Jun 30, 2013

The Story of a Murder

(Previously written for contest)

With nervousness, I stepped in to the police station, when I was summoned by the officer with two stars on his shoulder. The officer, who was a gentlemen, quite unlike the policemen type whom I got acquainted through fiction, and films, flashed a hearty laugh, but covered in an alarming kind of look, as soon I was shown up.

He asked me to take a chair in front of me, which I accepted. He asked my name, and some vital information, and finally asked sharply,

“Mr. Roshan, do you know why you are here?”

I shrugged my shoulders while making a noise indicating the negative sense, by releasing my lips swiftly at the same time letting the air pass out through the slit created between the lips.

“You said you are living in a rented apartment with your half brother named Abel?”

“Not quite so,” I said, and made my point once again clear, “I ‘was’ living there till I left that place a few weeks ago…”

“Okey”, the officer interrupted. “One question, you said he was your half brother. How you both are related?”

“We both have the same father. After my mother was dead, he married again, and Abel was born”

“Okey..Okey..”, he nodded. After thinking for a few seconds, he looked at me and asked me, “And now where you are living?”

“I am not currently living in the city. I stopped the life here and decided to go back to my own past settlements”

“What does that statement mean, Mr.Roshan?” 

“Sir, I did several jobs here, and met with failure most of the times. So I decided to go back to my native place, which happens to be a suburb of this city, tucked some twenty kilometers away from this place”. I told him the correct location. The officer ordered a constable to check the whereabouts I told him. He walked back, and asked me,

“Mr. Roshan, from your words, and from the description about yourself what I understand is that you are a desperate man”

“Yeah, kind of,” I agreed slightly embarrassed.

“Desperate means, doubtful, skeptical, and sometimes very prone to do violent things, like killing a person, even if he is your brother” the officer said watching me keenly through a pair of inquisitive and sparkling eyes.

I was startled and looked at him questioningly.

“Mr. Roshan, your brother Abel was found murdered last night in the same apartment where you both had been living for the past days”, he said.

For some moments, I couldn’t believe my ears. It was like getting a thrash on my head with a hammer. I felt that everything in the room was circling me. I screamed aloud.

“Stop that scream!” the officer ordered. “Because you are the prime suspect.”

“No..No..”, I cried aloud, trying to cover both my ears. The officer walked towards me, sat on the table close to me, and said, “Roshan, we have every reason to count you as the culprit,”

I tried to prevent him from accusing me again. But he kept on asking me questions.

“Roshan, your statements are contradictory. You said you were living away from the city. If so, how the police found yourself clad in blood stained clothes in the morning in front of the same apartment where your brother was stabbed and killed brutally?”

“Sir, I don’t know anything sir. I was rung by him yesterday.  He wanted to see me as he had to share with me some important matters,” I said.

“From where he called,” 

“He called from his cell phone number,” I said. When the officer asked me to proceed, I continued. “As it was not usual for him to share things with me, I decided to not visit the city. But in the evening, I thought I would make a quick visit in the night itself, so that I can go back today morning itself. Besides, I had to collect something from him which I left in the apartment last time when I quit that place. So, I decided to come by the night itself”

“At what time you started your journey from your home?”

“Sir, I caught the last local train, which was at 11 O’clock in the night.”

“That means, probably you could reach the city within half an hour. So by 11.30, you reached your brother’s apartment?”

“No sir, I had to walk all the four kilometers to reach the apartment after getting down at the railway station. Since I did not get any bus that way, I preferred to walk after eating and drinking some tea and snack from the wayside eateries”

“So, at what time you reached your brother’s apartment?”, the officer asked me in a shrewd manner. 

“By 3 O’clock in the morning” I said.

“Let me see”, the officer mused, “I can walk two kilometers in half an hour. That means, you could have taken only 1 or utmost one and a half hours to reach the destination. If the time taken to eat the snacks is counted, you could have reached the apartment by 1 AM. Why did you take two hours more?”

“Sir, on the way back I witnessed an accident near the Rain-Tree Junction. I spent some time there”

“Oh, the tragic car accident happened at night. Okey, you witnessed that incident right?”

I nodded.

“Well, Roshan, Did your brother know that you were in the city. Did you have any phone contacts?” the officer asked.

“Yes, sir. Through our next door neighbor who called up on my phone twice in the night to check if I was on the way”

“Who is that?”, the officer questioned.

“Sir, it is Viky, the newspaper distributer, who lived in the next apartment,” I said.

“Oh, I see. It was this Viky who informed the police in the morning about the murder of your brother. He happened to see your brother soaked in blood through the window, and yourself sleeping in front of the verandah in a half conscious state with blood stained dresses. Mr. Roshan, let me ask you one question, what is the last thing you remember before you slept there?”

“Sir, by 3 O’clock in the morning, I reached the apartment. I knocked at the door, but my brother did not open the door. Since he was a heavy sleeper, I thought I would sleep on the verandah itself” I said with bitterness.

“Okey, do you remember anything strange before you went to sleep” the officer asked.

“Sorry sir, I was very sleepy that night, so I couldn't remember anything. But, I think it started slightly raining just that moment I reached the apartment” I said.

The officer looked at me for some moments. Then he said me in a lower voice. “Mr. Roshan, I don’t know if you are telling the truth. Contrary to that, there are several reasons to believe that you have committed the crime. You have the motive, you have the opportunity, and evidences are against you. But something makes me think that you are telling the truth. To be frank, I had received a prophetic kind of SMS last night on my cell phone from an unknown caller. Seeing the queer message on my cell phone, we tried to track the location of the messenger. But, by that time, we received information about the accident that you witnessed in the night. Since we need to cover the accident area, the case of the unknown caller was forgotten. If you want to see the message, I can show you that,” saying so, the officer pulled out his cell phone from his pocket, and showed a message he received last night.

The message read like this, “Just like Cain killed Abel, and blood quenches its thirst by drinking itself, another bloodshed will take place tonight”

I was locked up for some weeks for the responsibility of my brother’s murder. But the officer went on with his own investigation. Later the truth was surfaced. I was becoming a scapegoat for my own brother’s revenge. He was a drug addict. Cursing me for his failure, he decided to commit suicide and frame me for his murder. At the time I stopped association with him, he was almost doomed, because of his addiction for drugs. The night he planned to commit suicide, he invited me to his apartment. It was he who had sent an unknown SMS to the cell phone of the officer at the nearby police station. He was tracking my movements, by asking the neighbor Viky to call me from his mobile. When I reached the apartment, he was using sedatives and painkillers. He sprinkled blood on me hiding on top of the terrace, which I had mistaken for raining. And after I slept, he inflicted stabs on himself twice, but his death happened due to self poisoning.

Jun 18, 2013

Chitrangada’s Father

(A short story previously written for a contest)

Inspector Meghnad had a tough cold that day. He sneezed and coughed inadvertently. While sneezing convulsively, he glanced at the constables, and saw some of them laughing at him in a hidden manner, seeing him trying to get the towel from his pocket. Though that irritated him a bit, he simply smiled at the head constable Somdev, since they had some years’ long friendship, which was immeasurable by the hierarchies. As they both were posted to that small town station, where criminal activities were scarcely heard of, both had found most often the life there as monotonous.

Head Constable Somdev left the station for his daily rounds. He used to visit the town highlights, meet people, and make friends with the gentlemen and ruffians alike. Meanwhile, Meghnad sent a sentry for one latest weekly from the nearby shop, and began to read once he got it. While reading his favorite novels to kill the time, he accidentally immersed into thoughts and successively into sleep. 

When Meghnad was waked up from the sleep, he saw Somdev in front of him tapping his shoulders, so irreverently, as Meghnad felt. Scratching his eyes, Meghnad tried to get away from his impending sleep. Along with Somdev, an elderly man also was standing there in front of him. Meghnad watched him keenly. May be around his sixties, he had not shaved for several months, and was clad in torn dirty clothing. 

Questioningly Meghnad looked at Somdev. As what Somdev informed, the aged man was trying to commit suicide, not alone, with a 3 year old little girl. Some people of the town found him trying to jump into the river, though initially they did not suspect anything. But, when they understood what he was aiming at, they caught him, and rescued the girl who was crying inconsolably. 

“And where is that girl?” Meghnad queried after a short pause which he utilized for a quick sneeze. 

Another constable brought a little girl, clad in a dirty dress. Seeing the girl, the inspector reflected deeply, taken strongly aback by the sad plight of the poor girl. He questioned the old man. Initially he said nothing. But when Meghnads tone of questioning changed into threatening, the old man opened up, 

“I am Chitrangada’s father”, he said. “This is her child, my granddaughter. She is a little girl with no one to point out as her father”, he began to weep uncontrollably. 

The Inspector shocked. His thoughts traversed back. Chitrangada was in news some four years back. She was abducted by a woman and a man. The man who was the woman’s accomplice in sex trafficking, first trapped Chitrangada, by making her fall in love with him using his sugary words, and gifting her cheap things which worth no money. As she was a silly girl, living with her poor father and mother, those gifts were big things for her. But later, this man and the woman abducted her. He used her for his sexual gratification first, and took her to a resort in a tourism destination. There she was presented to many people, who were adorning some powerful political chairs, and celebrity status. For over a period of one month she was transported from places to places and was presented to so many men as a “fresh piece”. She was in no position to protest, as she was threatened by the woman who abducted her.

When she was saved by some social workers and political activists, she was in a very broken state. The advocates who joined hands with the vile persons argued that she could have escaped several times from the clutches of her trappers, but she didn’t do it as she was enjoying all those men. The arguments raised by the people who rescued her that she was suffering from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome - which is actually the reasonless empathy that a captive feels towards his or her capturers - was not considered seriously by the jurors. In the end, all the persons who tortured her were acquitted and Chitrangada and her family were left with utmost pain and humiliation.

After his serious thoughts about those tragic incidents, Inspector Meghnad asked the old man to tell what happened now to see them both in such a situation.

The old man replied, “What could I have done sir? Upon sympathy, my daughter was given a minor job in a government sector, but everywhere she was humiliated and was mocked. She was a subject of lustful looks of and heinous comments by the vile persons. She was just treated as an object. She was pregnant, after those incidents, and she gave birth to a baby girl, and that girl is now with me”. Everyone in the police room looked that girl sympathetically.
“My daughter was undergoing depression, so one day she simply put an end to her disgraced life by hanging herself. Her mother also died due to cardiac arrest. To escape from that world of shame and tragedy, I decided to put an end to both of our lives,” the old man stopped his narration.

His story put Megnhad into utter confusion. He did not know what to do next. But as a solution, he decided to contact a Children’s Home bearers to take care of the little girl. He decided to not interfere into the case of denying justice to Chitrangada, as the incidence was also involved by some top police officials. Moreover, Meghnad never wanted to spoil his peace of mind.

One day later, the officials from Childrens Home came to take the girl. The old man with tear filled eyes, accompanied them to the car carrying the little girl on his shoulder. He said that it might be his last chance to carry her on horseback, and for her, which might be the last chance to enjoy such horseback rides, while her grand pa treads like a horse carrying her on his broad, yet weak shoulders.
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