Last 50 days – Yet another love story

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Last 50 days – Yet another love story

EPISODE 1

It was another monotonous start of the week for every IT employee. IT employees hate Mondays, as you all know, but I was a bit different. I loved working on all days.  I worked in a top IT company’s SEZ facility. I had completed my graduation and joined through campus recruitment.  During college days, I had wanted to study further for my masters. But due to certain family situations and problems I had decided to defer my idea. It’s been 9 months since I joined this company. Though software life was highly monotonous, I loved working only because of the girl I loved so much.

I won’t describe as the most beautiful person in the world, but anyone can fall for her smile. Fair, slim, medium height and she doesn’t apply make-up which is the best thing I like about her. Very casual and carefree, highly friendly and wow when she enters the office it’s like the whole office glitters. She also greets everyone with that beautiful smile. Even my manager who keeps his face long and harsh manages to wear that smile when she greets him. I had always wondered if I could tell her how beautiful her smile was and how much I loved her. But as in all love stories, I didn’t have the courage to even stand in front of her. Whenever someone called her for help like “Hey Anu, can you please come here and help me?”, something would burn inside me and I would want to go and bash the person who called her.

Anu aka Anushka is that girl who keeps my life going despite the daily work pressure. One look at her and all the tension in me went away. She was a north Indian and would mostly converse in Hindi. She was quite an extrovert and pretty famous. Yeah of course, I was just the opposite. I was a South Indian spoke nothing but Tamil and very bad English. I was a total introvert and stuck to my gang of friends and of course I was hardly famous.

It was the end of product release, and hardly anyone worked.  Majority of them were chatting, reading mails, etc. I was reading the community page in the office website where employees would paste different stories from different genres. Many of them were love stories. I was applying for universities for my master’s degree. I had decided the day Anu entered the office, that she’s the girl with whom I want to live. She got transferred from Noida to Bangalore and I was lucky enough to see her in my life, in my office, in my project and in my floor.

I was seated at the middle of the ODC, first floor while she was seated at the end corner of the ODC. She would walk past me whenever she went for breaks or at the end of the day. Those few seconds while she passed me was the reason I came regularly to office without putting leave. She was very professional, sincere and punctual. She generally prefers wearing casuals than chudis.

Days were moving fast and still I was happy to see her than talk to her. My friends collected all details about her at the initial stages and I had a big blow. She was a year and a half elder than me. This was seriously a very big blow to me and all my dreams were shattered. In life one of the biggest strengths are friends. They encouraged me a lot to proceed with Anu despite the fact that she is elder than me. There after I became even more interested in her.

Every day, I would try to talk to her. But what could I possibly talk? There wasn’t anything common between us. But still I had too. I was thinking of many ways of approaching her like a gentle smile and a hello, offer her a chocolate and lie that it was my birthday, asking her a doubt about the project, etc. I was all set to talk to her the next day.

That night, I checked my mails. I had received admit from a university. I was damn happy.  But I felt something punching my stomach. I remembered that I had to leave my office and most importantly I had to leave Anu.

The next day, I dressed up very neatly much better than the normal days. My expectations were at the peak. I entered office at 9:00am. It became 9.30… 10:00am and still Anu hadn’t come to office. Time went on very slow and it became 12:30pm. I had decided that she had been on leave for the day. I was totally disappointed.

The same day I had scheduled a meeting with my manager, to tell him about my plan of pursuing higher studies. The meeting was at evening 4:00pm. I spoke to my manager in the meeting room and he was quite cool about me resigning. He also informed me about the notice period of two months. He told that there was exactly 50 days more for my last working day. My manager said “All the best for the LAST 50 DAYS.”

EPISODE 2

THE LAST 50 DAYS, it kept ringing on my head. I was about to leave the room when my manager asked, “Raghav are you going to inform our team mates?” I replied him with a nod and left the room. My mind was fully occupied by Anu. I had only 50 days left to tell Anu how much I longed for her companionship, how much I loved her. Suddenly I realised 50 days was too much of a time and that I could easily express my love. I prayed god that it should work out fine for me.

The whole evening at home, I read books, saw movies on Love. I even searched youtube to find videos on how to propose to a girl. I didn’t want to waste any time and I wanted to propose to her the next day which was a Friday. People considered Friday as an auspicious day and I was no exception to that at least in Anu’s case.

DAY 1

Everything seemed special to me. I was looking at things in a new perspective. I left so happy that finally I gathered all courage to propose to the girl of my life. Daily, I would board the cab to my office and I would sleep as it’s about a hour and a half journey to the office. But that day, I couldn’t even think of sleeping. I was so damn excited and whenever I crossed temples I prayed for her well being and of course for the success of my love.

Just as I entered office, my friend called me. “What machi? You look so energetic today?” I just smiled at him and went to my cubicle. I didn’t have guts to see if she had come to office in front of everybody. So I checked her status in Office Communicator and she was available. It was 10:30 am and it was the tea break time for Anu. She went past me; she was wearing a red saree and was damn beautiful. She always wore ethnic wear on Friday which made my day even more special.

I immediately got up from my seat, locked my pc and started walking behind her. She passed the team leader’s cabin and manager’s cabin. Just when she was about to open the door, the manager called her inside. She went inside. Not knowing what to do as I was following her, I made a quite obvious detour to my friend Shiva’s cubicle. Shiva asked “Why are you following Anu like a Hutch dog?” I replied “I am planning to propose to her today, now to be precise but before that manager called her. It always happens like this, whenever I plan to talk to her someone intervenes.” Shiva said “It’s ok da machan, you’ll get a chance.” I said in a sad tone, “No da, I have already missed many chances. I don’t want to miss her forever. I am leaving the company in 49 days.”  The countdown had started.

I came back to my cubicle, I was very disappointed. After half an hour she came out of the manager’s cabin and she went passed me. I threw a smile at her but she didn’t even notice me. I was totally upset.

After one hour I received a mail. It was from Anushka Patel i.e. my Anu. I was so excited about it. When I opened the mail, I realised it was for the entire team. All my excitation dropped like a plummet. But the content of the mail was promising enough. It was about a team outing to a theme park in the outskirts of Bangalore named “Wonder La”. The outing was scheduled next weekend. I thought it was the best opportunity to propose to her. I thanked god for the opportunity.

The day ended on a great note. I was about to leave for the day, when one of my colleagues called her. I was cursing him very badly for calling my Anu. She started walking towards his cubicle and my colleague started walking towards her. I felt like a dumb spectator of a love scene when two lovers walk slowly towards each other. Both of them stopped in front of my cubicle. He was talking something about the team outing and for a good ten minutes time I was able to see Anu doing all kind of gestures like smiling, waving her hands, stroking her hair, etc. Everything was damn cute.

Finally I blessed my colleague for giving me the opportunity to see her continuously for ten minutes. I started with Shiva to the bus stand. It was going to be a long weekend without seeing my Anu.

TO BE CONTINUED… 🙂

EPISODE 3:

DAY 2

It was Saturday morning. Generally IT employees see Saturday as a gift as they can extend their sleep by a few hours. But I saw it as an opportunity to see Anu. Every Saturday morning 8:00am she comes to the HAnuman Temple in an area called HSR Layout. Though she is quite a casual girl, she is god fearing too. HSR Layout was around 2 hours by bus from my place. I woke up at 5:00am. My parents were shocked when they came to know I was going to the temple early in the morning. I got ready and left home by 5.45am. I caught the bus at 5:55am. As I am not used to getting up early, I dozed off in the bus. I reached HSR Layout by 7:45am.

The pooja was going on, it was a small temple and since it was Saturday the crowd was increasing every minute. I was standing at the entrance near the “Slippers Counter”. The Man in charge was not available. People who entered the temple assumed that I was the person in charge for the slippers counter. I entered the temple and waited inside. The pooja was over and still no sign of Anu.

Maybe she was tired and slept off? Or maybe she went to some other temple? Or maybe I missed her in the crowd? I was longing to see her, but couldn’t. I left the temple at 11:00am and reached home by 1:00pm. I couldn’t do anything else but watch TV, the whole day. My mind was fully occupied with Anu and as to why she hadn’t come to the temple.

DAY 3

I went to meet Shiva at his place. He had called me over to his room for watching a movie. After the movie was over, shiva enquired “Raghav, do u seriously love her?” I looked at him scornfully. “Hey I am just trying to help you dude” he said in a reaffirming tone.

“Of course I do shiva, She is the only person I think of from morning to night. She is the only person I yearn for and she is the only woman I want to live with.”

“Okay dude, relax. Having so much in heart and mind, why do you want to postpone things?” Shiva asked.

“I have never postponed telling it. It’s just that whenever I try talking or telling her something or someone comes in between.” I said in a confident tone.

“If there is anything I can do to help ur love, do ask me da.” Shiva said with a pat on my shoulders.

“Thanks machan, I have got to go now. See you tomorrow.” Saying this I left his place. The evening was very normal and didn’t have any special events. I slept early at night in order to look fresh next morning when I propose to Anu.

EPISODE 4:

DAY 4

I had no expectations for the day. Everything was normal like it used to be unlike the previous Friday. I slept in the bus. I got down at office, had my breakfast and went to my cubicle. In the morning, I had to call my parents to tell them to do shopping for my departure to the United States. I had received admission from an university in California a month back. My visa was approved a fortnight back and I had a make a lot of arrangements like booking tickets, shopping, etc.  It was 10:30am and still there were no signs of Anu. Something in me said she had a problem. I thought of asking my manager as to why she had been on leave. But what reason can I give?

Suddenly, I remembered the team outing mail. I went straight to my manager’s cabin. This was the first time I went and spoke to him and he hardly remembered me. His name was Abhilash and people called him short as Abhi. He was a nice person in general, but very strict when it comes to work.

“Abhi, is it a good time to talk to you?” I asked pertinently. “Yes, come in”, he said.

I struggled to talk but somehow managed to spurt “Anu… Anushka.”

“Anushka is on leave for a week. She has gone to Noida. “He said.

“Why? What happened Abhi?”, I asked in a worried tone.

“She told she has some personal work. She prefers keeping things to herself I guess. Anyways is it something important?” Abhi asked.

“Ahhh… Yeah…  Oh no, of course not, It’s about the team outing.” I blurted.

“Oh. That’s fine. You contact Praveen.” Abhi said.

“Ok then, thanks Abhi. “

I left the cabin and was seriously thinking as to what personal work would she have in order to take leave for a week?

Was she going to get engaged? Was she going to get married? Or was it a casual trip? Many questions created a traffic jam in my mind. I was totally confused and not knowing what to do. What if she’s getting engaged? I need to tell her how and what I feel about her. I wanted to see her immediately, for which…

I HAD TO GO TO NOIDA.

I was all set, ready to start my journey. But where could I go? Where does she stay? How can I know her details? My mind was totally blocked trying hard to think for a solution, that’s when a dialogue came to my mind.

“If there is anything I can do to help ur love, do ask me da.”

Yes, Shiva. I rushed to meet him. Unfortunately he was in a Video Conference (VC). It took him around couple of hours to meet me after the VC. As he came near me, I ran to him pulled his arm to rush to the cafeteria.

I explained him what had happened three hours back. “What NOIDA?? Are you mad?” Shiva asked in a shocking tone.

“Yes, Noida and am mad about her. I don’t want to miss her Shiva.”

“But how… Er… where will you? You don’t even know Hindi right? How will you manage?”

“Yes Shiva, you’re right. That’s why I want you to come with me”

“What! Are you joking? I have an appraisal meeting tomorrow.”

“Yes, I know. We will speak with Abhi and make the necessary arrangements.”

“Well…”

“Shiva you’re my only hope. Remember that day you gave me a word that you would do anything for my love.”

“Yes, I did just like friends do in movies. But, never expected something like this to pop in. Anyways I am not guaranteeing you anything. We’ll speak with Abhi and decide what to do next.”

“Sounds great machi. Thanks Shiv. Evalavoo pannitom Itha panna maatoma?”

“Dai stop it da. I will meet him and speak with you.”

“Okay Shiv, once u finish talking I will have to speak with him about applying leave.”

After fifteen minutes, Shiva came out of Abhi’s room. I went running to him and asked what had happened.

“Machi, Abhi has given me a week’s permission and has agreed to postpone my appraisal meeting to next week.”

“That’s awesome Shiv. What reason did u give?”

“I couldn’t find any better reason to give than telling that am going to get engaged.”

“You’re too good a friend.” I said winking at him.

“Don’t be too happy, first go and speak to him for your leave.”

“That’s a piece of cake. Wait here I will come.”

Shiva had seriously lit up my spirits. I would be going to Noida for sure and seeing my Anu. I entered Abhi’s room.

“Hi Abhi, is it a good time to talk to you?”

“Yes, please sit. Give me two minutes. I am sending a mail.”

“Okay.” Saying which I sat on the seat and was thinking what reason to give.

The biggest advantage with me is my face. I can suitably change my face to the situation. I kept my face as a sad one.

“Yes, tell me… I forgot your name…”

“Raghavendran… Raghav”

“Yes raghav, tell me.”

“Well Abhi, I want to take leave for a week.”

“One week? That’s impossible. We’ve lots of work and I am running short of people.”

“Yes, I understand but I am in a very delicate position. My family needs me in Chennai. I need to go. I am willing to work overtime once I am back.”

“Hmmm… Well, I am not allowed to sanction leave to you as you’re on notice period.”

“Yes, I understand Abhi. But I don’t have a choice. It’s too exceptional to reject. So please…”

“Okay fine. You apply for leave. I will approve it.”

“Thanks Abhi, I owe you one.”

“Fine, Take care. Hope it’s not a prank for you to go for some vacation.”

“You bet it’s not, Abhi”

I left the room. Thirty minutes later Shiva and I were going to our room. I called my mom.

What happens Next?? Wait and Watch… 🙂

EPISODE 5

DAY 5

The next day afternoon, I called my mom.

My mom picked the phone after a couple of rings.

“Hi ma, What are u doing?”

“I just finished watching my favourite soap.”

“Oh mom, I guess that serial will never end. What happened to that girl? Did she get married with her lover?“

“No the marriage stopped because her grandmother died.”

“Mom, guess I will get married before the girl in the serial gets married.”

“There are chances.” She said in a merry. “Anyways, what’s the matter? How is Anu? “

“Yes, she’s doing good mom. She has gone to Noida for some personal work it seems. She won’t be here for a week. I am wondering what work it will be for a week. I am afraid that it may be her engagement.”

“Well jillu, it certainly won’t be so. You like her so much. True Love never fails.”

“That’s true mom. I am planning to go to Noida for a week and check if things are fine. Just ask dad to deposit Rs.5000 in my HDFC bank account mom and ask brother to top up my mobile for Rs.500. I have spoken to my manager and asked permission for a week.”

“Ok da jillu, how are you going to go?”

“By train mom, tonight. Shiva is accompanying me.”

“That’s good. Please take care of ur health. Eat in good shops.”

“Sure thing ma.”

“Wait jillu, one more thing.”

“Yes ma.”

“No adventures. Promise me. And take care of my daughter in law. Keep me posted.”

“Sure ma. Promise and yes I will take care of her, but before that I need to speak to her once which is being the most difficult thing.”

“Don worry jillu. You will succeed in everything and anything u do. Be patient and she is only yours.”

“Thanks mom. Love u.”

“Love u jillu. Take care.”

I hung up the phone. If I had told someone that I spoke with my mom regarding Anu, they would be shocked as well as surprised. I had the most coolest parents in the world. Most of the parents in the world try controlling their children especially during adolescent stage. But my parents were totally different. They never controlled nor restricted me. Though my parents were kind of strict during exams, otherwise they never interfered in anything I did. They always believed that I would never do anything unethical or wrong. This faith towards me always guided me towards the right path.

Mom and dad were never against me falling in love with Anu. Infact, once I even asked my parents to come to office in the evening. She was walking past when I showed her to them. The very same instant, they were happy and satisfied with my Anu. They even told that they’ll speak to her parents but I was totally against it.

“Shiva, are you ready?”

“Yes machi. Two minutes.”

“Okay. Take your time. The train is at 10:00pm.”

“Yeah okay da.” Shiva said as he was doing the packing.

Dad knew a person at the Indian Railway Board. She was a very good family friend of ours. Her name was Sindhu. I called her to ask if the tickets are available.

“Hi Sindhu aunty, how r u?”

“Hey raghav, It’s been a long time. Am doing good. How are you?”

“I am doing fine aunty. I need a favour.”

“Go on. Tell me.”

“Actually, I need to go to Noida today for some personal work. I just wanted to know if there are any tickets available. I need two tickets”

“Ok fine. I will just check and call you back.”

I received a call after five long minutes.

“Raghav, this is Sindhu.”

“Yes, Aunty are tickets available? “

“Yes, it is available but only in First Class.”

“That’s awesome. How much will it cost aunty?”

“Around 2,400 rupees.”

“Okay, you don’t mind sponsoring right? You already owe me one treat don’t you?”

“Yes, but isn’t this a costly treat?”

“Maybe but I know you can manage aunty. I will come to the station and call you to receive the tickets. Thank you. Bye.”

“Hey ahhh… okay. Wait, don’t hang up. Why are you going to Noida? Is it because of Anushka?”

Mom, you told her is it? I imagined.

“Yes aunty, All for my Anu.”

“Okay fine. All the best for your love.”

“Thanks aunty. Take care. Bye.”

By the time I hung up the phone, Shiva was ready with his bag.

“I’m ready da.” He said with a glee.

“That’s cool Shiv. We’ve tickets only in the night train 10:00pm. We’ll collect the tickets from my family friend at the railway station.”

EPISODE 6

“So at 10:00pm is it. There is still around 7 hours. What do we do?”

“Well, we need to work out a few statistics.” I said with a big smile on my face.

“Stat… What? What do u mean? I don’t understand.”

“Shiva, we don’t know anything about Anu in Noida. I mean where she lives, how to go and so on. We need to find that.”

“What do u mean we?”

“There’s the twist. We can make good use of these 7 hours Shiv.”

“Good use? Please tell clearly.”

“Okay fine. Listen up Shiv. First we are going to get her details from two persons. We need to meet them in person. Then we need to get a ‘HOW TO SPEAK HINDI IN A DAY’ book so that we can manage it there. Then we will have dinner and start to the railway station. I hope am clear.”

“Yes, but who are the two persons?”

“Well, you know them Shiv.” I said winking at him.

“Me? Okay tell who are they?”

“Well the first person is Lavanya and the second person is Sudha.”

“With Sudha it’s fine. She’s pretty close with me and with Anu. But I don’t know who Lavanya is.”

“Lavanya is my good friend and co-incidentally Anu’s hostel mate. They live in the same hostel. I came to know this only few weeks back. If we can meet her up, it will be quite helpful. I ve already asked her to get the details last week. She had her brother’s marriage last week. I also went right. But I didn’t want to disturb her there. Now I guess it’s the right time Shiv.”

“Okay fine. We’ll start. Where is Anu’s hostel by the way?”

“It’s near Sri Sathya Sai Hospital in Whitefield. While coming back we can meet Sudha at M.G.Road and we can leave to the railway station at Majestic.”

“Sounds like it will be tight as far as the time is concerned machi.” Shiva said in a worried tone.

“Yes and we’ve to hurry.”

Shiva and me started. I had the gut feeling that everything was getting along well. I was praying hard that nothing should have happened to Anu or her family. We reached whitefield at 6:00pm. Since Lavanya didn’t want us to meet her near the hostel. We met at CCD (Cafe Coffee Day) nearby.

I introduced Lavanya and Shiva to each other. Shiva was instantly impressed with her mannerisms, her charm and of course her looks.

Shiva first Anu and then Lavanya, please. I thought within myself.

The whole time I talked with Lavanya, Shiva was like filled with awe. She too seemed to like him.

“Ok lavi, so we’re starting to Noida tonight. I want to know the details which you collected.”

“Ok fine. Is he accompanying you? Wow that’s sweet of you to help for ur friend’s love.”

“Yes, people say I’m very sweet. Right raghav?”

I was like please stop it guys. You’ll get a chance. I am in a hurry. But I just gave a blank smile.

“Ok lavi. Time’s running out. I’m in a hurry. So please…”

“Ok raghav. She lives in a town called Kakod in Gautam Buddha nagar district in Noida.”

“There you have to go into the town around 3kms. Her place is near a super market named some singh… Ah! I forgot it’s name. But it the next house to the super market.

“Okay, I think this is enough. Excuse me guys I need to call someone.”

“Take your time.” Shiva said as though he was waiting for such an opportunity.

I had called Sudha and asked her to come to M.G.Road bus stop at 7:00pm. It was 5.30pm.

“Shiva, we need to leave now. Right away.”

“Can’t we…”

“No.” I said strongly.

He looked at me in disappointment.


“Excuse me lavi.” I said and took Shiva aside.

“Look Shiva, Lavanya doesn’t have a boyfriend and she’s single. I know you think she’s hot. She’s safe here in Bangalore. But I don’t know about Anu. I am worried about her. Now move ur ass so that we can go and meet sudha and catch the train on time. I promise that if you co-operate I can even speak to Lavanya regarding you.”

“You really will?” He asked in an excited tone.

I was angry that he never paid attention to other things I said but the words “I promise that if you co-operate I can even speak to Lavanya regarding you.”

Anyways he was in the same state as me – In love so I could totally understand his situation.

“So lavi, we are leaving. Have to catch the train.”

“Okay guys. Catch u later and Take care. All the best Raghav. Keep me posted.”

Before I could tell “Sure”, shiva interrupted. “Sure, I can update you as he will be busy, but how can I update when I don’t have ur number?”

“Well you can get it from your friend.” She said smiling.

“That’s cool lavi and shiva. Now let’s make a move.” I said hurriedly.

As I said that, I witnessed another scene but this time between lavi and Shiva. It was like as though two lovers were getting separated because the guy has to go out of station.

I started and reached MG Road at 7:30pm. The traffic in peak hours is so horrible that we were late by half hour.

“Hi sudha. How are u?”

“Am fine Raghav. How about you?”

“Worried but fine. By the way this is Shiva, my best friend.”

“Oh… Hi. How r u?” She asked.

“Am fine. Thank u.” He replied.

“So then tell me raghav. What is so urgent?”

“Well, I am starting to Noida to see Anu. I am really worried about her. She has gone home for a week. I suspect something bad like marriage or someone close to her has fallen ill. Just wanna ensure that everything is fine.”

“Though me and Anu are close, She keeps things to herself. Anyways what help can I do for you?” Sudha asked in a surprised tone.

“Well, you know a hotel in kakod right? I just want you to book a room for three days.”

“Yes, I do. My father was the manager of the hotel. I can arrange it no issues. Is there anything else da?”

“Well, I need a person who can guide me through Noida like pick up from station and help me in the routes. Could you arrange that too?”

“Not a problem, the hotel will arrange that too.” She said smiling.

“The last one I need Anu’s phone number just for emergency purposes.”

“Sure, I will send a text message now.”

“Thanks a lot sudha. I really owe you one.”

“This is nothing more than what you did.”

“Don mention it.” I said smiling.

“Okay I won’t. You’re such a sweet person. Anu’s is very lucky.”

“I hope I am more lucky than her.”

“Of course you are raghav.” Shiva and sudha said in chorus.

We spoke with her for half hour. We got Anu’s phone number just for emergency purposes. We left at 8:00pm

Shiva told me in a surprised tone “Man, people really do things for you. I mean everyone.”

“Yup” I said smiling.

“Why did she say that ‘This is nothing more than what you did.’?”

“Oh… That’s a long story. But in short, I donated blood for her father’s heart operation. Mine’s a rare blood group (AB –ve). That’s the reason man.“

“Oh, you’re such a nice person and a very good friend for all.” Shiva said in a satisfied tone.

“Thank you. Now let’s have dinner and rush to the station.”

We finished dinner by 9:00pm. I called up Sindhu aunty. We entered the railway station. Though it was a weekday the crowd was so much. I wondered where all went despite the recession and economic breakdown. But I realised there were many youngsters like me. Maybe they are also going in search og their love, I thought.

We met Sindhu aunty and got the tickets. First class A/C. Shiva was delighted. The train started. Shiva had been pestering me for Lavanya’s number for the past 4 hours. Finally when I gave it, he called her and they were talking all night. There blossomed another Love story.

I was thinking about the next steps as to what to do. It was side berth for us. Shiva took the upper one and I took the lower. Others were kind of pretty old people except a man. He was a singh with a turban. He was not looking healthy. He entered and straight he went to bed.

“Guess he had a tough day at office.” I thought.

I messaged my mom that I started safely. I also messaged Sudha and Lavanya. While mom and Sudha replied, Lavanya was busy talking phone with Shiva.

I was happy that I took one step towards Anu and one step towards Noida. I fell asleep.

What Happens Next?? Wait and Watch

EPISODE 7:

DAY 6:

It was 9:00am in the morning, when I woke up. We were in border of Maharashtra and Karnataka. I had been so tired that I went into a deep sleep. Everything seemed to be normal that day. I was very restless trying to kill time. Meanwhile Shiva was busy flirting. His battery drained out completely and he had switched sims with my mobile.

We had lunch at 12:00pm. The food in the first class compartment was really tasty. God bless Sindhu aunty, I thought.

The rest of the day was fully spent with endless hearing of songs and useless talks with shiva. Sidney Sheldon helped me kill my boredom while Lavanya helped Shiva kill his boredom.

We had dinner at 9:00pm. I finished it and went to wash my hands. Just as I finished, I was about to enter the compartment. The Singh came near the wash basin. Since the passage was too small to allow both of us, I had to retrace my path.

“Thank you beta. Thum kahan Jaatha hai?” He asked.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand Hindi. I know English.” I said in an embarrassed tone.

“Mu ha ha ha… Okay. Thank you son. Where are you going to?”

“I’m going to Noida sir.”

“Could you hold this briefcase for me?” He asked.

“Sure. Why you could keep it inside na?”

“Beta, these days people are bad. I have got valuables in this briefcase for my daughter’s marriage this weekend.”

“Okay sir. How come you believe me?” I asked him with a glee.

“It’s because of ur face son. You work in an IT company right?”

“Yes sir. How do you know?” I was amazed at his instinct.

“My daughter also works in a software company. That’s why.”

“Oh okay sir.”

He grabbed the suitcase from me. I thought Maybe all software professionals had that weary look which made people to guess easily.

He continued persistently.

“I badly wanted her to look after my business but she was adamant. I totally lost interest in her career. But then I made it up to her when she accepted to get married.”

I seriously wondered why he was telling me all this. But I just nodded my head.

He opened his suitcase, took out an invitation. He handed over to me. It was very grand. On the envelope it was written:

Mahaveer Singh Patel and Poonam Singh Patel

Family welcomes you.

I had the biggest fear and doubt that this person maybe Anu’s dad. I opened the envelope very slowly with the worst fears in my mind. I removed the invitation and gave a deep breath of relief.

“Tanvi Singh Patel weds Rahul Sharma”

“You’ve to come on Friday itself.”

“I will surely try my best Sir. I’ve some work to finish.”

“Don’t worry you’ll finish your work and come to the wedding. You can have fun there.”

“Sure sir. Thank you.”

“Just give me your phone number so that I can call and remind you.”

I gave him my number. We went to bed.

EPISODE 8:

DAY 7

Shiva and myself got down at the Nizammudin Railway station. Mr.Singh was kind enough to sponsor us breakfast. He had reminded me again about coming to the wedding and he had disappeared into the crowd.

We came out of the station. There was a middle aged man standing with a name board. The board contained our names with different awkward spellings but we could figure out that it was for us.

We went and approached the man and we introduced ourselves. We got into the car.

“Aapka naam kya hai?” I asked in a confident tone.

“My name is Mansoor Ali Khan and I can speak English.”

“Wow that’s great.” Exclaimed Shiva.

“We ll be having a long day bhaiya.” I said.

“That’s fine. We’ll go to the hotel first.” Mansoor said.

He played Hindi songs like “Sheila ki Jawani”, “Pehli Nazar Mein” and so on.

We reached the hotel at 10:15am. The hotel was a four star hotel. It looked awesome for the two of us.

God bless Sudha for booking this hotel. I was so thankful to her.

“Wow the bathtub is awesome.” Shiva said in an excited tone.

He immediately went to take a bath. I slept on the bed for some time.

At 11:00am both of us were ready. We went downstairs and boarded the cab.

The express way was awesome and we sped toward kakod which is located in greater Noida of the Gauthama Buddha Nagar. It took us one hour to reach kakod.

It was quite a big town comparing to the average town circumference. It had a population of about 7,500.  There were many fields in which a lot of children majority below 6 years of age were playing. There were huge trees below which tuition classes were going on. It was a very peaceful place to live in or even begin your life.

There were many small trade shops. I didn’t know Hindi much. I always resented the language. It was because of my horrible experience I had with my Hindi teacher.

Her name was Gowri and she used to freak the hell out of students. I was in my sixth grade. Hindi was always tough with me and I signed a pact with the subject that I always managed to scrape through. Gowri mam was different. She always wanted students to score at least 80 plus and she thought students who scraped through were fit for nothing.

It was my half yearly exams. I did my Hindi exam so horribly. The day mam was about to distribute the papers I was shivering. She called out my name, She giggled and said “See this little brat just managed to pass.”

“I’m sorry mam.”

“You’re not sorry, you just don’t understand the value of Hindi. That’s your problem.”

“I… actually…”

“Bring your Hindi textbook.”

I went back to my desk and searched my bag. My Hindi text book was missing. I knew I was going to get it bad from her. I was getting ready for it.

I went to her and dropped my head slowly.

“I forget my textbook.” I said in sad tone.

Within one blink of the eye, I was slapped hard on my left cheek. I started crying. From that day onwards, I completed hated Hindi as well as North Indians. Here I am, searching for the girl of my life who is a North Indian in North India. It was an awkward flashback to remember.

“This place is very cool. It’s so pleasant and quite.” Shiva exclaimed as we got down from the car. “I seriously wished lav was here.”He mourned.

“Things worked out so easily for you guys I guess Shiv.”

“Yes it did and I would love to thank you.”

“Hmmm… Mansoor you wait here we will call you once our work is done.”

I got his number. We started walking towards a medium sized road. It was more like a market street. But it was the main road in kakod. There were people of all age groups right from old people, middle aged, youngsters and many children.

I went across the road to enquire about the super market which Lavanya had mentioned to us earlier.

There was an old man in an hardware shop. He was in his sixties. Thanks to “LEARN HINDI IN 1 DAY” I managed to start speaking to him.

“Namaskhar sirji” I blurted keeping my palms together.

“Bholiye” He said warmly.

“Ye lo singh supermarket kahan hai sirji?”

He can surely find out I am a Tamilian by the way I speak. I thought.

“Seedha Jaake baai lena wahan pe aakri shop”

Though I couldn’t understand much, the directions he showed by his hands made me understand. He asked me to go straight and turn left and the destination is the last shop.

I received a call. It was from an unknown number. I answered the call. It was the man in the train. He had called to remind me of the wedding. He asked me to come at least by day after. I said I will make it and hung up the call.

I was damn excited and pulled Shiva and ran towards the car.

“Mansoor, quick go straight and take a left. We have to reach the end of the road.”

It was a small road and though Mansoor was driving at a decent speed that the road could afford, my heart was beating so fast that I was afraid Shiva and Mansoor could hear it. We reached the end of the road. Shiva and I got down from the car. Singh Super market was right in front of us.

I remembered Lavanya saying ‘the house next to the super market’. I was running towards the house. Shiva was running behind me shouting to slow down. I reached the entrance of Anu’s residence and I was shocked and disappointed. I dropped my head in disappointment.

Shiva came behind and saw. He shouted “Oh my god. Shit…!”

What Happens Next?? Wait and Watch!! 🙂

EPISODE 9

Shiva patted on my shoulders and asked in a low tone “What do we do next? I never expected something like this to come our way.”

“Well same here Shiva. I was very much looking forward to this.”

“That’s okay. Now what shall we do? “

“I have no idea Shiva.”

“It’s no point talking like this. It’s just that their house is locked. Maybe they would have gone to a family vacation.”

“Possible but I want to know the reality. Only then can I be calm and composed Shiv.”

“That’s quite understandable. Now let’s go to the nearby super market and enquire.”

“Shiva, nothing adverse would have happened right?” I asked expecting a promising answer.

“I don’t want to give you any sort of false hopes. We can just wish so. For your kind heart everything would be fine.”

“Thanks shiv. That was promising enough.”

My mind was completely blocked. I was not able to speak or think. Shiva called up Mansoor and asked him to come over to the super market.

Mansoor came in five minutes. Shiva told him to enquire about Anu’s dad in the super market.

Mansoor went inside and came after good ten minutes. When he came out and stood in front of us, I was like ‘Your answer is my only hope buddy.’

Shiva asked “What happened? What did they tell?”

“Mixed answers. The owner of this super market is ur friend’s dad. The manager of the super market has gone along with ur friends family. Few say they have gone for the vacation to chill out. Few say they have gone to Punjab for ur friend’s wedding. Few say they have gone to worship their deity. I don’t know what the truth is.”

It was getting even worse. Vacation, marriage or deity worship I was thinking hard to rule out the possibilities.

“Anu’s dad is the owner right. So he would have called his staff over to his daughter’s marriage right? So that’s the ruled out possibility.” Shiva probed.

“Well…” I said.

Mansoor interrupted “I asked about that too. They said that their boss always kept things to himself especially his personal issues.”

Like daughter, like father. I thought.

Shiva and I were looking helplessly at each other not knowing what to do.

“We will go back shiv.” I said.

“What? Are u kidding? You can’t give up now. Will you?” He asked with a doubted look.

“I will never give up on Anu’s issue. We shall go back to our room and then think what we can do.”

“Mansoor can you do me a favour?”

“Yes tell me.”

“I want you to get the phone number of this super market so that we can know if they had come by tomorrow or day after.”

“That’s fine. You both wait in the car. I will come.”

We left for the car slowly. My heart was saying that something bad is going to happen to her. It was beating hard.

Ten minutes after that, we were on the way back to our hotel. Due to the traffic it took us almost three hours to reach the hotel.

I called my mom once I reached the hotel.

“Hi mom.”

“Hi jillu, just now I thought of calling you. I was worried that you hadn’t called.”

“Sorry mom was travelling a lot.”

“I can understand. Tell me. What happened? Did u see her?”

“No ma. Tough luck.”

I told her what all happened from morning.

“Oh… okay so this is your problem?”

“Yes ma. I don’t know what to do.”

“It’s very simple. First call up the super market and ask what the manager’s name is. We might get a clue there.”

“I don’t understand ma. What do I do knowing the manager’s name?”

“Just do as I say jillu. I think we can crack this.”

“Okay ma. Will call you in sometime.”

EPISODE 10:

I called up Mansoor immediately.

“Hi Mansoor, I need a favour.”

“Yes tell me.”

I told him the entire story from the start. The reason I came here and so on. He was listening very patiently.

“Now all I want you to do is that, call the super market and tell you want to meet the manager. Tell you calling from the Police Department. Try to collect his name and details about his character. That’s most important.”

“Sure. I will see what I can do. I will surely help to the maximum I can. ”

“I would appreciate it. Thank you.”

“Welcome.” And he hung up.

Ten minutes later Mansoor called up.

“Yes, tell me Mansoor.”

“I called them up. First time none picked up. The second time a lady picked up. She said that the manager’s name was “Joseph Bharani”. I was about to hung up when she also said that he’s one of the worst persons ever. He’s a nympho – maniac and that he had eyes on all the lady staff in the super market…”

He paused for a second and held his breath. Then he continued “He has an eye on your girl Anu also.

I was startled. I started thinking as to why would Mr.Patel hire a person who is a girl – maniac. Why had Mr.Patel taken the manager – nympho maniac with his family?

It got bigger now. These questions confused me more. I remembered mom asking me to call.

I immediately called mom and told her what Mansoor had reported. She was shocked and surprised.

“I think it’s getting dangerous now. I guess Mr.Patel wouldn’t have known about Joseph. Jillu I want you to understand one thing very clearly. That’s the inference we have to make from the information we have got.”

“What mom? I don’t understand.”

“First don’t let issues worry u. Have a clear mind always so that you can analyse things perfectly.” Mom said.

“Right mom.”

“That’s good. Now see Joseph Bharani seems to be a Christian name. It’s also plausible that he might be a hindu converted christian.”

“Oh my god. Now I understand mom. I have to start my search right away. I will keep you posted mom.”

“That’s fine jillu. Be brave and confident.”

“All right mom.”

“And Jillu…”

“Yes mom.”

“Please be careful. This hunt might be dangerous too!”

“Right mom. Love you. Bye.”

I hung up the phone. Shiva just came out from bath. I had told everything that happened. Right from Mansoor reporting to me and me reporting to mom.

“What the hell? So you mean to say we are caught with a nympho maniac?” Shiva exclaimed.

“Not exactly. Listen carefully Shiva. There were three options which Mansoor told in the morning. First one is vacation. Second is Anu’s wedding and the third is worshipping their deity. His name is Joseph Bharani and there are two possibilities. First possibility, he might be a Christian. Second possibility he might be Hindu converted Christian and he would have falsified his name. One more important to be noted that Joseph is a nympho maniac and that Mr.Patel has taken him along with his family. The lady in the super market had told that Joseph has an eye on Anu. So reducing the choices, I feel there is a great possibility that Joseph is trying a big plan on Anu and her family. We have to find out what the plan is.”

“Woww, that’s a brilliant analysis I must say. But how do we find out the plan?” Shiva asked.

“For that we need to see Mr.Mahavir Singh Patel right away.”

“I don’t understand raghav.”

“You soon will.” I said with voice trailing off “you will soon understand.”

“We have to start tomorrow morning Shiva. Good night.” I said.

What happens next? What has happened to Anu and her family? Can Raghav find her? Wait till Monday 🙂

EPISODE 11

DAY 8


The next day morning, we started to Noida at 6am. We reached at 7:30am. I called up Mahavir Singh Patel and told him that we are coming to the function. We asked him the address and reported it to Mansoor. It took us half an hour to reach the place where his daughter’s marriage was about to take place.

“So here we are.” Shiva said.

“Not for long shiv. We might have to travel a lot from here on.”

“Machi, I wanted to tell you something. I proposed to Lavi day before and she accepted today morning.”

“Yes I know.” I said calmly as I got down from the car.

“How come da?” Shiva asked in surprise.

“Lavi messaged me today morning and thanked me for introducing you to her.”

“Okay. Don’t mistake me da. I didn’t tell because of your situation.”

“No problem Shiv. Let me tell you something. These two things i.e. me in search of Anu and you getting committed are independent. Just because of you telling this, I won’t get irritated. I would only be very happy.”

“You are one in a million I guess.” Shiva said.

“Nope nothing like that. I’m just being self-less. You are my friend and your happiness means to me. Anyways now we have to go inside.”

Just as we were about to enter inside, a man covering himself with a rugged shawl came out. He was having a long beard such that one couldn’t recognize or find his face. I had a gut feeling that I knew him.

We entered the big marriage hall. Everything was awesome. The arrangements were in full swing. The decorations were too good. A group of ladies were

Practicing dance which we thought would be after the reception. Many ladies adored their mehendi designs and many men were speaking gossips and playing cards.

We went inside and I called Mr.Patel. He came and welcomed us. We were headed straight for breakfast. The hospitality and the warmth were simply superb. He asked me to come to the guests room once I and Shiva completed breakfast. The food was really good. We were served with two varities of Nan, Masala’s and three varities of sweets.

Breakfast was over and we went to the guests room as told by Mr.Patel. Just as we entered the room Mr.Patel came, with him was a young smart guy in his late twenties.

“Hi, I’m Rahul.” He said. He extended his hand to me.

“Hi, I am Raghav and this is shiva.” I said shaking hands.

Shiva received a call.

“Excuse me.” He said. Shiva walked away talking over the phone.

I thought it would be Lavanya. Rahul was the groom. He was a friendly, warm and down to earth person. He broke into laughter when I cracked a poor joke.

“Man, you give good company dude.” Rahul said smiling. “So what brings you to Noida? Official or personal?”

“Personal.” I said smiling.

“Okay, whatever it is. All the best.”

Someone was calling Rahul. “Hey, I must go but we will surely catch up.”

“Sure. Congrats on your marriage.” I said.

“Thanks dude.”

Just as he was gone, Mr.Patel came to me and asked “So beta, how is my son in law?”

I was smiling and looking at Rahul. His relatives were around him and a lady, guess his mom gave him a sweet. For a second I couldn’t hear Mr.Patel’s question, my eyes were on the crowd. Something bad was going to happen. I knew it. Some instinct in me said so.

“I’m sorry sir. I can’t get you.” I said waking myself from the thoughts.

“I asked your opinion about my son in law. What happened to you? Is there anything wrong beta?” He asked.

“He’s just great, your daughter must be really lucky. By the way Sir, what’s that sweet?”

“It’s not a sweet beta, it a type of dokhla. It will taste really good. Wait…” He said.

He called a boy who was serving these dokhlas. Just as he called, a woman appeared in front of us.

Mr.Patel said, “This is woman I live my life for. My wife Poonam.”

I could realise their love in that few words of introduction. Mrs.Patel had shades of Anu. Just when I began to realise that, I thought ‘I might be going crazy and getting worried about the safety of Anu. That’s why all ladies and girls seem like my Anu.’

I greeted Mrs.Patel and bent down to touch her feet and get her blessings. She was shocked.

Mrs.Patel said, “It is shocking to see you youngsters falling at our feet. God bless you beta. You must be the guy in the train. He was all praise for you.”

“Thank you ma. It’s nothing to get shocked here. Just that people have become very busy that they find no time to attend to their parents and elders.” I said.

“Your parents have brought you up very well.” She said.

“Thank you. By the way where is your daughter Tanvi?” I asked.

“Oh… She has become more adamant nowadays. She has gone to worship our deity.” Mr.Patel said.

‘Worship our deity’. It struck very hard on my mind.

Some say they have gone to worship their deity… Along with their shop manager… He’s a nympho maniac… Mansoor said so.

Anushka Patel… Mahavir Singh Patel… But their daughter’s name is Tanvi where we have Anushka this side. May be it was her family name and Anushka was her official name. It was getting closer. I was dying to ask them the million dollar question ‘Is your daughter’s name Anushka?’

EPISODE 12

But I was silent. I didn’t want her marriage and her parent’s wishes to get spoilt. So I just asked “Has she gone alone? Where is the temple?”

“No she has gone with our family friend.” Mrs.Patel answered.

‘There is a possibility that family friend can be manager in their business. Even if I don’t marry Anu, I can’t leave her in danger. I had to ask them who the family friend was.’ I thought.

Just as I was about to ask, Shiva came after he had completed talking over phone. He stood in front of us.

“This is Shiva and Shiva this is Mrs.Patel.” I said.

They were introduced to each other. Shiva was looking worried. He called me aside. I said “Excuse me please.”

“What happened da?” I asked.

“Machi I’m afraid I have to leave immediately. My father is not well it seems. He has got his 2nd heart attack.” Shiva said in a sad tone.

“Oh my god! I understand Shiva. Please leave right away.”

Just as we were talking, they guy who was carrying the dokhla came over to Mr. & Mrs.Patel. Both of them took one dokhla each.

“See shiva, I have one idea.” Saying so myself and Shiva went over to the Patel’s.

“Sir, I’m sorry to bother you. But we have a problem.” I said.

“What happened beta?” Mr.Patel asked.

“Do you know any air travel agent who can book a ticket to Bangalore today?” I asked.

“Yes, I do know a couple of agents. I can get you one. But for whom and why?” Mr.Patel asked.

As they were enquiring they started having the dokhla. I continued “ It’s for my friend shiva. His dad has got an attack now. He has to leave right away. Can you please help us?”

“Oh my god, that’s terrible. We can surely help you.” Mr.Patel said.

He immediately called for his driver and asked him to take Shiva to the air travel agency and then drop him at the airport. Shiva was too emotional to speak.

“I will never forget this help sir.” I said.

“No problem. Take care beta. Shiva please keep me posted about your dad’s health.” Mrs.Patel said.

“Sure mam. Thank you. Thank you sir.” Shiva said and he turned over to me.

“I’m sorry raghav that I wasn’t able to help you much.”

“It’s okay, I will be there tomorrow Shiva. Will meet you then. It’s no use staying here anymore. Just give me a call when you board the flight. I am sorry that I am not able to come with you.” I said.

“That’s okay da. I will keep you posted and I will call you too.” Shiva said.

I hugged him tight and went along with him to the car. Shiva started. Now I was alone. I immediately went inside.

Just as I entered and was about to ask Mr.Patel his daughter’s other name if any, there was a sound shrill in the groom’s room.

Everyone started shouting. A lady came out and shouted “Rahul fell down unconscious.”

I was shocked. I was with the patel’s. Just as they were about to run and see Rahul, they also fell unconscious on the ground.

In few seconds the entire marriage hall was in panic. There were people all around. They called for ambulance.

In another half hour I was in the hospital. I somehow felt I should be there with them. Doctors were trying to diagnose the problem. Relatives were there standing there gossiping over family issues. I heard few people say “Tanvi should not stay with us… We already have many people at home… We need to talk about the will of Mahavir, etc.”

Two hours passed, still there was no call from the doctor. In another one hour a doctor came out and announced Rahul dead. He had a cardio muscular attack. Rahul’s parents and relatives were in great pain. It was very difficult to see them in pain. I heard few say “I told you that the girl was unlucky”, “You never listened to us”, etc.

‘He was a friendly, warm and down to earth person and now he’s no more.’ I thought to myself. Sometime life changes drastically in even seconds.

Four hours passed. The Patel’s condition was critical. Doctors had no hope. After an hour Mrs.Patel was announced dead.

The other doctor said that Mr.Patel was recovering slowly but is still critical.

Shiva called me.

“Hey shiva, did u board the flight?”

“Yes I did. I wanted to keep you informed.”

“That’s good Shiva. Take care of dad. Call me once you reach and once u see him. Alright?”

“Yes sure. Why are you talking hurriedly? Is there any problem?”

“No Shiva, not at all.” I said.

“ok fine. I will call you tomorrow. Bye take care.”

“Okay shiva, you too take care.”

I hung up the call. “Nothing is wrong shiva. Just that everything is going wrong.” I said to myself.

The doctors said that they will disburse the body of Mrs.Patel after knowing the condition of Mr.Patel. I was waiting the entire night for a positive reply. In just a day a whole family was gone. Everything had been spoilt. I spoke to my mom and told her things that had happened and my suspicions as whether Tanvi was Anushka. She asked me to wait patiently till the doctors assured Mr.Patel was safe.

I was wondering as to what will happen to Tanvi as her relatives were not ready to take her in if the situation turned adverse. Relatives were bothered only about the money. I wondered whether the relatives had informed Tanvi regarding her dad’s health and demise of rahul and her mom.

‘Poor girl. I don’t know how she’s going to take this.’ I imagined.

I slept in the hospital waiting room. I was hoping the next day would be “GOOD”.

EPISODE 13

DAY 9

I didn’t sleep till 4:00am. Just as when I was getting some sleep, a doctor came and woke me up. He said that Mr.Patel was fine and that he would recover soon. I was very happy for him. I was wondering why Tanvi was not yet here at the hospital. If she had come, it would have cleared my doubt that Tanvi and Anushka are the same or not.

I asked the doctor, “Doctor, when can I talk to him?”

“No interrogations as of now. You can interact only in the evening.” He said.

“Okay doctor. But if his position gets better, can I have a word with him? I

Want to know where his daughter is. This is very important doctor. Please understand.”

“Okay fine. I will but morning 9:00am.” Doctor said and he starting going away.

“Doctor…” I said.

He turned and faced me.

“What’s the cause of death of Mrs.Patel?”

“Still we are not able to predict it. Were you with them when they collapsed?” He asked.

“Yes doctor.”

“Were they normal? I mean their face, reactions, body language?” He asked.

“Yes very much normal. They had been talking to me in full josh.” I said in a assuring tone.

“Hmmm, I am not able to find out the reason. Both Mrs.Patel and Rahul have died because of cardio attack. However they have not had any previous signs of it nor have they had any symptoms. Anyways we have sent for the post mortem report. Let’s see what happens.” He said.

“Fine doctor. I have one more question.” I said.

“Yes please go on.” He said.

“Have you found out any traces of food poisoning?”

“No.” He said sternly.

“Okay doctor. The last thing both Rahul and Mrs.Patel ate was a dokhla. Maybe it had some poison, which instigated a cardio attack?”

“Oh, is it? Well, I will talk to the surgeon who is doing to post – mortem. If he finds something in the stomach, then we’ll try to analyse things. Okay?” He asked.

“That’s great doctor. Can I leave you my number so that you can keep me posted?” I asked.

“Yes sure.” He said.

I gave him my number and got his number too. I slept for some time. I woke up again at 9:00am. I came out of the hospital so that I could get something to eat.

I returned to the hospital. Mr.Patel was in ICU. I wondered how he could bear his wife’s death. ‘This is the woman for whom I live’ and now the woman is dead. The doctor gave me permission to sit near him in the ICU under the condition that I should not make him speak. I agreed to the condition.

I entered the ICU. It was big enough to accommodate at least twenty persons. Mr.Patel was lying there in Bed No. 9. I went and sat near him. He was lying there very pale and tired. A man who was laughing and talking yesterday. It seemed as though he had lost a bit weight.

‘Could a cardio attack reduce weight?’ I wanted answers for many questions. I waited for an hour to see whether Mr.Patel gained conscience. But no luck. I stood up and went to the waiting room.

In the waiting room, there was a guy working seriously on his laptop. Just as I went near I realised he was busy with Facebook. I sat near him.

“Hi, my name is Raghav. I need a favour.”

“Hi, I’m Nambi. Tell me.” He said.

“Well, I was thinking as whether you can give me your laptop for some time.”

“No problem dude.”He said and gave the laptop to me.

“Thanks. By the way, are you good with websites? I mean you know many of them?” I asked.

“Yes, I’m an expert in browsing.” He said with a pride.

“That’s great. I want to know about a disease. A forum like thing in which people can discuss their known facts.”

“Ok. So it’s something like a discussion forum right? Hmmm. Try out askthedoctor.com it’s one of the best I know. If anyone replies you can get it in your e-mail or mobile. AJAX & WAP technology.”

‘A typical software engineer he is.’ I thought.

“That’s great.”

I registered with the site. I gave the mobile number so that reply comes to the mobile itself. My question was:

Can a cardio attack cause weight loss. Patient had a dokhla before he collapsed.

Reply to 9000656824 – Raghav.

Suddenly a doctor came into the waiting room.

“Do we have any relatives of Mr.Mahavir Patel here? He is critical.” Doctor shouted.

There was no one for him except me. I said “Thanks Nambi. Now I ve got to go.”

I went to the doctor. I started speaking “I’m his son doctor.”

“That’s great. Please hurry. Come with me. Your dad is in danger.”

EPISODE 14

The doctor went inside the ICU. I went behind him. The doctor told to Mr.Patel, “Don’t worry sir. Your Son is here with you. You’ll be fine. Just breathe easy.”

“Sister, remove the mask. Put him on the ventilator.”

Mr.Patel looked on with a weary astonishment. He had no son. He had only a daughter. She was not to be seen anywhere. All the relatives were just with him for the fortune. The woman he lived for had passed away. Nothing more could go haywire for him. When he looked at me, still he managed a smile. As he smiled few tears rolled from his eyes. He called me with a blink of his eye.

I moved near him. It appeared as though there were too many pains, sorrows that he had inside him. He told something very feeble. I told him that I couldn’t understand. He held my hand tightly. He was struggling for words. At last, he blurted “Aa…Anu…shka…”

He gave a big jerk and he fell on the bed dead.

Doctor said “Sister quick get the defibrillator.”

They used the defibrillator but it was of no use. He was declared dead. A man who badly wanted to finish his responsibility of getting his daughter married is dead. It would have been a great marriage day after. Now he’s dead with no one for him. After all this trauma, I ve come to know that He’s my Anu’s father.

‘A couple had died due to cardio attack and even a youngster from cardio attack. There is very little chance of co-incidence. This is a planned brutal murder. Anushka is missing. I need to find her.’ I thought.

I finished the formalities and the hospital handed over the body of Mr. And Mrs. Patel. It was transported to their home in kakod. Two hours later, many people had gathered outside their place. It was 7:00pm in the evening. People started becoming restless. Relatives started pondering and arguing as to who will receive the bigger share of the family’s fortune.

‘Still no sign of Anushka. I have to find her out. But how?’ I thought.

Suddenly, a person raised the question “Who will do the final rights? One who does the final rights will have to take care of their daughter and their business.”

“Where is their daughter?” Another person asked.

Many voices raised different answers. “She eloped with the guy she loved.” One said. Another said “She didn’t like the marriage so she had run away.” Another old man said “She had gone to worship their deity.”

There were hushes and gossips all around and few voices said “We won’t have that unlucky girl.” Some said “We have already 2 daughters. We can’t take her in.” It was a clear sign of total separation of materialism and humanity.

“I will do the final rights.” I stood up and faced the people.

“Who are you?” A man asked.

“I’m a family friend of Mr.Patel.” I said sternly.

“But we haven’t seen you before the marriage function.”

“Maybe, but Mr.Patel stayed at my place when he was in Bangalore. I came along with him to Noida.” I said strongly.

“Are you aware that you’ve the biggest burden of taking care of their daughter and assets?” Another person asked.

“Maybe he’s doing this only for the money. We can’t let him do that.” Another woman yelled.

“I’m not at all interested in money, once their daughter comes I will make sure she gives the money as for your share. Taking care of Anushka will be the least I can do for Mr. & Mrs. Patel.” I said.

“But…” A old man started. But I interrupted.

“Look, I don’t want anyone to argue. I have signed the hospital papers as Mr.Patel’s son. So if anyone is troubling me then I will have to go to the police.” I said giving all of them a warning.

There was pin drop silence. All the rituals and funeral rights were over by 10:00pm.

 EPISODE 15:

I came back to my home and called my mom.

I told her everything that happened.

“I’m not able to believe that people have become heartless and so materialistic mom.” I wept.

“Don’t feel for this. Now you can’t worry over anything. You’ve to find her out. I guess you need some help now as Shiva isn’t there. Shall I ask brother to come there?” My mom asked worriedly.

“Mom, not at all necessary. I can manage it. I will be careful and will call you once in a while. Now I ve few calls to make mom.”

“To whom?” Mom asked.

“First shiva, Need to ask him about his dad’s health. Next have to inform Abhi and extend my leave.”

“Okay fine jillu. Take care. Be careful.”

“Sure mom. Love you. Bye.”

I hung up the phone. I called up Shiva.

“Hi shiv, How is your dad doing now?”

“Yes da. He’s better. Sorry that I couldn’t call you, I was bit busy here.”

“That’s okay. I have one bad news for you. Mr. And Mrs. Patel are dead. The groom Rahul is dead.”

“What? What happened? How? When?” He exclaimed.

“Yesterday Mrs.Patel and Rahul. Today Mr.Patel. I completed the funeral rights just now. I suspect foul play in this. They died of a cardio attack is what the doctors told. But I feel there’s something fishy here. Main thing is that Tanvi is Anushka and she’s been missing.”

“What the hell? I totally don’t understand.” Shiva was in a shock.

“Yes, I’m planning to extend my leave Shiva and have to find out Anushka. Will keep you posted. Take care of urself and dad. Bye.”

“Okay. You too take care. Please keep me posted and hey…”

“Yes shiva.”

“Be careful. From what I have known from you, I guess you might be dealing with cold blooded murderers.”

“Okay I will be careful. Bye.” I said and hung up the phone.

‘Cold blooded murderers.’ I gulped hard.

Next I called up Abhi to his personal cell number. It was switched off. I dialled the office number hoping someone would attend the call though it was very late. My calls were not picked up.

I tried five more times. No luck. ‘One last chance’ I said to myself. I dialled the number. On the last ring I heard a man’s voice.

“Hi, I am Raghav. Project Gambita. May I speak to Abhilash Sharma?” I asked.

“Hi Raghav, this is Rajiv. You don’t know the matter?”

“Hi machi, sorry couldn’t recognise your voice. What matter?” I asked.

“Abhi resigned last week suddenly.”

“What?? Why? What’s the reason?” I was shocked.

“No one knows the reason. He spoke to the higher officials quoting some reasons. It’s very confusing. Few say he had some health problems and had to get treated immediately.” He said.

“Oh my god. Okay fine. I will get back to you later da. Bye.”

As I hung up the phone, I lay helpless. ‘I wanted to inform Abhi. He’s not there. Have to find out Anushka. May be she’s being captivated by that manager of the super market.’

I didn’t know what to do. I was thinking hard till mid night and without knowing I slept.

DAY 10

The bell rang and I woke up. My body was aching. I opened the door and there were two officials.

“Hi, Mr.Patel’s house?”

“Yes. May I know who you are?”

“We are coming from Life Insurance Company. Both Mr. & Mrs. Patel had been insured. We want to see their daughter.”

‘She’s been missing. Or kidnapped.’ I thought.

“She’s not here. She’s in her relative’s place.” I said.

“Okay fine. We just need her to sign this form so that we can process the amount.” The other man said and he handed over the form.

“Okay. I will do the needful. How much is that amount?”

“Fifty Lakhs.” He said.

“Okay fine.” I said plainly.

They both left. I closed the door.

‘Now it’s clear to me. Whoever would have done this would have been aware of the money. As far as both money and their daughter are concerned, till now the only option is the manager. I need to find him and I need to find Anushka too.’ I thought.

Suddenly my cell phone ringed.

“Hello…” I said.

“Mr. & Mrs. Patel and Rahul didn’t die of cardio attack. They were poisoned and killed. If you want to know more details meet me behind the Nizzammudin Railway station – Shop No.9 in exactly two hours.”

And the call went dead. I tried calling again but the number was switched off.

‘Should I go? Where is all this leading too?’ I imagined.

What happens Next?? Wait and Watch… 🙂

EPISODE 16

I sat there for the next half hour thinking what to do next. Then I took the decision of going to the railway station. When I was going towards the car, Mansoor was talking over the phone with someone. It appeared as though he was receiving some orders.

I sat inside the car. Mansoor said “Getting married is the biggest burden in the world.” I understood that he was speaking with his wife.

“Where to boss?” He asked.

“Nizzamuddin Railway station.” I said.

We started. My cell phone battery was low. I reached half hour before the time which the person asked me to. I went to the back of the railway station. It was more than a market. It was highly crowded and there were people everywhere. Just as I was walking I felt I was being watched. I was searching for shop number 9.

A fancy store was shop no.8 and a dress store was shop no.10, in between there was a small passage. ‘Shop No.9 should be inside this only.’ I thought.

I went inside the passage, it was longer than I thought it would be. Though it was afternoon, it was bit on the darker side. Suddenly there was a gate and I found it to be locked. There was a note inside. It was written in tamil. The note asked me to search for the key near the window and open the gate. I did as told and then went inside.

There was a young man sitting inside. He was seated seeing the opposite side. There were huge carton boxes on the corners and the whole place looked like a storehouse.

“Hello… excuse me?” I said.

“Ummm… Ummm…” He said.

“I’m sorry I can’t understand. I was asked to come here. Were you the person who called me?”

“Ummm… Ummm… Ummmm…” He said again.

I went near him. He was bleeding and his mouth was tied.

“Oh my god.” I said and untied him. As soon as I untied him, he got up and slapped me. “What took you so long?” He asked.

“What the hell? Who are you? Did you call me here?” I asked.

“Me no. Who are you? I was tied up here by a goon.”

“What? A goon? Why? What happened?” I asked.

“It was three days ago. I was about to take my car from a shopping mall. My car had stopped in the highway. Suddenly four guys and a girl came, they beat me up. I was put in the car boot and when I saw I was tied up here. Where the hell are we?”

’Goon, four guys and a girl… Mr. & Mrs. Patel were killed… Come to shop No.9 behind Nizzammudin railway station… What’s happening here?’ I thought.

“Hello, you alive?”

“Very much I am. We are near Nizzammudin railway station. I am raghav.”

“Whatever, I am getting out of here.” He said.

“Hey can I know your name?” I asked.

“Why do you wanna know it?” he asked.

“Okay fine. For saving you can’t I even know your name?”

“Alright. I’m Srikkanth.” He said.

“Fine”, I said. There were still ten minutes to the time which the person asked me to come.

“You better leave now.” I said. He waved his hands and started off. ‘Three guys and a girl… Could that girl be Anushka? Who are the three guys? I had only one guy in the hit list. Joseph Bharani. Where could he be?’ I thought.

I waited for ten minutes. I waited for half hour. It was one hour more than the time he said. Every moment was precious. Anytime anything could happen to Anuskha. The entire place “so called shop” was like a storehouse and it was very dark.

Suddenly I heard a voice. “You seem to have a lot of persistence don’t you?”

I was shocked suddenly. I looked around everywhere but couldn’t find anyone. After desperate searching I found a speaker at the top end corner.

“Oh my god.” I said.

‘Am I being watched?’ I was shocked and petrified.

  

EPISODE 17:

I inserted my hand into my pant pocket and switched on the video recorder so that I can record the voice alone.

“Don’t try anything silly.” The voice warned me.

“Who are you? What do you want? Why you called me?” I asked trembling with fear.

“You don’t want to know who I am; knowing which it would confuse you more toward reaching your target. I have already got what I wanted. I just don’t want one thing.” The voice said.

“What are you talking about?” I asked trying to calm down myself rapidly.

“You know about what or… about whom I’m talking about. If you leave Noida right away I will spare you alive. You have ambitions to study further. Don’t let me ruin it.” The voice said.

“How do you know all these?” I was shocked.

‘He knows all details about me. Who can it be?’ I thought.

“I know everything about you and I know your every movement. There’s no way you can crack these things and get the thing for which you came here. Any more steps your target will be dead.” The voice said.

“I seriously don’t understand what you are talking about. Can you be a bit clearer?” I asked trying to keep my cool.

“I can’t be clearer than this and I know you are clever. You can’t get things from my mouth. If you don’t leave this place within five minutes, your fu**ing brains will be blown out. Go away from Noida. I am warning you. I am your shadow, you can’t do anything without my knowledge. Even the walls around you have ears.” The voice finished and trailed off.

I was dumbstruck. ‘Whoever is doing this knows about my strength, my weaknesses, my details, the reason why I came here and most importantly they have killed three people and have kidnapped Anushka.’

‘Four people and a girl… these guys know technology and they are watching me… What should I do?’

I started leaving the place. That’s when I remembered, I had recorded the conversation.

I said silently, “I can give this to the police. They can help me out in some way.”

‘Even walls around you have ears.’

“Oh my god”, I blurted. I started running towards the exit. Just as I ran I realised the passage to be never ending. Instead of taking the exit, I ran into another storehouse. I turned and stopped. There was a man with rugged clothes and a shawl around him. This was the same guy whom I saw when I entered the function hall two days back.

“Who are you?” I asked.

He came closer to me. I started walking back.

“Who are you? What do you want?” I asked.

He came closer.

“Stop there.” I ordered. I walked back and back and I hit the wall at my back.

He came near me.

“Please who are…” I was gasping. I bent my head and saw my stomach stabbed with a sharp knife.

“I can give this to the police. They can help me out in some way. Even walls around you have ears.”

“…you…” I was stabbed once again. He took out the knife and I fell down and gradually my eyes closed.

What happens Next? Wait and Watch 🙂

EPISODE 18

DAY 11

I opened my eyes slowly and I found myself in a room. There were two people around me. It was very blurred and it took me around two minutes to see who was there around me. There was an old man and the guy who I saved in the storehouse – Srikkanth.

I was trying hard to speak when he said, “Hey just don’t try speaking. Lucky that you are alive. Your under siddha treatment. I couldn’t afford a hospital. This is my grandfather. He is an expert in siddha and ayurveda. He says you will be fine by today evening.”

I just managed a smile. ‘Fine by today evening. Evening was too late. In fact every moment I waste something might happen to Anushka.’ I thought.

It was paining heavily and then his grandpa gave me a small round tablet. Tasted more like hajmola. I fell asleep in fifteen minutes.

I woke up at 7:00pm in the evening. I saw Srikkanth sitting near me. He was reading a book. I managed to say a “thanks.”

“Hey your awake, that’s okay. You saved mine and I saved yours. That’s it. Anyways what happened?”

I just didn’t know whom to trust or whom to believe. But for some reason unknown I trusted Srikkanth.

It took me half hour to narrate the entire story.

“Oh my god. That’s horrible to hear dude. Your all alone?” He said.

“Yes, I am all alone.” I said.

“That’s really bad.”

“By the way what do u do?” I asked Srikk.

“I am at present jobless. Lost my job during recession.” He said in a sad tone.

“Well you can always get another job.”

“Maybe but I am not interested. I am now a news reporter. I enjoy this work more than sitting in front of the computer and doing coding. I was never interested in software. It was for my dad that I joined. He died few years back and I lost my job too.” He said.

“I am sorry.” I said apologetically.

“That’s okay. So what are you planning to do next?” He asked.

‘You can’t do anything without my knowledge’

I was thinking as to how I could tell him. But I had no choice. I had to fight a battle all alone. I could never depend on anyone.

“Well, I can’t risk my life anymore. I’m leaving to United States in a couple of months for my higher studies. I am going back home.”

“Okay fine. When do you plan to leave?” He asked.

“Even if I’m allowed to leave now I would flee away.” I said.

“Yes you can leave. But you have to be very careful.” He said.

He gave me the tablet thing in a paper cover. “Use this when you feel pain, it will work in fifteen minutes and the pain will recede. Okay?” He asked.

“Sure. Thanks for your timely help.” I said.

“Never mind. Be careful.” He said.

I got up, wore my shirt and started walking slowly. Just as I opened the door, I remembered that I forgot my cell phone. I went back to the room. I overheard Srikkanth speaking.

“He has left.” He said.

There was someone on the other end of the phone talking something.

“Yes, I have given him the tablet. The tablet will take care of it.” He said.

I was shocked. ‘Another traitor.’ I thought. I walked back to the exit and called out, “Srikk, can you come here please?”

“I will call you back later. Bye.” He hung up and replied “Yes coming.”

He came out with a smile and asked me what I wanted.

‘How these people manage a smile? Why are people doing this to me?’

“I forgot my cell phone. Can you bring it to me please?” I asked.

“Yes sure. Just a minute.” He said.

Few seconds later, he came running with my mobile.

“By the way, I came to that shop No.9 with my driver. By any chance you know where he is?” I asked.

“No not sure.” He said. “Okay thanks.” I said and I got the mobile and went out of his place.

It was around 8:00pm. It was very dark. I was thinking as to how to get back to the city. A lorry came on the highway. I waved my hand to stop it. The lorry stopped and I got into it.

EPISODE 19

The lorry driver was driving at a constant speed. There was the driver, cleaner, and a lady. She was covering her face with her saree and staring at the back. Since it was so dark, I couldn’t see her face.

‘Maybe it’s Anu..?”  I thought for a second.

(FOR THE SAKE OF READER’s CONVENIENCE THIS CONVERSATION IS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH.)

“Hi, I’m Raghav.” I said.

There was no reply. “Excuse me.” I said. Still there was no reply. The lorry driver then said, “She can’t hear you, she’s deaf.”

“Oh my god. I am sorry.” I said to the driver.

Though it was dark, I had the slightest feeling that I knew the faces of driver and the cleaner.

We reached the city in half an hour. I reached the hotel and walked straight to the reception. There was a small plant in a pot. I placed my cell phone in the pot and switched on the voice recorder.

“Hi, I’m planning to check out tomorrow morning.” I said to the receptionist.

“Okay sir, check out time 9:00am.” He said.

“That’s fine. By the way, do you have Mansoor’s phone number?” I asked.

“Mansoor, who is that?” The receptionist asked with a surprise.

“The hotel driver. Isn’t he? He was with me all these days.” I was shocked.

The receptionist searched the register and told “Sorry sir, there is no record of any Mansoor working in our hotel.”

‘What the hell?’ I thought.

“Okay fine. Thanks.” I said. I left towards the lift. Five minutes later, I returned and the receptionist looked confused. “Yes?” He asked.

“Well, I forgot my cell phone. I just came to get it.” I said and took the cell phone to my room and closed the door. I locked the room.

I listened to the voice clip that I had recorded. It played.

“Mansoor… Sorry sir, there are no records of any mansoor working here… Okay fine thanks…”

There was a gap for one minute. Then it played. “He just entered the hotel… (pause)… He’s planning to check out tomorrow morning… (pause)… He asked for mansoor… (pause)… Okay will have a watch on him… (pause)… CCTV surveillance? Okay. (pause).” The clip ended.

I immediately got two pillows and made it like a person sleeping. I switched off the lights and went underneath the bed.

“There are traitors everywhere. I’m being watched everywhere.” I said silently.

‘You can’t do anything without my knowledge. Even walls have ears around you.’ I began to think deeply.

‘Whoever is doing this knows everything about me.’ I thought.

I recollected all the events that had happened from the start.

‘Anu putting leave for a week, shiva and me getting leave from manager, hotel booking by sudha, shiva and lavi getting committed, meeting Mahavir Patel in the train, Arriving at noida, Mansoor picking us, search for anu ending in trail, news about nympho maniac Joseph bharani, going to the function, seeing the shawl guy, meeting rahul, meeting Mrs.Poonam Patel, shiva’s dad not well, shiva going home, all three of them eating dokhla, falling unconscious, two of them dying, Mr.Patel saying “Aa..Anu..shka” before dying, Relatives quarrelling for fortune, Insurance money worth fifty lakhs, Abhi’s resignation, blank call asking to come to a shop, meeting Srikkanth, four guys and a girl beating Srikkanth, getting stabbed by the shawl guy, recovering, Srikkanth telling details to someone, lorry ride and now checking out, receptionist saying no person named mansoor working in the hotel, receptionist is telling details to someone.’

The events were in chronological order. They all seem to fit in together somehow. It was like one jigsaw puzzle which needed just one clue to finish solving the puzzle. ‘What’s that?’ I thought deeply. I felt everything here had a connection.

Suddenly my phone rang. “Hi, is this raghav?”

“Yes.” I said.

“I’m Dr.Priya, I saw your thread in askthedoctor.com. I wanted to talk to you about that.” She said.

“Oh, yes please.” I said.

“Actually you mentioned that the patient had weight loss because of a cardio attack. This is only possible if the patient had tri chloro tetra acetate that was mixed in the dokhla.” She said.

“But are you sure doc?” I asked.

“Yes, this chemical doesn’t give any odour and it mixes well give body fluids to produce a sediment tri chloro acetate. If the post morterm report suggests that this sediment was found then this chemical would be the cause for sure.” She said.

“Okay doctor, thanks. By the way where are you from?” I asked.

“I’m from Noida.” She said.

“That’s great doc, if I have more doubts can I get back to you?” I asked.

“Sure thing.” She said.

“Thanks doc…”

“Hey one minute, Can I know the reason why you posted the doubt on the web?” She asked.

‘Even the walls have ears around you… 4 guys and 1 girl… Here we have a girl talking from Noida… What do I do? ’ I thought.

“Just for study purposes, I want to buy that chemical for testing.”  I said.

“Ok fine, but for that you need a doc’s prescription. Without that you won’t get it.” She said.

“Okay doc. Thanks for ur help. Bye.” I said.

“Yeah bye.” She said and hung up.

‘A doctor’s prescription? Is a doctor involved in this? This is getting crazier.’

Suddenly something struck my mind. ‘Yes, this idea could get me a clue.’ I thought.

What is that idea? What happens next? Wait and Watch 🙂

EPISODE 20
 
I went straight to the office.
 
(FOR THE SAKE OF READER’s CONVENIENCE THIS CONVERSATION IS WRITTEN IN ENGLISH.)
 
“Hi Sir, I am from the family whose function was to take place today.” I said.
“Oh. I’m sorry for the news. It was a great tragedy. Heart attacks are becoming common.” He said.
 
‘Heart attacks? Someone would have mixed tri chloro tetra acetate in the dokhla said Dr.Priya’  I thought.
 
“It’s okay sir. I just want to ask some thing.” I said.
 
“Yes please.”
 
“When someone arranges a marriage function here, who arranges for the catering? Is it you or is it someone external?” I enquired.
 
“We leave that option to them. We recommend people though.” He said earnestly.
 
“Okay. For the Patel’s family function who arranged? You guys or they themselves?” I asked.
 
“Well, they were comfortable with their own caterers so we didn’t want to spoil that.” He said.
 
“You have those caterers number?”
 
“Yes”. He said.
 
“Can you give the number? I need to arrange them for the 13th day function.”
 
“Okay fine.” He gave a visiting card of the catering service.
 
“Okay sir, Thank you.” He said.
 
I started leaving. I kept my cell phone on the table wanted. I returned back in two minutes and said “Sorry forgot my mobile.”
 
“No problem sir.” He said smiling.
 
I went towards the car and got into it. I played the voice clip which I had saved the conversation of the manager of the function hall.
 
“Someone from their family came and asked for details, I gave the visiting card… (pause) Yeah okay… bye… (pause).” And the clip trailed off.
 
‘Traitors everywhere. Is there no one I can trust? Why is everything being informed? There must be something really big that these people don’t want me to know.’
 
I went straight to the address which was there on the visiting card. The catering office looked a bit old. I went inside and asked for the owner of the catering service. He came over.
 
“Hello sir, I am bhajrang singh. How may I help you?”
 
“Actually sir, I come from Mr.Patel’s family. I want to see your team of people who served food that day.”
 
“Okay sir. But why?” He asked.
 
“Someone in the function hall helped Mr.Patel a lot. He told me to give him a fortune before dying. That’s why.” I said.
 
“He was such a nice man. Anyways give me two minutes to assemble my team.” He said.
 
“Sure Sir, Take your time” I said.
 
The entire team had assembled outside the office. They stood in a line and I was like in a scene where a witness would be allowed to identify the criminal.
 
Suddenly, I received a phone call.
 
“Hello, Is this raghav?”
 
I moved away from the crowd to some distance.
 
“Yes I am. “ I said
 
I heard the same interference disturbance which I heard on the bus while coming to the station.
 
“I’m the doctor calling from the Govt. General Hospital, Noida. The post-mortem report is ready. You can come and collect it.” He said.
 
“Oh okay doctor. I will come right away.” And I hung up the phone.
 
I moved towards the team of catering people.
 
‘I remember the small guy carrying the dokhla. He was wearing a black shirt which had a flying bird logo and a blue jean pant. He spoke in a stammering tone. He had hurt his leg and he was limping. He was of normal skin colour and had big eyes.’
 
But I couldn’t find anyone like that in this group.
I asked the owner, “Sir, have everyone come today?”
“Yes, everyone except two people.”
 
“Who are they?” I asked.
 
“One is a lady and the other is a small boy.” He said.
 
“But the small boy is of no use, he always limps and stammers. He couldn’t have helped Mr.Patel.” He said sadly.
 
“No! I exclaimed. He’s the guy. Mr.Patel told me that he limps and stammers.”
 
‘Yes, I ve got my clue. A clue towards my Anushka.’ I was totally excited.
 
“Okay sir, You can see him at his residence.”The owner said.
 
He tore a piece of paper and wrote the address. “Here sir.” He said.
 
“Thanks. Thanks a lot.” I said.
 
“Don’t mention Sir. Anything for Mr.Patel’s family.” He said.
 
I started walking away. I reached the address in twenty minutes. I reached his residence. It was more of a small plot which had no room for even three people to sleep.
 
I rang the bell. There was no answer. The door was locked from inside. I tried ringing the bell again. There was no answer.
 
‘Only one option, break the door.’ I thought.
 
I ran straight into the door and broke it open.
 
“Oh my god.” I shouted.
I ran towards the guy to see him dead on the ground. There was poison bottle near him and he had died. I called the police and informed them.
 
‘He was my only hope. There’s no way I am going to find out what’s happening. All my efforts are going in vain. Isn’t there a way out from all this? Every moment there’s danger for my Anu. I’m losing a lot of time. These cold blooded murderers can even murder Anu. Or is that what has already happened?’
 
My heart began to beat faster as I was imagining these things.
 
‘You can’t do anything without my knowledge. Even the walls around you have ears. If you don’t leave the reason why you came here will be lost.’
 
The words rang again and again in my ears. I was there helpless.
 
‘There’s no way out No way I can find my Anu.’ I thought.
 
 
What happens Next?? Can Raghav solve this? Can
 
he find Anu? Who is doing all these murders?
 
Let’s start the guessing game. But to know what
 
happened. Wait till MONDAY 🙂
 
 
 
EPISODE 22
 
I was startled after the murder of the young boy. I had cancelled my hotel room, been in disguise and tried to find a clue but all my hopes and efforts are now in vain.
 
I had no place to go also. I had to find a place. I drove the car to the nearby village and then parked the car behind a huge banyan tree. I walked through the dimly lighted streets of the village. There was no one in the streets. It was night 10:00pm.
 
‘People do sleep very early here’ I thought. There were small houses down the road. I went down the road to some distance. An old man came out of his house to throw away waste. I immediately went near the old man.
 
“Hi Sir.” I said.
 
He looked at me wearily. “Yes.” He said.
 
“I am coming from Bangalore sir. I have no room to stay tonight. Can I sleep at your place and leave tomorrow morning?”
 
He thought for a while and then said “Okay fine.” I shook hands with him.
 
We both started walking towards his room, when my cell phone rang. It was Shiva. The old man grumbled “No cell phones in the house.”
 
“Okay sir.” I said and cut the call. I went inside. Though it looked bucolic from the outside, it was neat inside. There was big hall, one small kitchen and two rooms. One room was locked with a latch at the outside.
 
The old man said “You can stay in the room till morning 6:00am.”
 
“That sounds fine. Thank you sir.” I said and started walking towards the door with the latch. Just as I took the hand near the latch, the old man said “No not that room, you can take the other room.”
 
I was about to leave to the next room when I heard sounds from the locked room. Those were sounds of pain and agony. I looked at the old man.
 
“It is my daughter. She is mentally upset.” He looked down with a sad face.
 
“Oh okay sir.” I went to the next room.
 
“Good night sir.” I said.
 
The old man waved his arms and he went to his resting chair. I locked the room from the inside. I removed the wig and the beard. I lay on the ground and started thinking.
 
DAY 13:
 
It was 2:00am early morning and I wanted to find my anu desperately. ‘Every moment I waste danger might creep in closer to Anu.’ I thought. ‘But there is no lead or no clue towards finding here. There is no one to help me out and everyone here is a traitor.’ Just as I was thinking I could hear the old man’s daughter scream with pain. I had a great doubt that it would be Anushka.
 
There was a brick wall in between the rooms and there was no window or door to peep through the wall. There was a cupboard in the room. I went towards it and tried to open the cupboard. I tried hard and finally it opened and a key fell down from top of the cupboard. It had three shelves and all the three were empty. I took the key from the floor and when I bent down I saw the third shelf. It had a sliding door drawer. It was locked.
 
I opened it with the key and slid open the drawer. It had a cover, saw, hammer and a screw driver. The cover had couple of dresses. Just as I was about to open the cover, a heavy thunder came down. It struck the transformer and the entire street had a power cut. The room was very dark and I couldn’t see anything. I took out my cell phone and only then I realised instead of cutting the call, I switched off my mobile. I switched it on and used the torch light in the mobile. I saw the dress inside the cover. It was blood stained. The saw was also blood stained. It was horrifying.
 
There was one window on the back of the room. I was wondering whose dress it would be and I feared whether it would be Anu’s dress. My heart began to beat faster, it was like as though I knew where Anu was but was not able to find it out. I was looking at the window on the back of the room. I switched off the torch light in my cell phone. I couldn’t see anything. Just as I was looking near the window, a lightning flashed. I could see someone with a hat standing near the window. It was raining heavily. I stood up and went near the window. I wanted to see who it was.
 
‘How did they know I was here too? Are they keeping guard so that they can kill me when I start tomorrow or are they someone else taking shelter for the rain?’ I thought.
 
‘You can’t do anything without my knowledge.’ The words flashed in my mind.
 
‘They know my movements, but how? They should have known that I am going in search of the boy, that’s why they would have poisoned him. But how do they know?’ I was pondering.
 
Another lightning flashed and the man who was standing there was gone. My heart beat was at its maximum. Suddenly I heard the cry of the old man. I went towards the door. I could hear opening of the latch in the next room. There was that cries of a woman in pain. The voice seemed to be very much like anu’s voice. I had to do something.
 
I went near the door and tried opening it. The door was locked from outside. ‘Shit… They know I am here. Everything is planned. But how? Why?’
 
EPISODE 23
 
I didn’t know what to do. After two minutes, I heard a car sound starting and it was trailing off. I was near the door and I banged it. “Sir… Sir… Open the door… open the door sir.” I was screaming at the top of my voice.
 
‘I have to do something.’ I suddenly remembered the hammer. I took the hammer from the cupboard and broke the door open. I ran outside. The rain had stopped, there were car tracks in the road. ‘These have to be those car tracks.’
 
I went inside. It was very dark. I took my cell. I had received four messages. One from Sudha, two from Shiva and one from Abhilash. I went walking towards the house. I opened sudha’s message. It read:
 
Hi raghav, How r u? You seemed very tensed that day. What happened? Tried calling you but your cell was switched off. Call me immediately when you see this message.
 
I didn’t reply. I had more important work to do. Next I opened Shiva’s message. It read:
 
Hi machi, I was trying hard to reach you. Your mom is really worried. She wants you back here. She doesn’t want you in trouble. She asked me to come there and take you back with me. I am starting now. Will reach day after tomorrow morning. See you da. Call me once u see this message.
 
The next message was from Abhilash Sharma aka Abhi, my manager. It read:
 
Hi raghav, I have resigned the company to start my own business. I have started a pharmaceutical company. Funny na, software engineer starting a pharma company? Well, it’s a partnership. I couldn’t inform you. By the way heard u have not been to office since you left to Noida. I guess you had called me the other day. Call me whenever your free.
 
The next message from shiva read:
 
By the way where are you now? You haven’t updated me right from the young boy’s murder. Please update me.
 
I kept my cell in the pocket. I entered the house. I was searching for some clue. Just  as I was going towards the door from which the cries came, something touched my leg. I bent down to see what it was. I took the cell phone and switched on the torch light. It was a hand. It had been chopped off.
 
‘Couple of hours back, I shook hands with him and now his hand is cut off. Cold blooded b****rds.’  I thought. I went forward and he lay there dead.
 
I immediately stood up and ran to the room where the man’s daughter was there. It was so dark and I stamped on some card. I bent down and took the card. It was some identity card like the one most software engineers wear. I couldn’t see the name or the photo in the card.
 
I came out of the room. I took out my cell phone to switch on the torch light. Battery was low to switch it on. “F**k.” I said.
 
I was trying hard to see the name. The current came and the name flashed “ANUSHKA .S PATEL”
 
‘Oh my god. She was here all this time and I couldn’t save her.’
 
I looked at the dead body of the old man. ‘Then, why did he say it was his daughter? Who killed him?’
 
Just then I remembered something. ‘The car tracks.’ I thought. I ran outside the house. ‘These tyre tracks could lead me to them.’ The tyre tracks were so clear thanks to the rain. I ran inside, wore my shirt, kept anu’s id card inside my shirt pocket. Wore the beard and wig and ran out of the house. When I went out of the house past old man’s body I thought ‘I am sorry that I am not able to do anything.’ It was early morning
 
I ran towards my car. The whole road was mushy it took a while to reach my car. I opened the car door, inserted the keys, started the car. It didn’t start. I tried again it didn’t start.
 
I took out my cell phone. Shiva’s message was open.
 
By the way where are you now? You haven’t updated me right from the young boy’s murder. Please update me.
 
I sat for a while thinking. I opened his other message. It read:
Hi machi, I was trying hard to reach you. Your mom is really worried. She wants you back here. She doesn’t want you in trouble. She asked me to come there and take you back with me. I am starting now. I will reach day after tomorrow morning. See you da. Call me once u see this message.
 
I opened abhi’s message too. It read:
Hi raghav, I have resigned the company to start my own business. I have started a pharmaceutical company. Funny na, software engineer starting a pharma company? Well, it’s a partnership. I couldn’t inform you. By the way heard u have not been to office since you left to Noida. I guess you had called me the other day. Call me whenever your free.
 
I opened sudha’s message too. It read:
Hi raghav, How r u? You seemed very tensed that day. What happened? Tried calling you but your cell was switched off. Call me immediately when you see this message.
 
I was thinking hard. There was a feeling of emergency to know where I am, what I am doing in all their messages.
 
I thought ‘Yes, all three of them wanted to know what was happening. As for sudha, she had asked me the other day itself. As for Abhi, I was no one to him. I had just joined his team couple of months back and the first time I went to ask about the outing that Anushka had arranged, he couldn’t even remember my name. And for shiva, I never updated the murder of the young guy. I never spoke to him after Mahavir’s death. Moreover, my mother trusts me. She would never send a friend to help me. She would have rather sent my brother. There is something fishy here. How did he come to know about the murder of the young boy? Who could have told him? Or is he involved?’
 
I tried calling my home. It said the phone service was barred.
 
Suddenly my cell phone rang. It was an unknown number. I attended.
 
“Hello.” I said.
 
“Hello Jillu, How are you? Why no call all these days?”
 
“Mom it’s you.” I sighed.
 
“Yes jillu. Why what happened? Is everything fine?”
 
‘Very fine mom, just five murders and I got myself stabbed once.’
 
“Yes mom. Listen I need to ask you a few things. Why is our landline not reachable?” I asked.
 
“Don’t know jillu, fishy things have been going on. Our landline bill has shooted up to Rs.19000 and no one knows why. They have barred the service. Even the mobile phone service has been barred for all three of us. It seems our address proof is not valid. Thank god your phone number is fine.”
 
“Oh my god. Ok mom, I will be there in a week. Don’t worry about me. Will call you tonight and explain everything. Okay?”
 
“Okay jillu.”
 
“Mom, one minute. Did u by any chance speak to Shiva?” I asked.
 
“No jillu, why is he alright? What about his dad?”
 
“Yes they are fine. I just asked.” I said. “Okay mom, take care. Bye” I said.
 
“Yeah okay jillu. Take care. Bye.” She said and hung up the phone.
 
‘Why did shiva lie to me? Why is he coming now when his dad is serious? Something is wrong.’ I thought.
 
My phone again rang. It was from an unknown number. I attended the call.
 
“Hello…” I said.
 
“Raghav…?” The voice said.
 
‘It was the same voice.’ I was trembling with fear.
 
“Ye… Yes…” I said.
 
“You don’t look good with that beard and wig. I told you that you can’t do anything without my knowledge. You think I will be fooled with your beard. If u think so I am sorry. I am not whom you think you are. You can’t find me nor can you find what you came for. You have come so far and every time I have left you alive. This is your last chance. Don’t follow the tyre tracks. The car will not start. The id card of the person you’re trying to find is the last clue I am giving you. You can only have the person’s id card. That’s why I gave it to you. Don’t probe in further. Remember even the walls around you have ears and you can’t do anything without my knowledge.”
 
The call ended.
 
‘How did he know that I am in disguise. Is everything planned. Maybe they are pulling me into a trap. I must be careful hereon. But how do they track me down? Even the words I speak. There is someone or something around me.’ I thought.
 
What happens Next? Any guesses?
 
Wait and Watch. Comment ur views 🙂
 
EPISODE 24
 
I was thinking in the car as to what I should do or in other words I was thinking what would happen next. Right from the day I entered Noida, things started going haywire. Events were happening in immediate succession. Nothing seemed easy as they were when I was in Bangalore. In a normal life scenario it’s just like an IT employee taking a week leave. Suddenly her family i.e. parents die of heart attack. But in my view it was different. It was a long-time planned brutal series of murders and kidnapping of the girl.
 
The car had a mobile charger. I put my mobile in charge as the battery was low.
 
‘Starting the car will never be a problem for me.’ Yes, I was one of the many students who entered software after studying automobile engineering. I knew in and out of any automobile. For me starting a Maruti Alto was nothing. I removed my shirt and open the bonette. The wire to the battery of the car which is responsible for the starting of the car was cut.
 
In five minutes I fixed it up and started the car. I didn’t wear my shirt. I switched on the A/C and started following the tyre tracks. In another five minutes I reached a tar road and it was in a V-shape. The tyre tracks were on the left side of the V-shaped road. I thought for sometime ‘Did they go on the left or is it a mislead?’ I thought.
 
Just as I was thinking, I got a call from “Private Number”.
 
“Hello.” I said sternly.
 
“Even after so much of chances you wish to risk your life I guess. You have started the car and I appreciate your good thinking and perseverance. Let’s have a challenge. In exactly one week from now, I bet you can’t find your target. If you find her, you can take her with you. Else she will also be murdered like her parents and would be. Anyways we have finished our job with her. Ha Ha, she was delicious indeed. If you can’t find your target, you should never ever interfere with us. You ready for the challenge?” The voice said.
 
‘I didn’t have a choice but to accept the challenge. I knew the challenge was going to be deadly. But to what extent?’ I thought.
 
“Okay, I will face the challenge.” I said.
 
“Yes, you don’t have a choice. Do you? From now on everything is going to get tougher for you. Everything you do will give you a clue and it will also get deeper. All the best. I will keep in touch regularly. May Jesus be with you.”
 
The call ended.
 
CHALLENGE DAY 1
 
‘May Jesus be with you? Is he a Christian? Or is it for misleading me?’ I thought.
 
‘ In exactly one week from now, I bet you can’t find your target. If you find her, you can take her with you. Else she will also be murdered like her parents and would be.’
 
‘So they have murdered them.’ I thought.
 
‘Anyways we have finished our job with her. Ha Ha, she was delicious indeed. If you can’t find your target, you should never ever interfere with us. You ready for the challenge?’
‘What have they finished with her? Hope it’s nothing wrong and hope my Anu is fine.’ I thought.
 
‘Why this challenge for me? Anu has never spoken to me. How did these guys come to know I was in search of Anu. Even her parents didn’t know. The only people who know it are my family, Shiva, Lavanya, Sudha, Mansoor, Srikkanth.’ I thought.
 
‘From now on everything is going to get tougher for you. Everything you do will give you a clue and it will also get deeper. All the best. I will keep in touch regularly. May Jesus be with you.’
 
‘Everything is already tough and now what does he mean by tougher? He knew my motive of coming to Noida, he knew my actions, movements, plans, he knew my where abouts, my attempt to disguise myself, etc. But how?’
 
‘And Jesus? Is he a Christian? The only Christian in this whole event is Joseph Bharani. Is he giving me a clue? Or what is he trying?’ I thought.
 
There were many questions unanswered. But one thing was strong in my mind. “JUST ONE WEEK TO SAVE MY ANUSHKA.” I said to myself.
 
I wore my shirt. I took out anu’s ID card and looked at it. ‘Poor girl, I don’t know why all this for such a sweet girl? Something must have happened and that’s why all this.’ As I was thinking tears rolled down from my eyes and rolled down the cheeks and fell on her ID card. “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. I AM COMING FOR YOU.” I said and started the car.
 
My phone again ringed. I unplugged the charger and attended the call.
 
“Hello…” I said.
 
“It’s been ten minutes and you’re still wasting time crying. Don’t be a sissy. There are two roads in front of you. One road will lead you towards the hospital where they died. Another road will lead you to me. Which one are you gonna take?” The voice said and the call ended.
 
The cut, the shawl guy had gifted me was paining. I immediately took the tablet given by Srikkanth’s grandpa and consumed it. The only I remembered Srikkanth’s words “Don’t worry the tablet will take care of him.”
 
‘Did he tell it in good sense or in the bad sense?’ I wondered.
 
EPISODE 25
 
Just as the call ended I remembered, ‘I need to go and collect the post-mortem report.’  I put the first gear and raced along the left road of the V-shaped highway.
 
In an hour I reached the hospital. I rushed to see the doctor. He was on leave and they asked me to meet Dr.Priya. I had a doubt whether she was the same doctor who spoke to me three days back to give reply for the post in askthedoctor.com.
 
I was about to enter Dr. Priya’s consulting room I was feeling very drowsy. Maybe it was because of the tablet. ‘Don’t worry, the tablet will take care of him.’ Or is it because I have not slept well for days?
 
“Excuse me Doctor. May I come in?” I asked.
 
“Yes, you can.” She said.
 
I went inside. “Take your seat.” She said.
 
She was busy analyzing some X-ray reports. She was a young attractive woman in her mid-twenties. As soon as she finished analyzing I started talking.
 
“Doctor, are you the one who replied to my post in askthedoctor.com?”
 
“Are you Raghav?”
 
“Yes doctor. I heard you say that you practice on other side of Noida. How come you’re here?” I asked.
 
“Yes I do, I come here for consultation two days a week. So you had ur doubts cleared?“
 
“Yes, doctor to some extent.” I said.
 
“Okay, now what’s the problem?” She asked.
 
Before I could say anything she noticed blood stain in my shirt which I tried to hide desperately.
 
“Are you bleeding?” She asked.
 
“No doctor.”
 
“Yes you are. I can see blood stains on your shirt. Remove them off.”
 
“Doctor, I actually came for…”
 
“Quick Raghav, remove your shirt then I will listen to you.”
 
I removed my shirt. “Oh my god. It looks so bad. How did this happen?”
 
“A cow ran into me and the horn hurt me.” I said.
 
“Don’t I know how a cow horn hurt will look like. This must be some sharp tool.” She said.
 
‘She’s intelligent.’
 
“Yes it is doctor. I got stabbed.” I said.
 
She was talking something, I couldn’t concentrate I was feeling drowsy. She was telling that the wound was bad and she had to give him a pain killer.
 
She gave me a pain killer shot. “Yes, here you go. The pain killer will start working in half hour.” She said.
 
“Okay fine. I actually came for the post mortem report of Mr. & Mrs. Mahavir Singh Patel.” I said
 
“Oh that one. Yesterday only the senior doctor gave those reports to me. He’s on leave and gone for vacation. Those reports are safe at home. Would you like to come over?” She asked.
 
“Oh. But generally you don’t take patient records to home right?” I asked.
 
“Yes but I was in a hurry and took those by mistake. If you can come over now, I will hand over it to you.” She said.
 
“Okay doctor.” I said and we both started towards the car parking. My vision started getting blurred.
 
“Doctor, can you drive my car please? I am tired.”
 
“Sure. No problem.” She said.
 
We both got into the car and we were on the highway fifteen minutes later. I was feeling very drowsy and my eyes automatically closed.
 
DAY 14
CHALLENGE DAY 2
 
I was on the bed and I was dead tired. I could not even lift my hands. My vision was totally blurred. I didn’t know where I was or who was there around me. But there was a lady with me most of the time. I thought it would be Dr. Priya. I could also hear couple of voices. One of them asking, “How’s he? When will he gain conscience?” The other responding by tell, “Maximum tomorrow evening.”
 
I was constantly on drips the whole day.
 
DAY 15
CHALLENGE DAY 3
 
I slowly gained conscience, the first thing I saw was the clock on the wall. It was night 8:00pm. I had lost 2 days out of my 7 days.
 
‘But why did I get sedated? Who sedated? Where am I? Was it the tablet that caused the sedation or the pain killer which caused it?’
 
Just as I was thinking, I felt a warm kiss on my forehead. The room was very dark that I was not able to see anything. A light was switched on. I haven’t faced light for two days and it was tough for me to see with the light. My vision got clear slowly and there was Dr. Priya standing before me in her night dress.
 
My hands were tied. I was too weak to even lift my hands. She came near me.
 
“Hi sweetie, how are you feeling?” She asked.
 
I was too weak to say anything. She continued, “I only put the pain killer and sedated you.”
 
‘I expected that. Traitors everywhere.’
 
“Why do you want to suffer searching for Anushka when you have a person like me?” She said.
 
I didn’t say anything.
 
“You have just 4 more days to search for her and I am sure you can never find her. The whole thing is scrambled and you can’t arrange the jigsaw puzzle. So just leave her. I will speak to my boss and then we can be happy forever. You get what I am saying? Please leave all this. I have been eyeing on you ever since you came to Noida. I love you so much. I am a doctor and I earn well. I also heard about your plans to go to USA. We can be happy together there.”
 
‘eyeing me from the day I entered Noida? How does she know about my plans about USA?’
 
‘I am not able to understand anything. What’s going on? Who’s giving all these details?’ I thought.
 
“Think over and tell me tomorrow morning. I don’t want you to suffer anymore. I am leaving for duty now.” She said.
 
After five minutes, she came in her casuals and white coat. “I am leaving now. See you tomorrow morning. Love you.” She said.
 
She kissed my forehead once again. She went towards the door and said “Don’t try anything silly. You can’t do anything without my knowledge and even the walls around you have ears. You would definitely not forget these words. Bye sweetie.” She left. I could hear the car sound.
 
‘She has taken my car. How can I forget these words? It’s these words that are creating havoc in my life. I am sure she’s part of a group but which group? Why they doing this to me? Is this lady really crazy on me or is it some kind of trap? I need to escape from here. But how?’ I thought.
 
What happens Next? Wait and Watch… 🙂
 

EPISODE 26

‘Time was running out and maybe that’s their plan. I am stuck in a quagmire of problems and there’s not even a single clue. Today is the 3rd day and still I have 4 days remaining. I need to crack this out and find my Anu. First I need to escape’
 
I looked around the room. It was quite big. I was being constantly watched by a CCTV camera and there was a speaker too. My hands were tied but my legs were free.
 
Don’t try anything silly.’ The words flashed.
 
There is nothing I can do now I just have to wait till she comes.’
 
I lay there on the bed thinking what to do next. Suddenly the intercom beeped.
 
The voice started. “Life is giving so much of choices to Mr.Raghav, but still his perseverance is leading him to his grave. I don’t understand why he is doing this.”
 
“It’s because I love my Anu so much. I will surely come for her no matter what problems you cause me.” I said.
 
“She looks beautiful I accept that and she is very voluptuous too. Ha Ha, we have all tasted her flesh. Still you love her?” The voice questioned.
 
“Love is not about body, Love is about the heart. I am sure nothing of what you say would have happened. My anu is pure and she is only for me.” I said confidently.
 
“That’s over confidence I believe. Anyways in case you find me, you will see her. Now let me come to the matter. Three days over, what are you going to do next? Till now whoever has come your way have betrayed you. Just four days left. Since you have come so far digging the mystery, I want to punish your perseverance.”
 
There was a small pause. Maybe he expected me to tell something but I was silent.
 
The voice continued, “By now you would have found out that you are being monitored 24×7. We will play a small game. There is a person who is standing guard for you. I will switch off the camera for exactly 7 minutes. Within that time you have to escape from that guard. If you don’t escape within five minutes, then one bullet out of seven bullets in my gun will pierce through your Anu’s hand. Sounds fun right? Are you ready?” The voice questioned.
 
“No please don’t harm her. Please.” I pleaded.
 
“All is fair in love and war. You have exactly seven minutes. Your time starts now.” The voice said.
 

MINUTE 1

 
The light on the CCTV camera was off. It had stopped recording. There was no sound around me. I shouted “Hello.. Excuse me anybody there?”
 
There was no reply. I shouted again “Hello, please anybody there? Hello?”
 
(thirty seconds over)
 
I shouted again, “I know someone’s there, please help me out for a second. Hello?”
 
I waited for a response.
 
(Fifty seconds over)
 
Guess he lied to me. That bast***’ I thought
 
I lay there on the bed.
 

MINUTE 2
Time was running very fast. I kept on shouting for help but no response.
 
This is also his plan. He has decided to shoot Anu on her hand. Then why challenging me like this?’ I thought.
 
(Thirty seconds over)
 
Suddenly the room door opened. A man entered the room. “Why the hell are you shouting at the top of your voice?” He asked.
 
“You won’t leave me peacefully even at the restroom is it?” He grumbled again.
 
“Well, it’s the same for me man, I need to have a leak.” I said.
 
“I will get the bed pan.” He said.
 
“Hey dude, I need to go to the rest room. Please untie my hands. You can come with me and stand outside.”
 
He thought for a while.
 

MINUTE 3
“Okay. But if you try anything silly, I will blow your brains off.” He said pointing out a gun.
 
Oh my god. These guys are armed too.’ I thought.
 
“Okay fine.” I said.
 
He came closer to me and untied my hands. I got down from the bed and stretched out myself. He was pointing the gun on me.
 
“Quick move.” He said.
 
I started moving towards the rest room. I opened the door and locked it inside. He was standing outside the rest room. I looked at the mirror. There was no need of the beard now as it had grown significantly more.
 

MINUTE 4

 
I slowly opened the tap and washed my face. I filled a bucket fully with water and poured half on the ground. I was ready with my plan of escape. I was waiting for him to ask me.
 

END OF 5th MINUTE

 
It took him a minute to ask me “Hey done? Finish it fast?”
 

MINUTE 6

 
I replied “Will be there soon.”  He was mumbling something. I lifted the half filled water bucket and opened the door and hid on the right hand side.
 
“Come out. Don’t try anything silly. You will be shot dead.” He warned.
 
I didn’t reply. “Come out you bast***” He shouted.
 
I didn’t reply. He came near to the restroom and opened the door.
 
 
 
 

EPISODE 27
 
 
MINUTE 7

 
I lifted the bucket and poured water on his face. I pulled him towards me and banged his head on the flush, twisted his hand and got the gun. I threatened him that I will shoot him. I locked him in the bathroom. I ran to the living room and took my shirt and my cell phone and ran outside the house.
 
I ran down the stairs and went outside the flat. I thought of catching a bus.
But where am I supposed to go? What’s next?’
 
My phone ringed. I attended. “Good. You have escaped. I am really impressed with you. Now what’s next? What are you going to do? Today your friend Shiva is coming right? Aren’t you going to go to the railway station?”
 
“How do you know that? Why are you doing this to me?” I asked.
 
“I should ask the second question. You are the one who entered my life. Just leave the place everything will be fine.” The voice said.
 
“I will leave the place only after handling you to the police and getting back my Anushka.” I said strongly.
 
“I guess you don’t have that much time left in your hands. Next few days are going to be horrible for you Mr.Raghav.” The voice warned.
 
“I don’t think anything horrible can happen hereafter.” I said.
 
“Is it so? Fine. I will keep you posted. Now I am going to give you two options. The two options will be in front of your eyes soon. I will call you.” The voice said and the call ended.
 
What options? What is it this time?’ I thought.
 
I waited for around five minutes. There was no bus coming in the road, it was almost 11:00pm. ‘He just wants to waste my time.’
 
A car was coming. I waved hands asking for a lift. It went down further to the place I was standing and then it stopped. I went nearby and saw. It was an young woman.
 
“Hi, Can you give me a lift to Noida please?” I asked.
 
“Yes fine. Get in.” She said.
 
“Thanks a lot.” I said and got into the car.
“Where are we by the way?” I asked.
 
“Varanasi.” She said.
 
“Okay. I am Raghav. Thanks for the lift. I needed one badly.” I said.
 
“That’s okay. I am Pooja.” She said.
 
“You’re from Chennai?” She asked.
 
“Yes, I am. How did you know?” I asked with a surprise.
 
‘Is she one of them too?’
 
“Well, cos I am also from Chennai.” She said with a smile.
 
“Oh… Neengalum tamil ah? (Are you also tamil?)” I asked.
 
“Aama. (Yes)” She said.
 
“Habba intha oorula naa paatha muthal tamilan neenga than. (You’re the first tamilan in this city I have met.) I said.
 
She smiled and didn’t say anything.
 
“So what are you doing?” She asked.
 
“Well, it’s a long story. What about you?” I said.
 
“I am reporter in NDTV news channel. I am going to Lucknow for a crime report tomorrow morning.”
 
“So you are going to Lucknow through Noida?” I questioned.
 
“Yes.”
“How long will it take?” I asked.
 
“Noida 6 hours. Lucknow 10 hours from here.” She said.
 
“That’s cool.” I said.
 
Suddenly my phone ringed. I attended the call.
 
“Looks like you have a companion from your own state. I think you have your two choices. First is to save your friend from the railway station and the second choice is to save your girlfriend who is in the place the lady near you told.”
I am going to Lucknow for a report tomorrow morning.’ The words flashed in my mind.
 
The voice paused and then continued. “Time is running out Mr.Raghav and you need to make your decisions wisely. You want to save your friend who has betrayed you or you want to save your girlfriend for whom you came here all the way from Bangalore telling lies to your manager.”
 
“You know everything damn thing about me. Don’t you?” I asked.
 
“Yes, otherwise I can never outwit my enemies. You are topping my enemy list. Quickly decide and act fast. I am monitoring you 24×7 so I will call you later. Just four days then you can rest in peace Mr.Raghav.”
 
‘Rest in peace??’ I gulped.
 
“One important thing, you must be aware that you are in Varanasi now. If you don’t save your friend within seven minutes after he gets down from the train, he will be killed. I will call you soon. Take your decisions wisely. Friend who betrayed or your girlfriend, it’s for you to decide. One decision will lead you closer to me and the other decision will lead you closer to your death. Good Luck Mr.Raghav.” The voice warned and the call ended.
 
‘Take your decisions wisely. Friend who betrayed or your girlfriend, it’s for you to decide. One decision will lead you closer to me and the other decision will lead you closer to your death.’
 
‘Which decision should I take? Should I save my friend or my girlfriend? Friend who betrayed or my girlfriend?’
 
What happens Next? Whom should he save? Give ur comments 🙂

EPISODE 28
I had very little time to think. I had to take a decision.
 
First and foremost how did he know that shiva betrayed me? Shiva has never betrayed me till now. His message stated that I haven’t updated him on anything after the boy’s murder. But I never told him about that murder. Maybe someone else would have told him. But that’s not possible because I haven’t told anyone about the murder. There’s something fishy here. If I go and save shiva, there will atleast be some answer to my questions. Then along with his help, I can go in search for Anushka.’
 
“Hey pooja, I was just wondering if I can ask u a favour.”
 
“Yes. But just wait a minute need to call my colleague.” She said.
 
“Okay.” I said.
 
“Hey, this is pooja here.” She said.
 
(Someone speaking at the other end.)
 
“Yeah, I will be near that temple in fifteen minutes. Wait on the highway.” She said.
 
(Someone speaking at the other end.)
 
“Okay dear. Love you bye.” She said.
 
(Someone speaking at the other end.)
“Bye.” And she hung up the phone.
 
“Yes raghav tell me.” She said.
 
“Well, I am desperate for help and I don’t know whom to count on. I have trusted many people here and got shit. Can you help me out?”
 
“Yes, tell me what the problem is When you got the phone sometime back, you looked very tense. I didn’t want to interfere.” She said.
 
‘She’ll be the last person I am going to trust in Noida.’
 
“Okay. Here it goes…” I started.
 
I narrated the whole story right from Day 1 to Day 15. It took me around 15 minutes to narrate everything. It was midnight.
 

DAY 16

 
“Well, chuck out the crime report in Lucknow, I am with you in this.” She said.
 
“Who will take care of the crime report then?” I asked.
 
“There would be buffers in office Let them get a chance.” She said with a wink.
 
“Okay.” I said and smiled at her.
 
“You said you have to pick up your colleague right?” I asked.
 
“Yes. He is not only my colleague but my boyfriend too. He’ll also accompany us. “ She said.
 
“That’s awesome. What’s his name?” I asked.
 
“You’ll see him soon.” She smiled and said.
In a couple of minutes she stopped the car in the highway. The highway was very dark and I was not able to see anything. She and a man were talking something in front of the car for a couple of minutes. Then, the man got into the back seat of the car.
 
“Hey raghav, hi. Hope you remember me.” He said.
 
I turned over and faced him. It was Srikkanth. ‘Yes he told he was a reporter.’ I thought.
 
I immediately got down from the car. Opened the back door and pulled him outside. Before he could even react I was on top bashing him.
 
“Hey, stop.” He said but I never bothered to listen. I gave him a whack on his cheeks. Pooja tried to pull me back, but it was in vain. I was like a ferocious street dog and the whole fight was like a fight between roosters.
 
“For whom are you working? Where is my Anu?” I asked again with a whack.
 
He caught hold my hand. “It’s only because of me your still alive.”
 
I was shocked. “What the hell are you saying?” I said and got up.
 
He stood up and wiped his shirt. He kept his hand on his cheek. “Nice way of returning a big favour I did for you.” He said.
 
“I’m sorry. Can you please tell me what happened?” I said.
 
“I thought you are so patient raghav. But why like this?” Pooja asked.
 
I felt ashamed; I could’ve handled it better. “I’m sorry, all the people I’ve trusted so far had betrayed me. That’s why. I’m really sorry.” I said.
 
“That’s okay. Now listen up” Srikkanth said.
 
“Remember the day when you were stabbed, you said a shawl guy stabbed you right?” Srikkanth asked.
 
“Yes, I can’t forget. The pain is still there.” I said.
 
“Yes, the pain is still there because he had dipped the knife in poison and then stabbed you. You were almost dead. My grandfather and I were so desperate to save you.” He said.
 
“Then why did you tell someone over the phone that the tablet will take care of him?” I asked.
 
“Yes I accept I did that. My grandfather had asked me to call him once u left. So I called him and told. When he asked me about the pain of the wound, I said the tablet will take care of him.” He said.
 
“Oh my god. I am terribly sorry.” I said.
 
“That’s okay. It happens.” He said smiling.
 
“Look Raghav, we are in if you trust us completely.” Pooja said.
 
At that instant, my cell phone rang. I attended the call. “Hello.” I said.
 
“Looks like you have got two more people against me. Well, no matter how many people join you, you can’t find me. Try your level best. Which option have you chosen? Friend or Girl friend?” The voice asked.
 
I got irritated and cut the call. I was damn irritated and wanted to beat the hell of someone. I switched off my cell phone.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EPISODE 29
During the fight with Srikkanth, my shirt had torn a bit. I removed my shirt and said, “I don’t know how he tracks every moment of mine. He knows what I’m doing, what I’m speaking, with whom I am and everything. It’s highly irritating.”
 
“Give me that shirt.” Pooja said.
 
I gave it to her. She observed the shirt and then she asked “Have you noticed that these two buttons are somewhat different in colour?”
 
“Oh, are they different in colour?” I asked.
 
“Yes, these two buttons are cream in colour while rest are pure white.”
 
“Yes, I suppose they are. But how? What does this have to do with the phone conversations?”
 
“Did you give this shirt or you bought it from Noida?” Srikkanth asked.
 
“No I bought this in Bangalore. Why?” I asked.
 
Srikkanth took the shirt from pooja and removed the two buttons and said, “This is the most traditional method of tracing people. Keeping a transmitter and a button camera.” He put the two buttons on the ground and then stamped it hard. Just as she stamped an old lady went past us.
 
‘what’s she doing on the highway at this time?’ I wondered.
 
“Now that’s taken care of.” Srikkanth said with a smile.
 
“Hurry up. Let’s start.” Pooja said.
 
All three of us got into the car. Pooja and Srikkanth sat in the front and I sat at the back. Just as I sat, I asked “Are you sure the camera and the transmitter are the only ways of tracking me?”
 
“Yes definitely.” Pooja said.
 
“Okay, I would like both of you to listen carefully. I got a call sometime back and the man said that my friend shiva would be killed if he’s not saved before seven minutes after the arrival of the train. I told you abt Shiva’s messages right pooja? He’s betrayed me I guess. The man has asked me to choose between my friend and my girlfriend. Shiva will be reaching noida at 10:30am and Anushka is in lucknow.” I said.
 
Srikkanth’s cell phone rang. For a second I thought it was mine but later I sighed because I had broke my cell phone. “Excuse me guys.”Srikkanth said.
 
“Hello, who’s this?” He said.
 
(Someone speaking at the other end)
 
“Raghav, it’s for you.” He said with a gulp.
 
My heart was beating fast.
 
“Hello.” I said.
 
“You think that the camera and the microphone alone would have helped me to trace you so long? Then you are wrong Mr.Raghav. Now that your new partners have found out one thing about how I am tracing you. I am going to give you another shock. I gave you two options right. Now I am making it even tougher for you. Either you save your friend by 10:37am or save your girlfriend by 12:37pm. That is if you don’t reach Lucknow before 12:30pm, you can only see her corpse. I guess Lucknow is 5 hours from Noida. If you waste time saving your friend then ur girlfriend will die. There are no flights also today. Let’s see how you manage. Friend or girl friend? Good luck Mr.Raghav.” and the call ended.
 
“This is getting horrible” I said to them.
 
“What happened?” Pooja asked.
 
I explained the conversation between me and the man.
 
“What kind of a guy is he?” Srikkanth asked.
 
“See he is eyeing on me in some other way than this camera and microphone.” I said.
 
“Now that’s not the issue. Who are you going to save?” Pooja asked.
 
“Both of them are important though Anushka is the reason I came here. She has no one left and I am going to take care of her. Just give me some time.” I said.
 
They said okay.
 
I took out my cell phone and switched it on. I read shiva’s messages.
 
Message 1:
 
Hi machi, I was trying hard to reach you. Your mom is really worried. She wants you back here. She doesn’t want you in trouble. She asked me to come there and take you back with me. I am starting now. Will reach day after tomorrow morning. See you da. Call me once u see this message.
 
Message 2:
 
By the way where are you now? You haven’t updated me right from the young boy’s murder. Please update me.
 
Why shiva? How could you do like this?’ I imagined.
 
I was looking at the inbox for a long time. I slept without my knowledge. Suddenly I woke up after some time, I looked at my inbox. The first message was from “Shiva” and the second message was from “shiva”. There was a difference in the “S” in the names. I opened message 2 again. Went to options ->Pick->Phone number. It showed a number. It was shiva’s old number. He had lost it couple of months back. I then opened message 1 again.  Went to options ->Pick->Phone number. It showed a number. It was shiva’s new and at present number.
 
He’s innocent. Someone who knew his old number would have cracked it and sent a message. I need to save him.’ I thought.
 
“Pooja, Srikkanth I have a confession to make.”
 
“Yes tell.” They said.
 
I explained the messages and the difference in cases. They were shocked.
 
“This is very well planned and executed but a small loop hole.” Srikkanth said.
 
“Yes, exactly. We should save him. Once we do we will get to know something from him.” I said.
 
“We have to go to the railway station.” I said.
 
‘I am getting closer. Loopholes have started being detected. I am coming for you shiva. I am coming.’ I thought.
 
 
What happens next? Mystery is unwinding… Guesses are welcome. Rate and comment… Wait and Watch. 🙂
 

EPISODE 30
It was 7.30am in the morning. We were still around 60 – 70 km from Noida. We stopped at a restaurant to have breakfast. I put my cell phone to charge in the car. We went inside the restaurant.
 
“You look very sick.”Pooja said.
 
“Yes, I know. I haven’t slept properly for over two weeks now. Besides I need to shave.” I said.
 
“So what’s the plan? “ Srikkanth asked.
 
“Forget the plan lets order some food now. I am damn hungry.” Pooja said.
We ordered for food and in between I got their phone numbers and we had a small chat.
 
“So how did you both fall in love?” I asked them.
 
“Well, that’s a crazy story It all started with a kiss. A planned one.” Pooja said.
 
“Hey not at all. It was just to save her.” Srikkanth said with a wink.
 
“I don’t understand.” I said.
 
“Well, let him tell the story.” Pooja said.
 
“Fine. It all started when I was doing my final year engineering, there was fire accident in my area and as usual my angel was covering the incident. There was police all around the area and they were waiting for the fire men to come. But our heroine couldn’t stand and she ran into the building to save a child.” He said.
 
“Wow, that’s so brave of you Pooja.” I said.
 
“Thanks.” She said smiling.
 
“Hey… hey stop it. It’s not over. She went in and she got stuck. Ha ha, you should have seen her face when I went inside.” He said.
 
“Oh you went inside? How come?” I asked.
 
“Well, that’s simple. I was a mechanical engineering student, I wore kaakhi dress that day. I told the policemen that the other firemen are operating on the other side of the building and gave them a slip.”
 
“They believed it?” I asked with a surprise.
 
“They didn’t have a choice in that tense situation.” He said.
 
“So I went in and saved the child and handed over the child to the police. Then again I went inside. It was burning hot inside. My Pooja was standing there stuck. She was looking very beautiful in that situation. Haha, I ran for her. She fell unconscious over me. I lifted her and paved my way towards the exit. When I reached a safe place, I patted her cheeks there was no response. I wanted to give her a mouth to mouth respiration. My heart began to beat faster as I went closer to her. She was damn beautiful. Just as I went very near she gained conscience, so I backed out.” He said with a wink.
 
“Liar, liar. Though I gained conscience he kissed me and told that he was not aware of me gaining conscience. Later we became close with each other. It was only after 6 months of our commitment her agreed that he didn’t want to miss that chance of kissing.” Pooja said.
 
At that moment, the waiter came to serve the food.
 
“That’s one cute, naughty love story I guess.” I said.
 
“Yes, after we got committed we never went out. Madam was always busy covering stories and I was working in IT. We spent no time together. She was always travelling. Cars, bikes, trains, bus, ship, plane and once even in helicopter. She would not attend my phone calls. Only after I lost my job during recession and joined NDTV, we spent a lot of time together.
 
“Yes, that’s true. But being a reporter, I have to do my job. I know I was unreasonable to him at times and now I feel bad for the same.” She said.
 
“That’s okay dear, raghav tell us about your love story.” Srikkanth said.
 
“I have been seeing her since the day she came to my office. I had informed my parents too. But till now haven’t spoken a word with her nor have I conveyed my feelings to her.” I said.
 
“But why?” Pooja asked.
 
“Love has to be felt and not be told. I want her to feel my love. It’s the feeling of my love that made me think something wrong would happen to her and that made me come here all the way. I am sure she will feel my love in the near future. I just hope she is perfectly alright.” I said
 
“Don’t worry, she will be alright” They assured.
 
“Thanks guys.” I said.
 
“I guess this whole saga is going to be adventurous and we need to be equipped.” Pooja said.
 
“Yes, we need arms I guess.” Srikkanth said.
 
“Arms? Not necessary. I know kick boxing.” I said with a wink. They started laughing.
 
We had our breakfast and started our journey towards Noida.
 
“So what’s the plan Raghav?” Srikkanth asked.
 
“Okay I will tell you. First is it possible to travel from Noida to Lucknow in two hours?” I asked.
 
“Are you joking? It will take at least 5 hours.” He said.
 
“Oh my god. If I don’t reach Lucknow before 12:30pm, he said she will pierce a bullet through anushka’s hand.” I said with a sad tone.
 
“ Where in lucknow?” Pooja questioned.
 
“He said he will call and tell me” I said.
 
“Cleverly, he’s taking a lot of time from you.” Pooja said.
 
“If I don’t find her by one week, then she will be killed also.” I said.
 
They exclaimed “Oh my god!”
 
“How long will it take if we go by train?” I asked.
 
“Four hours.” She said.
 
“If we fly?” I asked.
 
“Less than a hour but flight timings are different.” He said.
 
“shit. Then there is no way I guess. What do we do?” I said.
 
“We have only one choice.” Srikkanth said looking at Pooja.
 
“You want me to ask for it?” Pooja asked.
 
“We can give it a shot.” Srikkanth said.
 
“What are you guys talking about?” I asked.
 
“In case of emergency situations, we have the rights to ask for a helicopter. I can ask my higher authorities for one.” She said.
 
“That’s awesome. I seriously owe you guys one.” I said delightedly.
 
“Wait a minute. I will just make a call and come.” She said.
 
She came back in ten minutes. She was showing thumbs up sign. We finished breakfast in another ten minutes and started our journey to Noida.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EPISODE 31
“I am sure there will be people to monitor us in the railway station. So once after we save shiva…” I stopped, my cell phone was ringing. I picked up the call.
 
“How can you be so sure of saving him? So you don’t want to save your girlfriend. She’s waiting and hoping hard for someone to turn up and still you’re not obliging. Too bad MrRaghav” and the call ended.
 
I didn’t know what to speak. “Hey, what happened?” Srikkanth asked.
 
I didn’t reply. I just typed a message in my mobile.
 
He only called. He is still tracking us down. I don’t know how. So henceforth we will type messages and show it to each other. Okay?
 
I showed the message to him and he erased it and typed ‘Okay’.
 
I immediately tried calling Shiva’s mobile but it was switched off.
 
I typed ‘People will be monitoring us at the station. So we need to be very careful. Shiva’s mobile is switched off. He is not aware of anything and he doesn’t know that we are coming. He can recognize only me. I will give you one passport photo of him and myself. The photo we took after graduation. Keep it for identity. We will buy a purdha in a costume shop near the railway station. Once we see him we will take him to the restroom and put the purdha. Then we will bring him to the car. Fine with the plan. Show it to Pooja also.’
 
Srikkanth read it and showed it to Pooja too. They were ready with the plan. We reached the Nizzamuddin railway station at 10:00am. I have them the photo which had me and shiva. We parked the car and asked Pooja to get the purdha. She came back in ten minutes. It was 10:10am. The train was about to arrive on platform 7. It was 10:15 am.
 
In which class shiva would come? Surely A/C or sleeper class.’
 
I sent a message to Pooja – Pooja please wait near sleeper class, manage from S1-S5. I will manage A/C class and Srikkanth will look after sleeper class S6 – S10.
 
Then I sent a message to Srikkanth – Srik you have to manage from sleeper class S6 – S10. Pooja S1 – S5 and I will take care of the A/C classes.
 
They were standing at the respective places. It was 10:25am. I was standing outside a newspaper mart. I bought one newspaper and sat on the bench nearby. I opened the newspaper and covered my face. It was 10:27am. ‘Still three minutes.’ I thought.
 
I saw a person one the passage connecting two platforms. Another was standing near a PCO booth. The platform was unusually lonely. It was 10:28am. The train was visible at the start of the bus stand.
 
Just two minutes.’ The man near the PCO came out and he looked around. I covered myself with a newspaper. He was looking at a sheet. ‘Maybe it’s Shiva’s photo. But how did he get it?’ I wondered.
 
It was 10:30am and the train stopped at the platform.
 

MINUTE 1
Passengers started coming out and in no time the platform was busy with caterers selling food, porters bargaining, etc. The crowd was too much for the three of us to manage. For a moment I looked at the man on the top. He was gone. I was shocked. I looked anxiously for shiva but no sign of him.
 

MINUTE 2
There was still no sign of Shiva and the man near PCO booth was also missing. Instead of looking for Shiva, I looked for them. I saw them getting into the train. I tried calling Shiva’s mobile. But still it was switched off.
 

MINUTE 3
I was becoming restless and I sent a message to Pooja and Srikkanth: I am going to search inside the train. I went inside the A/C coach.  I got into the first A/C compartment.
 

MINUTE 4
I rushed through the passengers looking for shiva. I went into the second compartment. Still no luck. Shiva was not there. There were totally six compartments. The two men got in through the fourth compartment. I quickly ran towards the third compartment. I saw the guy near the PCO booth coming towards me.
 

MINUTE 5
I was totally clueless. I slipped into the restroom and sent a message to Pooja and Srikkanth ‘Please search inside the train’. I waited there for a minute.
 

MINUTE 6
I came out of the restroom and got down the train and ran towards the sleeper coach S6. Just as I entered, the PCO man was coming near the exit. Just as I was about to enter, he noticed me. I entered the train and stood near the restroom. He was running towards me. I took support of the two handles, lifted myself and gave him a powerful kick boxer’s kick on his face. He fell on the ground.
 

MINUTE 7

 

The other guy saw me, I opened the restroom door and went into the opposite restroom. I fetched some water in a mug in the restroom. When he came near, I poured the water in his face. Before he could wipe his face I pushed him in the opposite restroom and locked the door.
At that instant, I received a message. ‘Shiva and I are waiting in the cloak room. He’s covered with purdha. You and Srikkanth come here.’
 
I replied, ‘You go to the car park and meet me at the NDTV office. I will come with Srikkanth.’
 
She replied ‘Okay.’
 
I immediately called Srikkanth and asked him to wait near the entrance of the railway station. In five minutes, me and Srikkanth were on our way to NDTV office.
 
‘Everything is fine till now. They can trace us as everything is through messages and not vocal interaction.’
 
We reached NDTV office at 11:15am. I ran towards shiva and embraced him with a hug. ‘Nice to have you back’ I thought.
 
“What’s happening da?” He asked.
 
“No time, Shiva. We need to go now. Will tell you all details. Just follow me.” I said in a hurry.
 
“Okay.” He said.
 
Then all four of us went to the terrace of the NDTV office where the helicopter was ready to take off.
 
“Helicopter? Where? Why?” Shiva asked.
 
“Just get in shiva. Raghav will explain.” Pooja said.
 
Pooja was also about to get into the helicopter when I called her and spoke to Pooja and Srikkanth. Pooja I want you to inform the police in Lucknow once we reach there. Srikkanth, myself and Shiva will go to the place. Mostly he would want me to come alone but still let’s see. They said the plan was fine.
 
They got into the copter. I received a call. I knew it was him. I attended the call.
 
“Hello…” I said.
 
“Hi, we are calling from **** Bank. We are offering you a credit…” The voice said.
 
I cut the call. ‘Man these guys never stop though we activate the Do Not Disturb facility.’
 
I got into the copter. It took off and in no time we were flying towards Lucknow.
 
“Raghav, what’s going on here?” Shiva asked.
 
I explained the entire story right from the day he left Noida, me getting blank call, funeral rights, insurance company money, me getting stabbed, investigation, small boy getting murdered, mansoor missing, me checking out of the hotel, the challenge, staying in the old man’s place, anushka in the next room, conversations between me and “the voice”, getting sedated, meeting Pooja and Srikkanth, saving you and boarding the copter.
 
Srikkanth and Pooja also looked shocked.
 
“Oh my god. I never thought it would be so serious. Who is doing all this?” Shiva asked.
 
“We’ll get the answer soon Shiva. But before that I need to ask you something.” I said.
 
“Yes please.” Shiva said.
 
“What happened to you after you started in the car to the travel agency? Please tell in detail.” I asked.
 
“Fine. I was going with the Mr.Patel’s driver when the car suddenly stopped. So I called mansoor and asked him to come over to the place where the car broke down. When he came, all three of us went to the travel agency. I was so tensed. After getting the ticket, Mr.Patel’s driver told that he had to go to the function hall. I thanked him and me and mansoor started going towards the airport. That’s it.” Shiva said.
 
“That’s it? Are you sure? Any conversations between u and Mansoor?” I asked.
 
“Nothing significant I guess.” Shiva said.
 
“That’s okay please try to remember the convo and tell it in detail.” I said.
 
He thought for a moment and then continued “He told that I needed to be calm and tackle the situation and he also suggested that we talk about something else so that I get diverted. I said fine and then he asked about our college life and how we became friends. He was telling that his younger brother was searching for a job and he asked for my help. He asked my phone number. We were nearing my airport, in a hurry I gave my old visiting card having my old number. I realised that only after checking in.” He said.
 
“Anything else?” I asked.
 
“Oh yes, he also asked for my photo as a remembrance.” He said.
 
“Oh fine. Now I understand. How was your cell switched off?”I asked.
 
“I had received a call this morning from customer care. They told that they are updating my number for 3G and asked me to switch my mobile for 3 hours. Initially I said no. But then they told that I can do video conferencing. Lavi already had 3G so I thought I could activate it in order to speak to her.” Shiva said.
“That explains almost everything. Very cleverly planned.” Pooja said.
 
“We have to be careful hereon.” Srikkanth said.
 
“Yes, Shiva listen up. They used your number to message me and invoke a doubt upon you. They were planning to kill you in 7 minutes after the train arrived at the platform. They called you and fooled you as customer care so that I can’t reach you. You gave your old number to Mansoor with which they sent an sms through the internet I guess. That was to mislead me. You also your photo, that’s why two men were searching to kill you in the station. Thank god we came on time. Now “the voice” has challenged us to be in Lucknow by 12:30pm or else Anushka will be killed and that’s why we are going there.” I said and took a breath.
 
Shiva was dumbstruck. He couldn’t speak anything. He couldn’t believe the series of events that had happened so suddenly.
 
I am getting closer to you Anushka. Am coming.’
 
We arrived at Lucknow at 12:15pm.
 
 What happens Next?? Wait and Watch 🙂
 
 
 EPISODE 32

 

We reached the terrace of NDTV office in Lucknow. We had no time and I was awaiting a call from “the voice.” He had not informed me as to where I should come or any other details. It was 12:20pm. Still no call.

 

It became 12:22pm and my phone ringed. “Hello…” I said.

 

“Hello Mr.Raghav, You seemed to be very restless waiting for my call ever since you landed on the terrace of NDTV office.”

 

I looked around but I couldn’t notice anyone talking over the phone. It was as though someone was around me always giving information about me.

 

The voice continued, “I don’t know how you get help from the right people always. Anyways now coming to the point, I don’t want you to come alone. You would have expected me to ask you to come alone but no. You have to come with your friendsss. Let’s see how far they can help you TO YOUR END.”

 

“Where should I come?” I asked.

 

“I want you to come to a storehouse at the starting of the highway in Lucknow out skirts.” The voice said.

 

“Okay, I will come. Don’t harm her. I will give you anything you want.” I said.

 

“I already told you that I have got everything I want. I just want you to see your girlfriend dead in front of your eyes and then I will kill you too. Please don’t waste my time. Come fast.” The voice said.

 

“Fine. I will be there in an hour.” I said.

 

“Mr.Raghav I am not requesting you to come, I am the one in order here. You are coming here in 37 minutes.” The voice ordered.

 

“But…” I said.

 

The call ended.

 

I told Shiva, Srikkanth, Pooja about the phone conversation. They were shocked. They immediately suggested us to leave. The NDTV office had arranged a cab for us. I was sitting in the front while others were sitting at the back. I opened the dashboard and I saw A THING.

 

‘This might be useful to me.’ I thought. I took it and kept it in my inside pocket. We were going in a hurry.

 

‘I don’t know what’s going to happen but am just going.’ I thought.

 

Inside me my heart was beating hard. I felt that something is going to happen to me and I felt so uncomfortable. I thought I should speak to my mother once. I asked the driver to stop the car. He stopped and I got down. Others were confused as to why I got down. I told them that I wanted to make a call to my mother.

 

I made a call. Then only I remembered mom telling that the phone was out of order because of high bill and that the cell phone connections were also disconnected. I felt very sick.

 

At that moment, my cell phone ringed. I attended the call.

 

“Hi jillu…”

 

“Mom… I love you soo much…” I exclaimed.

 

“Are you doing fine? The phone is still not fine. They have not resumed the service even after paying the amount.“ She said.

 

“I am okay mom. Wanna come over there and hug you tight. I am happy that you called me now.” I said.

 

“What happened jillu? What are the updates?” She asked.

 

“I am sorry mom. I am in an intricate situation and can’t explain right now. I will surely call you in sometime.” I said

 

‘If I am alive, of course.’ I thought.

 

“Okay jillu. Call me at Sindhu aunty’s number. I will be with her till late evening. Okay?”  She asked.

 

“Okay mom. Please convey my regards to dad and bro. I am very lucky to be born in this family. Love you mom. Tell dad and bro that I love them too.” I said.

“Jillu I love you too. Come here soon with my daughter in law.” She said.

 

“Hmmm okay mom. Bye.” I said and cut the call.

 

‘I didn’t tell her anything still hearing her voice did me a great world of good. That’s the power of mother I guess.’ I thought.

 

I then made another call.

 

I got into the car and then in exactly 25 minutes we reached the outskirts of Lucknow. I got a call.

 

“I guess you have reached the storehouse. I want you to come through the back entrance and wait outside.” The voice said and the call ended.

 

The storehouse was spread around 2km radius. I got to know that it was a manufacturing unit of General Motors decades ago and then they had shut down the plant. The information was given by Pooja. ‘She’s highly knowledgeable.’ I thought.

 

It took me around ten minutes to search and reach the back entrance of the storehouse. My cell phone ringed, I attended the call. “Hell.. Hello…” I said.

 

“I guess you have reached the entrance too. You keep up time very well Mr.Raghav at least this time as you have no other choice.” The voice said.

 

“Okay, tell me what I should do.”

 

“There is a security password lock at the entrance. Just press the keys I tell you now. It’s 7777. You must be wondering why it’s four 7’s. It because of the four 7-minute challenges I gave to you. Come in and you can see me.” The voice said and the call ended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EPISODE 33

 

I told the others about the conversation and they acted differently. They acted as if they were afraid of the consequences. They asked me to proceed through the door.

 

I slowly moved towards the door. My hand was trembling. I slowly moved my hands and typed the password 7777 and the shutter opened up slowly. I clicked THE THING in my inside pocket.

 

I went in first. Following me came Shiva, Srikkanth and Pooja. I went inside slowly. It was so dark and I could not see anyone. We went in further and the shutter started closing. No one spoke a word. Suddenly we heard the voice saying “Welcome Mr.Raghav, I appreciate your perseverance. Though through many hurdles you have come a long way. I have many things to discuss with you.”

 

“So do I. First let me see my Anu.” I said.

 

“There are protocols for that Mr.Raghav.” He said.

 

‘Protocols? What the hell are those?’ I thought.  

 

I kept quiet.

 

“Now there are six lights beside me. For every ten seconds I talk one light will switch on and you can see me partially. But before that I want you to see my colleague.” The voice said.

 

He switched on a light near the shutter. We all turned back. I was shocked to see him. It was Mansoor.

 

“Mansoor, it’s you! I trusted you so much.” I said.

 

“Don’t get tensed Mr.Raghav, you still have more shocks. Time starts now. At the end of 60 seconds you will able to see me.”

 

“Let me start from the beginning. First Mr. & Mrs.Patel’s and of course Rahul’s murder. You must thankful to me that Rahul was killed. That gave you a chance towards your girlfriend.”

 

Ten seconds over. First light glowed. I was able to see his foot.

 

The voice continued,” I really loved Anushka so much. Though my character was not so good, I wanted to marry her and settle in life. That’s the main reason I came to Noida and joined in Mr.Patel’s super market. As soon as I joined, she left to Bangalore for her job. I got so depressed and it made me very mad. I went to Bangalore every weekend to see her. Then I came to know that you were in love with her.”

 

Twenty seconds over. Second Light glowed. I was able to see till his knees.

 

The voice continued, “ It was very easy to pull A PERSON YOU KNOW. The reason was Mr.Patel’s assets. Myself and the PERSON YOU KNOW charted a plan. You must be wondering how we got all the information regarding you and your friend. It’s only because of my Partner. Or should I say Partners. You must be wondering who are the others.

 

Thirty seconds over. Third Light glowed. I was able to see till his Thighs.

 

The voice continued, “Well, many of them in my team are the people who betrayed you. For example, Mansoor. It was very easy to pull him in our team. Just a job in your IT company was enough. How was that possible?”

 

Forty seconds over. Fourth Light glowed. I was able to see till his hip.

 

The voice continued, “Then Anushka’s marriage was fixed. I was in rage. Mr.Patel’s family was to go to worship their family deity. I somehow managed to separate Anushka from her parents. You want to know how? By bribing the function hall manager and asking him to lie that the marriage hall needed a lot of arrangements asking Mr. & Mrs. Patel to stay back.”

 

Fifty seconds over. Fifth Light glowed. I was able to see till his chest.

 

The voice continued, “Then I kidnapped Anu, poisoned the dokhla through the cook and sent it through the boy. Once you started digging everything we killed the boy. What was the reason that you got traced? It’s not only the buttons in your shirt that we noted all your conversations and movements. Before you discovered the buttons, we heard you and Pooja talking about picking up Srikkanth in the highway. Then we decided to keep a transmitter in the car. We had people to update us in every 10km. It’s  also that when u picked up Srikkanth in the highway, remember that you saw an old lady, she fixed a powerful transmitter in the car.“

 

Sixty seconds over. Sixth Light glowed. I was able to see till his face. But he was seeing the opposite side.

 

The voice continued, ” You will see my face after I finish everything. I lured Mansoor into the team after he investigated in the super market. Then he got Shiva’s number and photo. We sent a message to sprinkle a doubt on him and tried to kill him. But you trusted your friend. The old man’s murder was because he allowed you to stay there in the hideout, which was a total coincidence. His house was monitored and that’s how we got to know that you were there.”

 

“The money from the insurance company will be sent today evening. I am going to France tonight. Everything is ready. I just have to finish Anushka and you. All i had to do is put her sign. I tried to convince her but she didn’t budge. She was mad at me. She fell unconscious. We had to call a doctor. While getting the doctor, our car broke down. That’s when we saw Srikkanth beat him up and took the car. He was tied up in Shop No.9 where you got stabbed. Then who is the shawl guy? Well you will get to know that also.”

 

The voice continued, “I was telling all this on behalf of my boss. I am not the person who loved Anushka. I was once upon a time YOUR BOSS.”

 

He turned back slowly and the light flashed on his face.

“ABHILASH…” I said.

 

“Yes, Mr.Raghav. I have one more shock for you. Turn Back.”

 

I turned back and someone hit me with a hockey stick. I fell down and my vision was getting blurred. When I last saw, it was Mansoor holding the stick.

 

 

What happens Next?? Wait and Watch 🙂

 

Monday climax 🙂 Have a great weekend 🙂

 Hi guys,

 

First and foremost, I want to clarify one thing. All the events right from the old man’s murder till now are taking place on DAY 16. That’s why I haven’t Mentioned any day count.

 

As another person asked “Why hasn’t raghav changed his clothes till the discovery of camera and transmitter in his shirt?”

 

For that the reason is – His life as well as anu’s life is in danger and that he had vacated his room, he has been running for his life without any time. He didn’t have time to even take bath or anything. I haven’t mentioned anything like even eating also. Then why target him not changing his clothes alone?? 😉

 

EPISODE 34

 

I struggled hard to get up and stand. When I stood up, Mansoor was still holding the stick. He lifted the stick to hit me again, when Abhilash interrupted and said “No, stop. He should not die without seeing his girlfriend dying.”

 

“But before that, he has to know something else. His true friends. Even after you found the camera, transmitter in your button and even after you came out of the car, how did I get information about you? Have you ever thought about this?”

 

I just shook my head.

 

“The only problem is that you believe people a lot. You have done nothing but believing everybody that you’ve met Mr.Raghav.” Abhi said.

 

He continued, “Before you and her die I want you to know what happened and what mistakes you did Mr.Raghav.”

 

I just stood there without uttering a word.

 

“Firstly, I would like to introduce my boss to you. The brain behind all plans, Mr.Joseph Bharani.” Abhi said.

 

A light switched on and there was a man standing. ‘The shawl guy’ I thought. He came near and said “Your girl… Am sorry, my girlfriend is in the storeroom near the front side entrance. So you’re the person who is causing a lot of trouble by trying to solve the mystery?” He asked.

 

“Yes, it’s him. He’s a perseverant guy.” Abhi said.

“Fine now that you have met him. Let me tell you the reality.” The voice said.

 

“Everything Abhi told you sometime back was true. I was really madly in love with anushka. I knew everything about her and her family. Her father trusted and liked me a lot. I wanted to marry Anushka. When I told this to her, she totally disregarded and insulted me. I tried many times to convince her but all my efforts went in vain and she insulted me more. I got really possessive on her. She got transferred to Bangalore. I didn’t know what to do. I went to Bangalore every weekend to see her. Then one day, I came to know that marriage was fixed for her. Mr.Patel always kept his personal things with himself. When I came to know, I went and confessed to him that I loved anu and wanted to marry her. He totally degraded me by saying that I didn’t have any money or assets. He insulted me a lot. I realised I could never get Anu. Then only I charted the plan. The next weekend when I came to Bangalore, I got to know about you and your love towards her. I was furious. I wanted to know details of you. I met Abhilash that time. I approached him as a news reporter and asked him questions. I learnt that he was not interested in working in software and wanted to start a pharma company. He also told that he had around 10 people around him. I got details of everyone and especially you and shiva. That evening, I met him at his place and told my plan. He was initially reluctant but when I said that I could sponsor his pharma company, he was fine with it. Next I knew I had to do something to stop her marriage.” Joseph took a pause.

 

Joseph continued,” Luck favoured me a lot and Mr.Patel’s family was about to go to their hometown to worship their deity. I joined them. Mr.Patel thought I had turned into a new leaf and he accepted me coming with their family. I had bribed the function hall manager and asked him to call Mr.Patel and tell that there are lots of design work to be done for which Mr. & Mrs. Patel need to be available. Mr.Patel believed it and he and his wife went to the marriage hall. Mr.Patel asked me to take Anu to their hometown.”

 

I stood there thinking ‘It will be over soon, just some more time.’

 

Joseph continued “I took her to their hometown. There were just three days for the marriage and I had to do something. After worshipping their deity, Anu wanted to return the same day. I thought of a plan. I brought Anushka back to Noida but instead of taking her to the function hall, I kidnapped her and locked her behind the railway station at shop no. 9. Then I went to the marriage hall in disguise. Since Abhi was interested in pharma, I had asked him about a chemical that will cause heart attack instantly. I mixed tri cholor tetra acetate in the dokhla. The marriage hall manager helped me with that. He sent it though a small boy to Rahul and the patel’s. I started to leave and that’s when I saw you entering the marriage hall. Remember me wearing a shawl?”

 

I stood there shocked.

 

Joseph continued “It took us half an hour to brainwash Mansoor, we got him a job at your software company with help of Abhi. Then remember shiva getting a call stating that his dad had an attack? You had sent him with Mr.Patel’s driver. Then I telephoned the driver asking him to come back to the marriage hall. That’s when shiva called Mansoor. Then Mansoor getting his phone and the photo was true.”

 

“Then I went back to shop no.9 and I waited for a day for a good news.” Joseph said.

 

Abhi continued,“ You want to know what that was. Well here goes, once shiva reached his home, he would have been surprised to see his dad in perfect health. But I was there. When he met me, he was shocked. I had made that call to him. I got all the details about you by blackmailing him that I would harm his parents. Ultimately he fell for it. He gave me all your details right from your phone numbers to all your movements and plans in Noida. He had become a part of our gang.”

 

‘Shiva, you too?’ I thought. I never expected this and I was in total shock. Shiva looked down with disappointment.

 

Abhi continued,” Then the next day after the insurance company people came over and told you about the insurance money, how do you think I called immediately? “

 

I looked over to Mansoor.

 

“Yes, you’re right but very late. Mansoor had updated me everything. Then I called you to meet the next day. That day night we sedated and shifted Anushka to the old man’s place. The next day when you came over to shop no. 9 you met Srikkanth. He had told you about 4 guys and a girl right? All those were false. We wanted someone to be in constant touch with you. So we arranged Srikkanth. We tied him up and you released him. Everything you spoke with him was monitored through CCTV camera which u noticed. Once Srikkanth left, I realised that you had recorded my voice and tried to escape. That’s when I came though the back entrance and we met the second time. Though it was unnecessary, I stabbed you. Then we only took you to Srikkanth’s place after you were unconscious. Then we sent Mansoor to monitor the old man’s place. Srikkanth sedated you and then cooked up stories that he had brought you there. Then as expected, when had asked you what happened you told him. We had instructed Srikkanth to give you a sedative tablet in case of pain. That sedative would make you feel drowsy and would reduce your vision. Remember Dr.Priya? She is also part of our team. She was becoming too greedy for her share and we had to kill her. You had asked a doubt in askthedoctor.com <http://askthedoctor.com/>  right? How did she get to know about it? Remember that a doctor called you to tell that Mr.Patel was out of danger when you were typing? He was a known doctor of mine. He told us that you had posted a doubt on the site. We assumed that you would believe women more than men and then we arranged for Priya and asked her to give you a clue about tri chloro tetra acetate. You fell for it again. Then we asked the doctor to tell you to collect the post mortem report. When you left Srikkanth’s place he had telephoned me to keep me updated and he had told me that the sedative tablet will take care of you.”

 

‘He had lied to me, a perfect traitor. But why did he help me now? Anyways just some more time it will be over. ’ I thought.

Abhi continued, “When you came to the hospital to collect the reports we deliberately lured to meet Dr.Priya and later he injected you with a powerful sedative. The main motive of that was to keep you away till we completed all the insurance money formalities with Anu. All we needed was her sign. She was not ready to put it. Only when we black-mailed her that we would kill you, she agreed and signed.”

 

‘Why should she bother about me?’ I thought.

 

Abhi continued, “ You were constantly monitored in Priya’s place. That night once I gave you the challenge of escaping, Priya had called me. She had somehow got to know about the insurance money and she had black mailed to get a bigger share. We had to kill her. You started finding clues and slowly started nearing us. After you went to the marriage hall and enquired about the small guy, we had no option but to poison him. Then the old man’s house. Once you came there, Mansoor informed us. We were shocked to hear that you were there. Joseph immediately came there, locked your door from outside and we transported anushka to Lucknow. Mansoor removed the battery wire from your car. We took time from you by threatening to kill shiva in Noida. We thought you would be in a fix. But you were brave and perseverant enough. Once you escaped from Priya’s place, remember those 7 minutes it was to make Pooja ready to give you a lift. Once you entered the car, she had telephoned me and we heard all your conversations and plans. Once you picked up Srikkanth,  we wanted you to believe them completely and that was the reason they showed the camera and the transmitter to you. Ultimately you believed them and they were only messaging all your movements and plans. We wanted you to doubt shiva because of the messages and I also sent you a message to divert and traffic your mind. But you were clever enough to understand the difference in numbers and find the fault. Shiva, Srikkanth and Pooja were all from my team and that’s why you could save shiva in the first place. I got to know from Pooja that you were to come here by copter. Once you reached, Srikkanth texted me and then I called you.” He said.

 

I looked over to them, ‘I never did anything wrong to you guys. Still why?’

“You want to know how we pulled Pooja and Srikkanth into our team?” Joseph asked.

 

“They were with me from school. They knew my feelings for Anushka and they knew I would also get money from her. I promised them 20% of the money and they accepted. Everybody needs money Mr.Raghav. The only thing that was difficult was to convince your friend shiva.” Joseph said.

 

“Yes, but he couldn’t do anything when his father’s life was at stake. Then we asked him to go to your home and get your address proof from your mom saying that they had asked it in the company.  She gave it. Using VOIP technology, we dialled international phone numbers to hike your landline bill. You would have known about the recent government regulations of submitting address proof for your cell phone connections. Shiva also went to BSNL store to give address proof. Since all your cell phone connections were belonging to old address, when we gave additional address proof it didn’t match and that’s why they suspended the connection. Ultimately you couldn’t contact your home. We must thank Shiva for the successful execution of it.” Abhi said.

 

‘Don’t know jillu, fishy things have been going on. Our landline bill has shooted up to Rs.19000 and no one knows why. They have barred the service. Even the mobile phone service has been barred for all three of us. It seems our address proof is not valid. Thank god your phone number is fine.’

 

‘Mom missed telling me that shiva came home. Maybe she also believed him. But poor guy, he couldn’t have done anything. If I were in his situation even I might have done the same.’ I thought.

 

My mobile phone vibrated. ‘Yes, it’s gonna be over now.’

 

“So finally and safely Pooja, Srikkanth and Shiva had brought you here. Now first anushka would be executed and then you will be killed. We have already informed the insurance people that anushka is leaving town this afternoon. They said they are okay with it and will render the money to Joseph today evening. All our dreams will become true.” Abhi said.

“Remember the time when I called you and said that we have finished all the work with anu and that she was delicious?” Abhi asked.

 

I nodded my head with an anxiety of what could have happened.

 

Abhi continued, “Anu was hearing it and when you refused to believe it, She started crying with happiness. At that instant, we understood that she had fallen in love with you. That’s when we black-mailed her to sign the insurance papers. Now we will kill Anushka in front of you and then kill you also.”

 

“Bring her here.” Joseph ordered Mansoor.

 

Mansoor started walking towards the storeroom where anushka had been kept. Two minutes passed by.

 

 

EPISODE 35

 

Mansoor came running, “She’s missing.” He said.

 

“What??” Joseph and Abhi exclaimed.

 

“Did u search properly?” Joseph asked.

 

“Yes, I did.” Mansoor said.

 

Abhi and Mansoor went in running. Two minutes passed by. Then abhi came out and said “Can all of you come here? We have a problem.”

 

All of us started walking towards the store room. ‘It’s over.’ I thought.

 

Just as we entered the room, a group of policemen surrounded every one of us. “Hi inspector, I only called you.” I said.

 

Everyone including shiva looked shocked. No one had expected this twist.

 

“These are the people who had kidnapped the girl.” I said.

 

The inspector pulled Anushka from behind him and said “The girl is safe and you’re all under arrest.”

“What the hell is going on?” Joseph shouted.

 

“No point shouting now. Why do you think I was patiently listening to you both all this while? Now let me do the talking.” I said.

 

“First and foremost, you can’t escape as I am wired. I recorded the entire conversation we had here.” I said and handed the recorder to the inspector.

 

“I got this recorder in the dashboard of the car while coming from NDTV office to here. I had kept it in my inside pocket. Before entering this place itself I clicked it on.” I said.

 

(QUOTE FOR PROOF)

 

‘I clicked THE THING in my inside pocket.’

 

“You all must be wondering how the police came here? Well, I will explain that too. Pooja and Srikkanth you remember that I had stopped the car to call my mom. After I got down, I saw my mobile. I had received a message from shiva but I ignored it, I was talking to my mom. After I finished talking, I saw the message. It read:

 

‘I am sorry raghav, I betrayed you. You’re in trouble. Everything is planned. Pooja and Srikkanth are part of the plan. Be careful. They’re going to kill you and Anu. She is in the room at the front entrance of the place. I can’t type more than this. I am in great risk.’

 

After I read the message, I looked at Shiva and he nodded his head. Then I called the police.” I said.

 

(QUOTE FOR PROOF)

‘I didn’t tell her anything still hearing her voice did me a great world of good. That’s the power of mother I guess.’ I thought.

 

I then made another call.

“In the call, I asked the policemen to line up the place after 45 minutes of the call. I got the inspector’s number. After I got into the car, I forwarded shiva’s message to the inspector. He knew where anu was and he rescued her.”

 

“I just want you to remember one thing in life Mr.Abhilash and Mr.Jospeh Bharani, TRUE FRIENDS WILL NEVER BETRAY. When shiva told me about the switching off the cell phone for 3 G update itself I knew that it was a lie. I know my friend well and I trust him a lot.” I said and went over to shiva.

 

“I am sorry Raghav. I didn’t have a choice.” Shiva said.

 

“No prob Shiva, even if I was in your situation I would have done the same.” I said.

 

“I am sure you wouldn’t have done the same.” Shiva said.

 

I smiled at him and turned to the inspector, “Thanks a lot inspector.”

 

“I did my duty. You have to come to the police station to finish the formalities. Constables, arrest them.” Inspector ordered.

 

They were arrested and they were moved towards the police van. Shiva, myself and my Anushka were standing there. She was looking totally worn out and distressed. I went near her.

 

“Hi, I am Raghav. First time I am talking to you.” I gasped to breathe. ‘I love you. I love you so much Anu.’ I thought.

 

She never said anything. She just turned and walked back towards the exit.

 

I could understand her situation. I could only save her and I didn’t know how to make her recover from the loss of her family. If it had been a natural death it would be fine but it was a cold blooded murder of her parents and would be. ‘It’s tough, very tough.’ I thought.

 

The three of us hired a car and started towards the police station. While travelling she leaned on my shoulders and dozed off. I could feel the mountains of love I had for her at that moment. ‘She needs someone to take care of her. I promise to take extraordinary care of you Anu.’ I thought.

 

We reached the police station and I woke her up. She didn’t speak anything. We finished the formalities by evening and we three of us went to her place. The minute she entered her house she started crying like hell. All the pain in her heart was in the form of tears as she cried out aloud. Shiva started to go near her when I stopped him and said, “Leave her Shiva, she has to cry now or else it will affect her mentally.”

 

I called Sindhu aunty and spoke to my mom.  She had told me that she would be with Sindhu aunty till late evening. I spoke to my mom and told her everything. She asked me to bring Anu home. I didn’t know what to tell as I didn’t know what anu’s reaction would be.

 

That evening the insurance company people came over to the police station. The inspector had called me over to the police station. Shiva and Anu accompanied me. The document formalities were done in the station and they handed over the money to Anu. She just had a look at the documents and gave a ‘who wants this anymore?’ look.

 

We went back hom. Shiva had bought food for dinner. Anu refused to eat. All three of us didn’t eat that day.

 

(A FEW DAYS LATER)

 

DAY 21

 

Abhilash, Joseph Bharani, Pooja, Srikkanth, Mansoor were taken to the court and they were found guilty. They were charged with murder, kidnapping, bribery and blackmailing and their corresponding penal code charges.

 

Joseph Bharani, Abhilash were the main accused and they were sentenced to death.

 

Pooja, Srikkanth and Mansoor though they didn’t murder anyone were sentenced to life imprisonment.

 

The media had brought to light with all news headlines reading

 ‘IT employee, Man and 2 news reporters killed a family and kidnapped the girl. Mystery solved by 2 other IT employees of the same company.’

 

(A FEW DAYS LATER)

 

DAY 25

 

Anushka had given her assets to her relatives. She had given her lands, property and her supermarket to her relatives. She had the insurance money alone. I had gathered all courage to ask her to come to my home and to my surprise she said fine.

 

DAY 26

 

The next day we wrapped off everything in Noida and the three of us started to Chennai. In the train also Anushka didn’t speak much to me nor to shiva.

 

 

DAY 27

 

TRAVEL

 

DAY 28

 

We reached Chennai and shiva went over to his place. My whole family was very happy and relieved to see me and Anushka back and safe. My mother took aarathi for her and my dad welcomed her. My mom kissed her on her forehead. I could see whiskers of happiness in her eyes. My brother had gone on site for his project work. Mom told her that she could rest in my bedroom. She went to my bedroom and dozed off. That night mom took dinner to her bedroom.

 

She woke her up and they were having some conversation. When mom came down I was happy to know that she had her dinner.

 

DAY 29

 

I resigned my job well before my Last working day. Since I resigned early, I decided to depart to the US early.  I blocked my ticket on the date which was supposed to be the Last working day. That is the 50th day.

 

That day morning I was booking the date for my Visa interview. After booking I went over to the bank and arranged for the documents. Anushka was at home with my mom. Mom was showing her old photo albums. I entered the home that evening when my mom was narrating an awful experience of mine.

 

“You know Anu.” My mom said, “Raghav used to wet his bed till his 8th standard. I can still remember this photo when he said he had a dream.” She was pointing out to a photo which had me in a trouser which was wet.

 

“What dream?” Anushka asked.

 

“Well, he was in 4th standard. One day his school received a bomb threat and in the end it was declared as a rumour. That night he had a dream that the bomb squad was entering the school. Everybody was being evacuated and our hero urgently wanted to go for a bio-break. There was only five minutes for the bomb to burst and hero was going to the toilet when the police man stopped and asked him to go to the playground where everyone had assembled. But our hero said that he will help inspector. The funniest part is that the inspector agreed and they started searching together. Then there came a Y-shaped passage, at that time hero said to inspector that he will take the left side of the passage and the inspector should take the right side. The inspector agreed. They departed sides. There was still 2 minutes for the bomb to burst. Hero went past a restroom when he thought he had 2 minutes so he went inside the restroom to have a leak. He was going, going and going and at the end he had wet his pant and the bed. It was a dream. He came and told this story to all of us and that’s when we took this pic.” Mom said.

Anushka started laughing so much. It was beautiful to see her smile first time after the catastrophe.

 

“Mom, why are you insulting me?“ I entered and asked.

 

“There’s nothing to embarrass. She’s our Anu.” Mom said.

 

Just as she said that anu went straight into the room. That night mom slept with her.

 

DAY 35

 

It was a crucial day for me. It was my visa interview. Everyone at home except anu wished me good luck. I was slightly sad. I didn’t know why she didn’t talk with me at all. Not even a word. I waited at the US embassy near mount road in Chennai. I waited for my turn and finally I was called.

 

“Hello, Mr.Raghav…” The interviewer said.

 

‘Mr.Raghav?? The words and incidents flashed my mind.’

 

“Mr.Raghav…” He said again.

 

“Oh sorry. Good morning.” I said.

 

“Good morning Mr.Raghav. To which university are you going?” He asked.

 

“University of Cincinnatti.” I said.

 

“Do you wish to settled down at US or return back to India?” He asked.

 

“I will come back to India within three years. I want to stay with my family and take care of them.” I said confidently.

 

“Congratulations. You will receive your passport in a week.” He said.

“Thank you sir. Thanks a lot.” I said.

 

That day evening we had a gathering with all family members. My father and mother introduced Anushka to everyone and all of them liked her instantly.

 

DAY 36 – 40

 

I was busy with shopping, I had to leave in 2 weeks from now. I had to buy utensils, clothes, other commodities, etc.

 

(A FEW DAYS LATER)

 

DAY 40 – 45

 

Both Shiva and Anushka had resigned our jobs. Anushka and Shiva later got jobs in another IT company. Shiva was posted in Bangalore again and Anushka got posted in Hyderabad. Anuskha didn’t tell me anything. She just spoke to mom and dad and she left. I was so dejected and passing the days was horrible. I came to know from mom that she had settled in a hostel in Hyderabad and is getting along with the job well. She was to come here for the weekend. I couldn’t speak to either mom or dad as to what I should do with Anushka. Neither did my parents speak.

 

DAY 48

 

Anushka came over for the weekend. I smiled at her but no response. ‘What’s happening? Why is she doing like this?’ I thought.

 

Sudha, Shiva, Lavanya and Sindhu aunty came over to see me as I was leaving to the US day after. We all spoke for a long time and Sindhu aunty was very much happy with Anushka. Somehow Anushka mixed with all of them except me. The pain was worse.

 

DAY 49

 

I was all set to travel the next day. That day evening, my parents came over to me and said that they needed to talk to me. I went over to the hall. My parents, my brother and my Anushka were sitting there.

 

“Raghav, why haven’t you spoken to Anu yet?” My dad asked.

 

“No dad, she didn’t talk to me right from the day in Lucknow. As it was a great state of pain I didn’t want to disturb her. But when she could speak with everyone of you, I guess she has not yet found that comfort level with me.” I said.

 

“Nothing of that sort, Raghav.” Anushka said.

 

‘Oh my god!!! She’s telling my name for the first time!!! Wowww!!’ I was elated to the pinnacles of happiness.

 

“Then why didn’t you speak to me?” I asked.

 

“You were about to be killed. I prayed very hard for you. I wanted to hug you tight when u introduced yourself telling that this is the first time you are talking to me. But I controlled myself. I know you didn’t believe what they said about my purity. Though u didn’t believe it I didn’t know how I could face you after all these things. What if one day you ask me about it?” Anu asked.

 

I came near her and took hold of her hand and said, “Even if god comes and tells me that you’re not pure I would never believe it. I know you better than anyone else. It’s the height of love that made me come to you despite all odds. I love you Anushka and I promise to take extra ordinary care of you.” I said.

 

She didn’t reply anything. She went inside the room and came back in two minutes.

 

“I am going outside India, on site. I won’t be here for two years.” She said.

 

“What?? Where are you going?” I exclaimed.

 

My parents and bro stood up.

 

“Cincinnatti” Anu said and she came and hugged me tight. “We’ll be together always.” She said.

 

I was flying in the air. My parents hugged us and bro congratulated me. My parents and bro already knew it but they had kept quiet not to reveal the surprise.

 

Anu came near me and said “True love can’t be told. It should be felt.”

 

“Rightly said but I have been wanting to hear the three words from you.” I said

 

“I love you raghav.” She said and kissed my cheeks.

 

‘That’s it this is life at it’s best.’

 

DAY 50

 

Everyone in our family were happy with me and anu. The plan was to marry her after I graduated, till which we were to be in a live in relationship. It would be awesome. I was to leave today and Anu was to arrive in a week to Cincinnatti.

 

 

I started the journey. We got engaged a year after in India and got married the following year. The life with Anushka was awesome and I enjoyed every day with her. As planned we came back and settled in India after three years of staying in US. Anushka gave birth to twins – one boy child and one girl child. All of us live happily ever after.

 

*****************THE END******************

Source : i got this through a mail.. 

Credits to Original Author  (Raghav)

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