For days he had heard witnesses who had seen him shooting in cold blood. He was sharp. Until the blood had bled, how could it be cold? Why did they say "garam khoon"?(warm blood)
He laughed at the thought. He laughed because everyone imagined he was a grinner. He knew what he was saying and doing.
He did not care much about his lawyer. Abbas Kazmi looked like a polished villain in an old Hindi film. In those films the villain was not made to look bizarre like Mogambo. He looked like he could give competition to the hero, except that he was vile.
Kasab understood that he was vile but he did not like the fact that Kazmi had to know so much. Everyone knew but he had to make Kazmi into a confidante. He had to look into those sad eyes and tell his version of the truth. He would get bored so he began to spring surprises.
That night he was restless. The floor was like a skin to him soaked in perspiration. He started licking it. "Kutta kaheen ka!" (dog) he screamed out and started beating himself.
The guard tapped the bars of his cell.
"Kya karta hai? Apun ko maarne deta tau promotion milta. Saala tu tau marke jaayega aur apun idhar sadega..." (What are you doing? Had you let me beat you I would get promoted. Now you will die and I will rot here.)
Kasab liked this guard. His name was Shinde. Shin-dey. He pronounced the D softly. Like they did in Faridkot.
He wondered how Faridkot had become so important. Everyone in India knew about it now. He started crying. He thought about his village, the khaat on which be sat as he broke the twig and used it to clean his teeth. His mother would bring him milky tea. He was afraid of his father because it was believed he had to.
His sisters thought he was a good-for-nothing as sisters usually do. They got married and left amidst much fanfare. When he left, no one knew.
"Ai, ab so ja," said Shinde. "Kal corut mein phir tera vaat lagega." (Go to sleep. Tomorrow in court you will have it good and proper.)
Shinde's mouth was stuffed with tobacco.
Kasab drifted off to sleep. Next day in the courtroom he saw hands with threads and tassels. What was it?
"Raksha Bandhan," they told him. He knew he could have protected his sisters. Now they did not need it. In Faridkot, they did not celebrate it. He was enjoying his Indian rendezvous. He had learned Hindi, he knew what they were saying in court. He remembered his sisters' eyes. They were sad eyes but not like Kazmi's. He turned to his lawyer and said he too wanted a rakhi.
They said it might happen.
The day passed. No one would get close to him. He had killed people. He had lied. He was too visible. And Faridkot was not like Sicily.
He scratched his wrist and a thin red line formed. When Shinde met him, he showed him his hand.
"Yeh kya hai?" (What is this )
"Saab, mera rakhi." (Sir, my rakhi)
"Tera behen kab aya? Haan? Kisko shendi lagata?" (When did your sister arrive? Who are you trying to fool?)
He fidgeted in his pocket and brought out a bright yellow thread with a spongy round flower on it. He handed it to Kasab.
"Mera behen ne bheja tera waaste." (My sister has sent it for you.)
"Ai, yeda jaisa mat hans. Idhar rahega tau uska raksha waise ich ho jaayega. Tera tension nahin ke kab kidhar goli maare!" (Hey, stop grinning like a lunatic. If you are here she will naturally be protected since you can't be trigger happy!)
"Kya naam? Kiska?" (Whose name?)
"Behen ka." (Your sister's)
"Thank you, saab..."
"Theek hai, theek hai." (Ok,ok)
Kasab touched the string and tightened it. The red of his nail marks was hidden.
- - -
Ajmal Kasab did ask for a rakhi in court. The rest is just fiction.