Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Duplicity – Chapter 11

 Team “ Writers’ Express " 









                                               Read the previous chapter 10 here 
                    
        

The silence on the other end disturbed Jennifer a bit; she checked her phone once, just to be sure that the line wasn’t disconnected.

“YES” Tara’s reply brought Jennifer back into reality.

“I tried to search Maya all by myself, the night she went missing. I got out of the hotel and started walking on the road checking with few shops/people about Maya. After a while I realized that there were three men constantly following me. I got scared like hell, taking long steps tried to reach my hotel fast as possible and eventually got lost on the streets of Delhi. An old couple who was taking a walk on the street helped me to reach my hotel that night, so I eventually called up Cyrus and decided not to do anything till he arrives. It’s better to stay safe then be prey to the leering men on the streets.”Jennifer sounded petrified.

 Actually I wanted to meet Cyrus as soon as he landed as searching for Maya was most important of all, but I could not do so as I had a prior commitment which was undone, as I had accompanied Maya to Delhi, and I could not decline in any chance “Sorry” I can’t make it would not have worked with the clients” Jennifer continued.   

“I had called Cyrus in the evening as soon as I got a speck of time from my unfinished job and we decided to meet over coffee next day morning and I wouldn’t finish my work till late night” said Jennifer. Being in the same vicinity where Cyrus lived so we thought will save on time and decide the further action plan” Jennifer tried to sound convincing.

We met at the coffee shop Cyrus was accompanied with Shailesh, and I think you all know him very well.  He is a wonderful person, Cyrus and you all are lucky to have him as a friend “added Jennifer.

“He is a Gem!” Shekhar did not need even a minute to second that.

“OK! Not deviating, we decided that first thing first, we needed to lodge a police complaint. 24 hours had passed since Maya was missing, so we were sure police would not have an issue doing that - we are all aware how stingy police procedures can get,” said Jennifer.


Tara and Shekhar responded in chorus “Yes”. Cyrus was amazed at their compatibility and how their minds worked alike. Tara did not want to intrude in between, so she let Jennifer continue without probing anything in between.

Jennifer further said, "We finished the police station formalities, but deep down we knew that police will follow their protocol systems which will take its own time. We could not wait till then hence, we decided that we will give our best shot to find Maya on our own”.

“Not a wise thing to do though,” Tara said, “But I can relate how it is when  someone so dear who is in trouble, you just can’t sit and wait for things to happen,” warmth was reflecting in Tara’s voice.

“Yes, exactly my thoughts! I could not wait for something bad to happen for Maya,” Jennifer confirmed.

“It was a difficult task on hand and none of us were detectives, but thanks to Cyrus and his “crime serials” gave us a start” replied Jennifer.

Tara and Shekhar looked at Cyrus for the first time, since the call had started. They all had a smile on their face though for a short while but it eased the tension in the house in Mumbai.

“Since Maya’s disappearance, we had been hanging on the hope that she was fine,” Cyrus added. “We needed to do something and that also immediately”, Jennifer punched in.  Tara and Shekhar were listening to the conversation in utter silence though their minds were ocean full of questions. 

Jennifer’s voice was shrill on the other end , “When I had spoken to Cyrus the day before , I had asked him to collect Maya’s photographs from a photo gallery near his residence , you know I thought if we had Maya’s pictures, it would be handy to show around to people and even for the police”. Jennifer said.

"We started our hunt from the coffee shop itself but no clue; we approached almost all the nearby shops and the vendors but no success. My mobile needed to be recharged, so I walked into a shop, recharged my phone and before I could ask the person sitting on the counter, he asked me "Madam, inko dundh rahi ho?" (Madam, are you searching for this woman?) pointing at Maya's photograph which I held. Suddenly there was ray of hope, my immediate response was "YES".

The shopkeeper said Maya had recharged her phone as well from the same shop the day she went missing. Jennifer was narrating the whole incident in one flow; there was no chance for Tara and Shekhar to feel that she was making it up.

The shopkeeper told us that Maya was very upset that she was not able to use her “Facebook”. It was now clear to me, why the day she was missing there was no update on the social site. I had completely missed to check that yet again after the day she went missing.

When I checked her Facebook account, her last post was near Rajouri Metro Station. Jennifer stated. “When we arrived near the Rajouri Metro, it was almost late evening, but we finally had some clue and a point of start. We again started the trail of search, somewhere with a hope that Maya was waiting for us; she was waiting for help,” Said Jennifer in a choked voice.

We got success, after a long day and so much of walking and searching, we stopped near an isolated lane where, an old man in his eighties, who was selling tea, slumps on crate. We ordered tea and showed him the picture of Maya; he kept staring at her, as if trying to recollect his memory and then showed us a bungalow straight at the end of the lane. He mentioned that, Maya had inquired about the bungalow to him and he had guided her to the place. His confidence did not make us think otherwise.

We were relieved, that we finally have managed to find Maya; our search had finally come to an end. We dropped the tea cups, paid the old man more than his tea, and straight headed towards the bungalow.

“We were happy but even scared, our mind was not in chorus with the heart, but three of us decided to remain shut and not let the thoughts reach the mouth .When we reached the bungalow, it was dark, no lights and we were surprised as who in this time of the season, leaves the windows, and the gallery doors open and that also at almost in the late evening. We thought we have been directed to a wrong place, blaming the memory of the old man, we turned to return." Jennifer continued, but it was Cyrus who said, ‘Why not have a look, we might just get something, or maybe we won’t but any harm in going inside,’ and we all agreed.

Shailesh was pretty scared; he had been very quite the entire day.

 “We rang the bell first couple of times with no response, we knocked the door, but yet another surprise, the door was open and with the slightest knock it slide open, we entered into the dark hall room, looked for the switchboard and Shailesh switched on the light, and what we saw next is beyond explanation” Jennifer broke into tears finally.

“ What lay near our legs was brutally murdered Maya’s body , she was stabbed on the back , her body soaked in the pool of blood, and the room smelling like copper”.

Jennifer was still crying. “I felt my breath go out of me, I was standing there still, crying and angry but Cyrus and Shailesh handled the situation. They called the police and informed about the murder site and Cyrus took some pictures with my camera, Jennifer had gathered herself by now and it was evident in her voice to Tara, Shekhar and Cyrus.

“You get hold of yourself Jenny; I hope this conversation satisfies you Shekhar Bhaiya  ... Tara Bhabhi?”  Cyrus finally broke the silence.

“Please we are so sorry, we understand and empathize with you” Tara said.

“I can understand how you are feeling right now; the loss is beyond words. Jennifer you please take good care of yourself and let us know if we could be of any help. And thank you for telling us everything,”Shekhar spoke this time and hung up.

Tara felt they had been cruel to make Jennifer go through the entire episode yet again, but they were left with no choice. “Does that make me heartless?” Tara thought for a moment.



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                                        Read the next chapter 12 here  

You can read the previous Chapters collaborated by " Writers' Express "

Chapter 1   Pawan Hegde 
Chapter 2   Partha Sadhukhan
Chapter 3  Sujata Tawde
Chapter 4   Shilpa Halwe
Chapter 5   Manjulika Pramod
Chapter 6   Shazneen Pathak
Chapter 7   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 8   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 9   Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli
Chapter 10  Partha Sadhukhan 


Me and my team are participating in the " Game of Blogs " at "Blogadda.com " #CelebratingBlogging with us 



1 comment:

Anuradha Khanna Pentapalli said...

Thank you Shaznin for taking the story ahead so wonderfully!