Many people are afraid of mice. Ranjit isn’t one of them. So when a mouse came scampering towards him as he parked his motorcycle in his apartment complex, he wasn’t worried. Surprised, but unworried.

Many people detest cats. Ranjit isn’t one of them. But when a cat pounced on him right after the mouse scurried up his leg under his trousers, he was a bit worried. Surprised, and worried.

Many people are misanthropists. Ranjit isn’t one of them. But when Vipin followed the cat in jumping on him, he lost his balance not just due to the sudden barrage of bodies. The fact that his roommate had yelled ‘Laila’ en route to making the jump only added more delirium.

In addition to not minding mice, cats, and humans, Ranjit is a sturdy fellow. His baby-face might suggest otherwise, but his thick body helps him stand firm. Two small animals and his not-so-small roommate couldn’t topple him. But when a fourth body attacked him in a most feral manner, he relented. The fact that this new person bellowed ‘Majnu’ as his battle cry made Ranjit let go of not just the ground but trying to wrap his head around the situation. He was vexed and perplexed.

Had he arrived earlier in the evening, he would have seen how Vipin was enraged to find the cat that strutted around the building suddenly dyed pink. The cat had hopped in from his window looking distraught. Vipin didn’t have to wait too long to know who the culprit was. Wafting in through the open window was Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther score, and looking out from his window across the street was a bespectacled teenager.

The whole street knew that this wart-faced lanky teenager had a mouse. He thought he owned Majnu, but it was common knowledge that Majnu rented his room without a lease. The lease was in the hands of his single father, who was rather averse to mice. It was a daily occurrence for the father to throw the mouse out, for the mouse – copying cats and flipping them off mid-air – to miraculously land unharmed, and for the teenager to go looking for him.

Today, Majnu had finally decided to play the role associated with his given name, and thus approached the feline across the road. Laila, though, was in no mood for roleplaying. She was wont to lazing around during the day and long siestas. So when Majnu pranced and squeaked around her, she snapped and clawed his tail off. It was the first time the rodent returned to his house on his own accord.

    The sight of a tailless mouse was worse than a mental image of standing in public wearing nothing other than footwear for the teenager. He saw the marks on his pet’s rear and found the perpetrator licking her paw from his window. Loss of dignity could only be responded with loss of dignity. Laila woke up with a start, but she was too late in saving herself from being spray-painted pink.

As Vipin eyed his adversary from his window, Laila hissed at her fabled lover. Human nomenclature had failed to help her climb over her inherited hatred. But Majnu refused to give up just yet. When the sun went down, he crossed the road.

Cats have acute night vision. Laila watched him enter her territory and sprung at him predatorily. The scuttling was loud enough for two pairs of watchful eyes and ears. However, it couldn’t be heard over the rumble of a motorbike engine.

Two seconds after stepping down, Ranjit lay supine, with four more bodies than he was used to carrying. He was scratched, bitten, pinched, and even groped as a matter of fact. Two seconds later, Ranjit decided he had had enough. His powerful kicks sent the humans flying, and his bucket hand grabbed at the lovers-haters. But seeing how their tussle continued under his hand, Ranjit threw them away.

Despite being mauled in her paws, Majnu rejoiced. Little did he know that in enacting his role, he had set forth a turn of events that had only one end. Theirs was a story too grand for this world. An SUV was the agent of death as the duo landed beneath its racing tyres. They were crushed hand in hand. Not even death could do them part.

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