‘Fear wasn’t his only weapon’

The sharpshooter was at least two decades older than Rahul.

Published: 30th September 2020 04:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2020 04:54 AM   |  A+A-

Puja Changoiwala

By Express News Service

BENGALURU : The sharpshooter was at least two decades older than Rahul. Dark-skinned and bespectacled with a medium built, he did not dress like a gangster. He would wear formal clothes, and his shoulders drooped like that of an ordinary, hard-working man. Rahul immediately fell for his conventional attire and counterintuitive ways. Unlike stereotypical gangsters, he wasn’t an oppressor. Fear wasn’t his only weapon. He was polite, even kind, just like [don] Mahajan had been over the phone.

As the duo reached Bhaijaan’s residence, Rahul realized they were entering a dark, isolated under-construction site. They walked hundreds of metres to the farthest end, and reached the lone building on the plot. Still unpainted, only one of the apartments appeared lit in the four-storey structure.
‘A developer offered me the place for a few days,’ Bhaijaan turned to Rahul to douse his queries, ‘Until the cops cool down.’

‘Of course.’
When Rahul reached the 450-square-foot apartment on the third floor, he noticed it had nothing more than a few basic essentials – a mattress, a gas stove, a few utensils and vegetables, a bucket, empty whisky bottles, a table fan and a few books.

Two yellow bulbs were the only sources of light, and one of them illuminated something striking – an old newspaper in a corner of the room strewn with seven firearms and dozens of bullets with varied diameters. ‘Yes, go for them,’ Bhaijaan read Rahul’s mind. ‘First gunmetal feels better than your first pussy.’

Rahul reached for one of the pistols and ran his fingers on its grip. His adrenaline shot up, and he pointed the gun at a tree outside the window. ‘Fire away,’ Bhaijaan encouraged. ‘No one can hear you here.’‘I don’t know how to.’‘Bring it to me.’When Rahul walked up to the sharpshooter with one of the revolvers, Bhaijaan was pleased.‘You’ve picked the most precious one,’ he said. 

‘They look the same to me.’
‘The one you’ve picked is a 0.45 mm revolver. This one’s called the “real man-stopper”.’
Bhaijaan smiled. ‘Beautiful range, gorgeous precision. We source these from the Indian military. Even their bullets, which are much fatter and leave larger wound cavities, have to be procured from the army.’
‘These must be 

zexpensive, no?’
‘Yes, of course. Regular underworld shooters use 9 mms, available for 60,000 to 75,000 rupees. 0.45s cost double the amount. Carbines are even more expensive, more than 1.5 lakh a gun.’Rahul could tell that the sharpshooter was passionate about his weapons. He spoke of their calibre, penetration and capacities like a doting father would praise his children. As the two sat discussing the features of various firearms, Bhaijaan’s wife Inayat entered the living room.

Rahul noticed how pretty she was when stress didn’t crease her forehead. She was dressed in a peach salwar kameez, and her skin was a perfect bronze. Willowy and graceful, her big, brown eyes lit up every time she looked at Bhaijaan, matching the tiny diamond stud on her perfect nose.Extracted from Gangster on the Run: The True Story of a Reformed Criminal by Puja Changoiwala, with permission from  HarperCollins India.


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