Prashant Dayal (Deewal Part-69): It was Saturday; Mohammed couldn’t sleep the previous night thinking about the issues they were facing in digging the tunnel. The first issue was of not having any idea about the direction of digging. Mohammed did come up with a solution for it. He told Yunus that one of them will have to fall sick and go to the jail hospital on Monday. Why exactly? even Yunus wasn’t told about it. It was the second issue that kept Mohammed awake the whole night. He did come up with an idea but wasn’t sure if the jail authorities would be agreeing what he was going to put forth them. Next morning, he woke up and after a bath, sat down to write something on a piece of paper. It was Abu and Riyaz’s turn that day to dig the tunnel. Parvez and Yusuf were near the entrance of the barrack, chatting up with the warden as a part of their distraction ploy, while Mohammed and Yunus were inside the barrack. That’s when they overheard some loud noises, which indicated that something was amiss. It was the sound of Yusuf and Parvez as if they were having a loud argument of sorts. Mohammed and Yunus looked at each other first, then they got up and went towards the gate of the barrack. Their doubts were true. It was Yusuf and Parvez, having an argument with two guards who had come to check their barrack. This was also a part of the plan, to not let anyone come inside and stop them at the entrance itself by having an argument with them.

 It was a heated argument between the guards and Yusuf-Parvez. “You have no other work but come and harass us like this!” yelled Yusuf. This angered one of the guards, “Stay in your limits Yusuf, don’t teach me what are we supposed to do. We are doing our work!” To this, Parvez chipped in, “Yeah, right… We know your job is to provide us with burnt rotis and daal mixed with lots of chili” This made the other guard get defensive and say, “How come burnt rotis came into this… We’re here simply to do our routine checking” “If checking is your job, why don’t you ever check the kind of food that is being served to us. You have been harassing us ever since we complained about you in the court,” said Yusuf. This incensed the guard so much that he lifted his lathi to hit Yusuf, but Mohammed came in and held the stick, “Why are you so angry, what is it? Tell me… talk to me,” said Mohammed. The guard then complained to Mohammed, “This langda and batka always have issues with something or the other” Mohammed knew that this was just a fake argument done to alert the other accomplices of incoming guards for checking. Mohammed knew if he didn’t play a trick here, they might find out that Abu and Riyaz are missing.

Mohammed began to sweet-talk the guards and looking at Yusuf and Parvez, he began to pretend to scold them. “You two always have a problem with them. You think they come here with their own wish? They too have to follow orders. They’re doing their job by conducting these checking rounds”

He then turned towards the guards and said, “Sir, please forgive them… You do your job please…” and he gave way to the guard to enter the barrack. The guards were looking at each other. Yunus understood what Mohammed actually did by being nice to the guards. He knew if the guards come in, they’d be in trouble. So Mohammed was taking them into confidence. “We too are not interested in conducting such checks; we’re not harassing you people, said the guard and then turning towards Yusuf he continued, “You should learn from Mohammedbhai on how to talk to people, always barking at everyone like a mad dog” This made Yusuf’s blood boil, but before he could react, Yunus held his wrist, signalling him to stay calm. The guards simply shook hands with Mohammed and began to leave without checking. “Sir, can you do me a favor?” asked Mohammed to the leaving guards. They turned towards him, “Sir can you please hand it over to the jailer, it’s a request letter” said Mohammed, handing over a folded piece of paper, the same on which Mohammed was writing something some time ago. The guards tried to read it, but as it was written in English, they couldn’t understand anything and tried hard to control their expressions not to give out to the inmates that they didn’t understand what was in the letter. “Yeah sure, will do,” said the guard. Neither Yusuf, Yunus and Parvez not the jail guards had any clue what was written on that paper.

As both the guards left, the inmate who normally is assigned the duty of the warden outside prison barracks looked at Mohammed and gave him a salute. He was simply surprised seeing what just happened in front of his eyes. He couldn’t take sides in such situations but had great respect for Mohammed. Mohammed then signaled the other inmates to get into the barracks. As they came in, Mohammed looked at them and said, “Langde, Yusuf... Good performance,” referring to the fake argument they had with the guards to stop them in their tracks. He continued “But we need to make newer plans as this idea won’t work for the longer run. They might suspect foul play.” A usually confused Yunus asked Mohammed, “Major what was written in that paper you gave to the guard?”

With a wry smile on his face, Mohammed said that he has requested for a compass. Yunus wondered if Mohammed has lost his mind or what.