and I ever saw, will come true. I know it hurts to look back, but I only know how to look ahead. There is no looking back in life, at least not for me. Look at you, you are at your prime, the reigning King of the Music scene. We will make a great team, I mean really.”
I was almost done with the coffee and so was she. We tossed our cups in the recycle bin and stepped out. I was quiet and she knew, what was bothering me. “O come on Daani, for crying out loud, be a man, stop acting like a girl, snap out of all of the stuff from the past.” I nodded once again as usual. I asked her to drop me at the hotel. She even knew where I was staying, it was scary, how resourceful she was.
Her car stopped in front of the Lone Star Hotel and Resort and she threw the key at the Valet Driver. The poor lad was very eager to catch that ring of keys, which perhaps meant a crisp Benjie ($100 bill) to him. Her sweet voice broke the silence again, “Well aren’t. You going to ask me in.” I wish I could have said no. But I just could not. The Hotel Staff was all over both of us. An escort took us to our room. As soon as the door was shut, she expectedly came closer and grabbed my face. I resisted, she was a bit disappointed. My phone rang. I took my call. It was Agha Ji, my Manager, making sure that I had made it to the hotel. I assured him that I had and I was still planning on being on the flight to Denver in the AM.
She sat on the sofa next to me and let her self go on my shoulders. Her lips found their way to my cheeks. I grabbed her and she yelled, “Goddammit Daani, what is wrong with you. Have you changed. Are you a fag.” I retorted, “No…but you are a married woman.” She laughed and said, “Oh…Now I get it..Sarwar is dead, no more, he is gone. I am free. I am free.” I could see the tears rolling down her eyes. I wiped those tears with my thumb. Her face was burning. My hands were trembling.
“What happened to your husband?”, I asked. She said, “He died of a heart attack Daani, 6 months back. He was suffering from heart disease. He had one a year ago. But this one was deadly.” “I am sorry to hear that.” I was barely able to speak. She was in my arms and whispered, “I wanted you Daani, I always wanted you. You are mine. Both me and Sarwar were poles apart. Completely incompatible. But I am happy that he is gone, good riddance, he was a pompous %&$€£¤
I grabbed her face in my hands and kissed her forehead. The heat emanating from her forehead was driving me nuts. I whispered, “But weren’t you guys careful, after the first one. No medicines. It must have been tough.” “Yeah”, she said very softly. “The &^%&±= was supposed to be on medication. The Dr., gave him cholesterol lowering medication. He was supposed to have it every day. I switched the darn things with other tabs. Made it easy for him. Never went back to refill that prescription. He didn’t know. He used to take anything I gave him. I hated the [%^&÷}]. This was my way to get even with him.”
I could feel those tears on my fingers again. I picked her up in my arms and took her to the bed. I laid her down. I could feel the boil in our bodies. I was about to reach for her shirt, when my phone broke the rhythm with its untimely ring. It had the “Red SOS signal”, so I answered. I could hear her say, ” What the &%^%”, but I ignored. I yelled at the phone. “Yes…it is Danny.” I kept the phone on my ear and looked at her while listening from the other end. I told her, “It is Agha Ji, our lead guitarist just had a stroke. I will be right back.” Without looking back, I rushed out of the room.
I took the elevator down. There was no sign of Agha Ji. I found a quiet corner and pulled my phone out and started to write the following e-mail:
“Dear Kiran, It was nice to see you again. I cannot thank you enough for walking out on me If you would have not, I would have never known who I really was. Strange things happen and after all for a reason. My life with you ended right then and there.
We have great memories to cherish. Those memories were instrumental in gifting me with the emotions needed to compose and perform. I was scheduled to perform in 7 cities of the US. A couple of months back, I got an email from a Captain Luis Ochoa from Dallas Police Dept. He found my e mail while investigating your e mail address book. You had sent me an e-card on my birthday. He went through all the e mails that you had sent me in all those years, when we were together. The red flag was that I was e mailed by you exactly after 5 years.
We spoke over the phone and he explained to me what his hunch was. You had just cashed a $5 Million policy on your husband. The Adjusters and Investigators of the Insurance company were scratching their heads. They knew something was up. But they wanted evidence. When they told me, what they suspected had happened, I was not able to resist. This is the least I could do. The two complimentary tickets to my concert that you got in the mail from a local jeweler actually came from the Detective Ochoa’s Dept.
He needed hard evidence and I promised him that I will get it for him. The first call that I got as soon as we came inside the room was from Detective Ochoa. That was his signal that the surveillance video was being turned on. So your admission could be recorded. Your admission of killing your own husband by purposely failing to give him his medication as you were supposed to.
Kirbie, you were not mine. You were no one’s. You were for yourself. You only knew that you wanted money and lots of it. I wanted nothing except your love, but some how your love for green dollars superseded anything in life. You know that I am worth a few million dollars now, so you want me. Another Sarwar Rana. No I am not Sarwar. I am Daanyal Basheer. This love of yours is nothing but a facade
As soon as I will hit the send button, in exactly 3.5 minutes, Detective Ochoa and his people will open the door with the card key and take you into custody, of course after reading your “Miranda Rights.” Good Riddance you filthy %&±“%.” I hit the “Send” button on my phone and started to walk outside of the Hotel. My Limo and the Driver were waiting right outside.