When Mani died, at the age of 47, all his old friends were invited to his funeral, the ones who had been in school and college with him, and the neighbours who had seen him as a kid, wiping snot on his shirt collar.
After the quiet, dignified funeral, these old mates got together with Mani’s newer friends and held a makeshift wake for him.
As far as the information provided to them went, Mani’s death had been an accident – a gas cylinder left on, a fuse that short-circuited.
But as his friends got drunker and drunker and talked, they pieced together a conspiracy. A web of hatred. And the final touch – murder disguised as accident. At four in the morning, this revelation came as a shock. They looked at each other, nodded silently.
The next afternoon, they remembered some kind of decisive feeling, and a solemn nod. Then they went home.