Hyderabad

                                                                                  Via www.wikipedia.com by Yedla70

A large portion of rewriting comes as rewriting. First and foremost get the words down on paper. Once they are committed to digital or paper the fun begins. Leaving it alone for a short time and then coming back reveals places of improvement. When that has been massaged, tweaking words and phrases gets down to meaning for each character or increases flow. The following is a draft of my new novel “The Grand Hyderabad Excursion”. To improve my craft I take lessons with Tom Hyman at the LongRidgeWriters groups. I took a portion of the novel and revamped for the parameters of the assignment. The actual piece is much longer and much more detailed. It is important scene in the novel that reveals items about the characters and shows how Sharlene is transitioning to a young adult. Feel free to make suggestions for improvement. It is how writers hone in on the novel and create realism. Hope you enjoy the excursion!

GROWING UP IN INDIA

“Sharlene. You are helping with an investigation. I am making arrangements for you with Vijay and Raja to visit a clinic. The clinic will have a packet of information and possibly some medical supplies to give you. I need someone I can trust. Vijay is protection,” said her Dad, Dr. McGowan, as he stood beside her stroking in red beard.

“But Dad! Vijay and I have not come to a full understanding yet about his bodyguard duties. He is still in training to do as I tell him to and not to his code. I am still learning how to give orders without my sense of humor interfering. We are not in synch yet. You know what trouble we have had. I would rather be with you and Sajiv,” replied Sharlene obviously not happy about the assignment.

“No. Sajiv has a job to do. I have confidential matters to deal with this afternoon and a meeting with local law enforcement authorities. Like I said, I need someone I can trust for this clinic. Few are going to suspect a teenage girl retrieving something important. Vijay is your body guard, and you have to learn to handle him if you are staying in India,” said Dr. McGowan staring intensely into Sharlene’s eyes.

“Dad what if something happens? What if I get lost? What if I chase Vijay off?” said Sharlene feeling trapped and vulnerable all at the same time.

“Something always happens around you Sharlene which is why I hired Vijay. You are my smart resourceful daughter. You insisted on staying in India, going to college in India, and this will get you ready,” reminded Dr. McGowan.

“Grand. Now you treat me like an adult,” replied Sharlene.

Dr. McGowan glanced at Sajiv who was near, “Someone has been advocating for you and reminding me, you are not a child anymore. Sajiv is right in this matter. I have to let you go out, and handle things on your own while I am near. Though I am beginning to doubt your maturity level at the moment.”

Taken aback by that statement Sharlene calmed down. She had been telling her Dad to treat her more like an adult. Now that he did, she acted like a fool.

“Okay Dad. I will pick up your packet. Sorry.”

“Order some dessert while I make arrangements,” replied her Dad as he patted her shoulder and left. Sajiv quickly took his place.

In hushed tones, Sajiv said, “To establish your authority with Vijay, do not wait for him to come to you. After I am done talking with your father, get the details of this afternoon. You tell Vijay what you are doing this afternoon, how you want to be transported, and put him in charge of Raja. Make sure you give him orders. Here is my embassy card with my mobile number if a problem arises.”

“Thanks Sajiv,” said Sharlene.

She watched Vijay and Raja while waiting for her dessert. They played like two tomcats. An older more sedate cat kept just out of reach of a younger energetic one that kept poking, and prodding with its paws just to irritate, but Vijay had characteristics of a military man. Sharlene had not considered planning for college meant leaving her father, let alone managing a body guard. Before the thought went any further, the waiter had laid the dessert in front of her. Deep, dark, gooey chocolate was what she needed to shake the dreaded feeling of the unknowns in her life. Satisfied and filled with confidence she called out to Vijay.

“Vijay it’s time to go. You need to check to see if an embassy car is available for our use. We are going to this address,” said Sharlene as she handed him the paper.

“We will pick up a packet from this clinic. I need you to be especially observant about our surroundings in case someone wishes to intervene.”

Vijay stood up glanced at the address one last time and calmly stared into Sharlene’s eyes and said, “Yes, mam. I will return with information on our transportation. I will find the best route to take. Excuse me, Raja.”

“One more thing Raja is going with us. Doctor’s orders,” stressed Sharlene.

“No problem. Raja and I have come to an understanding. Is that not correct, Raja?” said Vijay smirking.

“Oh yes. We have cleared all misunderstandings. Vijay knows his place in this world now,” said Raja with a grin of defiance.

“As do you Raja. As do you,” quickly replied Vijay.

The cold chill in Vijay’s voice nearly sent chills up Sharlene’s spine but did not phase Raja. As Vijay left, Sharlene decided to sit and chat with Raja to show him she was not intimidated by his mannerisms. Sharlene interrupted his silence with, “The chocolate dessert was excellent.”

“My restaurants back in New Delhi serve superior dessert, I am sure. You will have to come in and try them all sometime. I will go on your excursion, but only because I need to make high level contacts here in Hyderabad,” commented Raja and Sharlene felt unsafe.

Sensing her uncomfortableness, Raja continued with, “You know your friend Vijay is a dangerous man. You should worry that your father chose such a man for one so precious as you.”

“Vijay is not dangerous to me. Just anyone who threatens me,” said Sharlene as Sajiv had instructed her. The smile slid off Raja’s face and he started playing with his food. Sharlene decided Raja was an opportunist.

Vijay reappeared and headed straight to Sharlene. “An embassy vehicle was prearranged for us.  When do you wish to leave?” said Vijay in a formal voice.

Now. Take Raja and get him ready to go,” said Sharlene and they headed to the front door.

After stopping and kissing her Dad on the cheek, Sharlene headed out. Vijay had her car door open and ready. He allowed her to become situated before he sat up front with the driver. Raja was seated on the left behind the driver staring out the window. Sharlene exhaled slowly relieved that Vijay had taken on his role of being her bodyguard. All it had taken was her taking on her role decisively.

Silence and sighing filled the cab but about midways into the twenty minute trip, Raja spoke up.

“I will own this town Sharlene. It would be wise to be especially nice to me.  I never forget how I was treated,” said Raja.

Undaunted at Raja’s tactic Sharlene replied, “I am sure you will accomplish that Raja, but for now you are here at my Dad’s good graces. Don’t abuse the privilege.”

“Maybe you and I can help each other. For a fee, I can get you access to people and or material items. Why not step away from your father for a short time and let me give you what you need most?” said Raja lighting up at a possible temptation and deal in the making.

Sharlene could not help but laugh, “There may come a day Raja when I need your help, but I will not step away from my father. Thank you but no thank you.”

“It is your loss, but the offer is always open when you need it. If you stay in India Sharlene, you will need me some day as your father has found out,” said Raja as he smoothed out his clothes and took on the aura of one in power.

“You will have to talk to me first Raja before any offer,” interjected Vijay not even looking back.

“Bodyguards come and go Vijay. They tend to die young protecting young charges that do foolish things,” said Raja.

“Only bodyguards that are caught unaware, Raja. I did learn all I needed about you while chatting with you at dinner. You are only a threat if I let you become that,” calmly stated Vijay.

Rasha Ayruvedic Centre was located in a complex. Its burnt umber exterior with beams of cream white had a warm feel. An arrowed bold lettered sign advertised hours and treatments. In red was lettered, Dr. Murali. Sharlene hopped out of the car quickly followed by Vijay who quickly scanned the area. Raja sat in the car petting his outfit.

Sharlene stuck her head in through the open side door and said, “Coming?”

Raja rolled his eyes and with a droll expression replied, “This neighborhood and place are not in my business plans. Vijay had explained to me earlier I was to ride here. I have. I will sit and enjoy the view.”

“Okay let’s go Vijay. Raja is pondering about his new empire,” said Sharlene.

Vijay strode ahead and opened the clinic door for Sharlene to enter. Stepping inside the clinic it surprisingly had a modern atmosphere much like any Western clinic.

Locating the receptionist window, Sharlene walked up and greeted, “Hello. I am Sharlene McGowan. My Dad called about sending someone to pick up a package?”

Vijay paced the room like a tiger expecting some bogey man to pop out with a lab “Yes,” and the nurse rang up Doctor Murali.

With coal black hair and a full mustache, Dr. Murali appeared. He extended his hand out instead of the usual namaste and Sharlene quickly shook it. In the other hand, he held a full folder that had the flap across the top and a string that wound around an aperture.

“Tell your Dr. McGowan, we have gone over all our lab reports several times during that period time patients received injections. We had the place cleansed with antiseptic fluids for several months to ensure it would not happen again. We disposed of any supplies that possibly had created or led to the contamination. The officers investigating the case did not wish to take the supplies. I had hoped a more in depth investigation would ensue. I have kept it in a sterile environment at a nearby university. I do research on treatments and medicinal plants for my clinic. I have put the address in the packet for the University and a name. Your father is welcome to obtain it and use for his research,” said Dr. Murali.

Sharlene took the package from his hand, “Thank you.”

“Good day to you. Good luck with your investigation. I hope the gods show favor, and we find out the cause for all these patients ills,” said the Dr. Murali.

Sharlene turned and headed out the door, with Vijay close behind, but when she got to the car Raja was not there.

“Driver where is Raja? Did you let him out?” said Sharlene. She realized her mistake of letting Raja out of both her and Vijay’s sight. Raja slithered into something every time he had the chance. She carefully placed the package in the back seat of the car. Dad had trusted her to pick it up, and she wanted nothing to break that trust

The driver answered, “He took a walk. Is that a crime? I had no instructions for not letting him out of my car. Next time give me instructions, and I will be happy to comply.” Sharlene knew the driver was correct.

“Vijay! Raja has wandered off. Find him!” screamed Sharlene in frustration.

Vijay immediately headed across the road. Apparently he had determined where Raja was. Sharlene looked up and saw Raja talking to a group of teenagers across the roadway, flashing something in his hand in front of their faces. Sharlene knew Raja was teaching them about “fees” and corrupting them for his Hyderabad empire. Sharlene inwardly gloated that Vijay was about to disrupt all that.

When Vijay reached Raja, an intense conversation began with Vijay grabbing Raja by the throat. Most of the teenagers scattered except for one. The boy took it as an opportunity to grab the money from Raja’s hand. But before he could escape, Vijay had pushed Raja hard against the building wall bashing the back of his head. As Vijay let go, Raja slid down the side of the building. Sharlene looked on in horror as Vijay had the time to swing his fist and plow it directly into the teenager’s face.

Sharlene started screaming for Vijay to stop. No sound came out of her mouth until she ran across the roadway. Her voice came out “V-i-i-i-i-i J-a-a-a-a-y  STOP!”

Vijay either did not hear or disregarded her order. Sharlene saw the teenager fall to the ground with blood spurting out from his nose like a river. Then Vijay raised his right leg into the air and stomped full force on the teenager’s arm.  Sharlene heard the bone break and her stomach lurched. The moan from the teenager reached her ears and sounded like a wounded animal. She reached Raja who was conscious and was laughing at Vijay mauling the teenager while rubbing the goose egg forming on the back of his head.

Sharlene took her purse off her arm and slung it as hard as she could at the back of Vijay’s head infuriated by Raja’s inane laughter, and Vijay’s refusal to acknowledge her orders. Vijay had just  picked up the teenager’s head when her purse impacted on Vijay’s neck. Leaving a welt, the purse caused Vijay to spin around to find who had attacked him. Sharlene cringed when she saw Vijay’s face was calm and focused despite the blood spatter speckled across it.

“What are you doing? Shut up Raja!”

Vijay did not answer but continued with the cold stare and a seeming readiness to attack her.

Raja stammered, “He took my money. No one takes my money. If Vijay had not interrupted us, I would have hurt the kid myself. It is the way of things, Sharlene,”

“Maybe in your world, but not mine. You were told to stay in the car, Raja.”

With that Raja turned his face slightly away. He knew he needed the McGowan’s reputation to give him credibility where he may only be known for his black market activities. Vijay still stood soldier straight with no emotion, no passion, no nothing. The teenager softly moaned in the background.

“I GAVE you an ORDER Vijay to get Raja and to stop. You did not obey me. Why did you do this? Why?”

Vijay’s eyes suddenly changed and became focused. Sharlene knew full well Raja would take advantage of the situation if Vijay did not respond. She had to for the moment ignore the fact that the teenager lay bleeding on the ground with his arm angled unnaturally and part of a bone tore through his upper arm bleeding. Raja stood silent warily watching Vijay. Sharlene knew she had looked into the eyes of a killer who would have no remorse performing his duty if so ordered. She now knew Raja knew it as well.

Banking on the information Sajiv had told her, Sharlene talked to Vijay like a wayward servant.

“The Colonel and Sajiv will not be pleased when I tell them what you did. No one told you to beat up the teenager. I did not even tell you to beat up Raja. I told you to get him,” spitted out Sharlene.

“He stole Raja’s money,” replied Vijay calmly as if nothing had happened.

“My Dad’s money pays you to body guard me. You are mine. You did not follow my orders. What part of my order did you not understand? So what use are you to me,” said Sharlene.

Vijay did not react, did not explain, did not justify but just stood there waiting like a robot.

Breathing in several times in and out she began to think. She had helped her Dad with patients when visiting out of the way places more than once. She remembered how he talked to his helpers. Calm with authority. She glanced at the teenager whose blood was spilling out on the sidewalk. It meant he was alive.

“Vijay I want you to pick up that boy and take him to the clinic we just left, Dr. Musali can tell us where the local hospital is and maybe do some triage.”

Then she glanced at Raja, became intensely angry, and with a fierce gleam in her eyes looked back at Vijay. “Tell Raja to go to the car. If he gives you any trouble– KILL him.”

Raja eyes flew wide open with a kill order directed at him. Vijay’s face broke out into a toothy grin. In that moment, she knew Vijay had become her bodyguard and one that would kill without remorse or regard. The thought settled heavy in her being, but she pushed it aside since more pressing matters demanded attention.

Sharlene turned around wanting to cry and vomit but she knew to show any weakness would give Raja and Vijay an opportunity to try to dominate. She saw the driver standing beside the car shaking his head, phone in hand. As she walked away, she heard Vijay tell Raja “Pick up the boys legs.”

Calling out to the driver “Vijay beat Raja and a teenager. We need medical help immediately. Go into the clinic and see if Dr. Murali can help.”

Sharlene reached the clinic door with Raja, Vijay and the injured teenager in tow. Dr. Murali opened the door for them. Sharlene decided to stay outside and call Sajiv. The police would be notified and Sajiv knew how to handle those matters. Trouble had found Sharlene, but this time she corrected it. She knew her Dad had intentionally thrown her into the situation so she would know how dangerous India could become. Sharlene had learned she could handle it.

Feeling confident, Sharlene waited for Sajiv’s voice, “Sharlene, what happened?”

“As Dad predicted—trouble–, and I HANDLED Vijay and Raja, but not before they nearly beat a teenager to death. Get here. I am staying in India. Vijay obeyed me. Make sure you call Dad. It is a bloody mess.”

“Hmmm maybe we can use it on the college application as community activities. Do you have the packet?” said Sajiv.

“Not funny Sajiv and you owe me a dinner. This one without Dad—my kind of discipline,” said Sharlene.

“Sharlene do you have the packet?” asked Sajiv again.

“Yes Sajiv I have the packet,” replied Sharlene.

“Then welcome to India, Sharlene,” laughed Sajiv.

Sharlene shook her head and hung up the phone. Then Sharlene punched in the police number and went into the clinic to deal with the rest.