Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

Application to Heaven

‘Hi.. Umm.. My name is X. As you must be knowing, I was sent to hell for my life in earth. It has been 14 years si…’

Vivek paused the video and swore loudly.
“Who allowed a 14 year old to send a petition.” He asked his subordinates. No one looked at him directly. Knowingly, he immediately turned to Junior.

“What is the meaning of this? I have told you the rules a hundred times. No one can send a petition until he has spent an equivalent time of his or her age. How hard is it for you to understand?” Vivek fumed.

He hated this job. It had two things that were beyond his paygrade. One, he had to spend at least sometime in hell to check on the situation. Second, he had to watch the bloody applications. Ever since God has had the epiphany, his life has become hell. Vivek thought miserably.

The decree was passed, without consulting him mind you, that anyone in hell who has had good behavior and is changed can now be sent to heaven. The applications can be made in either video, audio or written format. Most inmates used video as the technology was fairly robust and they thought that looking at their pitiful state would appease him. Ha!

Truth be told, it did work sometimes. Especially when Vivek saw the rules acting up stupid. Two days after the law was passed, a video came through, obviously made by one of his assistant, of a baby of around 5 months. The baby spoke nothing but kept on looking at the video crying and then being pacified to laughter. It took him a minute to realise that he was watching a petition and not some baby video on Facebook.

Looking at the file, he came to know that the baby had jumped (more like fallen) from the roof and on technicality, had committed a suicide. Really! a seven month suicidal baby. She was in hell since seventeen months. He could not believe what he was seeing.

On a thorough search by the staff, about three hundred children below the age of one and about 15000 children below the age of 5 were found in hell, who ended up here because the process was done by a machine without brains. They were all immediately transferred to heaven. He had felt really good about it and that week was considered the best week for the HMC (Hell Maintenance Committee). Vivek allowed a few applications to pass through even when the age of the applicant in hell was less than the age on Earth. After all, just because a kid had lived for four years on Earth doesn’t mean he should live the same in this God-forsaken place, Vivek thought amused at his pun.

The first month was good too. A lot of people were there for measly reasons and were shifted to heaven. Then the lot began to rot. First came the murderers. They always had the same excuse — ‘self-defence’. Then the thieves- ‘we were just providing for the family’ and then even the rapists- ‘heat of the moment, we are sooooooorry’. As if the extra o’s change everything now.

But this, this was just out of control. This guy was a murderer and had not even lived in hell for his age.

“Tell me Junior. What is wrong with you? Why are you sending this application to me?”

“Just look at it once. You will understand. I promise.” Junior pleaded.

Curious, Vivek unpaused the video.

“…nce I was part of that incident. I will be honest. At first I did not understand why I was placed here and I thought I had offended God in some other manner. But, I have been told that it was that incident that is the reason for my place in hell. Looking back at everything, I apologise for my mistakes and I wish I was not a part of it. In the end, I would again reiterate, I thought I was doing this in God’s honour. If I knew it was not God’s wish, I would not have been a part of 9/11. Thank you.”

The video stopped. Vivek looked at Junior puzzled. Junior looked at Vivek eagerly. Surely he must have missed something.

“What did you want me to see? This guy is going to stay here a long time Junior.”

“But… He did it for him.” Junior replied. “It must be worth something.”

“It doesn’t matter who he did it for. It is what he did that matters.” Vivek said deleting the video.