Wednesday, August 5, 2015

AMAZON | Flipkart

Chapter 1:

The Sun rose as it had no choice but to bring up that terrifying day for the residents of Raghavan colony. The transparent crystals of rain drops that peppered the windows started vanishing with the warmth of the day. It was supposed to be a beautiful dawn. It was indeed beautiful for everyone else but not for the people of Raghavan colony. The news started spreading like forest fire as the day progressed. Heads started peeping through all possible windows and people started crowding at the entrances that overlooked Block D of Raghavan Colony.
            The roar of an over-speeding bike, at a distance, silenced the crowd. The bike appeared at the end of the street and within no time halted at the entrance of Block D. The biker wore a black pant, black leather jacket, sports shoes and had covered the head with a black helmet. The crowd stayed focused on the biker, waiting to see who it was. The biker lifted the helmet to let a few strands of dense black hair flow over the shoulders. The biker shook the head, tossing a few strands that were sprawling across the forehead. Jaws dropped as they got to know that the biker, who raced into their street, was a pretty woman. No one had expected such beauty and glamour to be revealed from behind the boyish mask; the clothing, the bike and the speed. She placed the helmet over the petrol tank, got rid of the leather gloves and placed it in the pouch over it. She glanced at herself in the rear-view mirror to adjust her hair a bit; not that she had to do all that to look pretty. She slid the bike’s side stand with a clang and tilted the bike to rest it free, between her legs. She got on her feet, removed her leather jacket and tossed it, casually, on the bike, revealing her perfect figure to people who were already amazed and surprised by her looks that didn’t complement her entry. She walked with an exaggerated swing of her hips, enjoying the increasing attention as she entered into block D.
            She looked around to find three doors labelled “D1”, “D2” and “D4” shut. She moved close to the already open door that read “D3” and gasped “Finally! Uff..!”
            She stood at the entrance of the house that opened into a tiny hall. A lady was seated on the brown couch near the wall to her left. A cop was seen walking out of the room that was close to the couch. The wall to her right arched into another room. The wall opposite to her had a huge bookshelf, overcrowded with books. Two cops moved in and out of the room located to her right. A photographer clicked around the house as pointed out by a constable. It felt like the constable’s finger held direct access to the camera’s shutter button. She was a little taken aback that no one noticed her and that men there were less interested in her compared to those outside. “Cops don’t appreciate beauty” she said to herself with a sigh.
She looked for someone in particular. Her eyes focused in and out of most of the objects in the house. The smile that she had entered the block with, was still keeping her company. The cops and the photographer had vanished into the arch to her right. The lady on the couch gave her a puzzled look. The lady had a million questions and the struggle of containing it to herself was evident from her expression.

            ‘I am at the crime scene right now, sir….I will take care, sir,’ said a male voice that was very familiar to Riya. With the confidence of knowing someone inside, she walked a few steps into the house. Her pupil rolled, involuntarily, to the side the voice had emerged from. As she looked into the room to her right her sight fell on beautifully maintained feet of a woman with nails painted with her favourite shade. She challenged herself for guessing the shade of the nail polish; ‘Lakme 10’.It took her a second to actually comprehend what was weird about the feet. They were floating in mid-air. She stood still, her eyes fixed to the painted nails as her heart paced out of shock.
“Okay. I will look into it” Said the same familiar male voice, bringing her back to senses, melting a bit of the shock that had frozen her inside. A stool lying beneath the floating legs made her look up quickly without any further thought that it would scare her. Bulged eyes, tongue that fell out of the mouth, a bluish tinge spread over the distorted face of the deceased freaked her out. She knew that this image would haunt her for the rest of her life. She was a bold woman, but this was more than what she could digest. She lost her tolerance as she took her eyes off from the horrific scene. Her gaze shifted to Rohan, an inspector, who was busy over the phone. He was standing inside the room behind the dead girl’s hanging corpse. She heaved a sigh of relief. The smile that had accompanied her when she entered the block joined her back. He looked at her and smiled in response. She decided not to turn to the terrifying spot till she left the place as she battled with anxiety and forced herself to look at Rohan. Rohan finished the call and smiled at her again. He pointed at the room opposite to the one he stood in with a quick nod towards that side. She walked into the room to her left near the couch. The lady on the couch watched her keenly. Rohan noticed her as he got out of the horrific crime scene.  
‘You may leave now, but you need to be present for some investigations if required’ he said to the woman. He stopped walking until the woman vanished from his sight. . He made sure that the photographer and the two cops were busy with work and then disappeared into the room.
The room, supposedly the bedroom, was compact with a single bed pushed to the wall, a bedside table near it, a night lamp over it and a wardrobe placed next to the bed side table. She was sitting on the bed, biting her nails, lost in thoughts. Rohan looked outside the room, again, to be certain of not being noticed by anyone. He, then, gently closed the door and walked to her.
The moment she saw him, she rose up and they high-fived. She rushed to him and she flung her arms around him.
 ‘Thanks a lot Rohan,’ she said in a high pitched voice.
‘Did you get what you want? Are you happy now?’ he asked, deliberately maintaining a low tone.
‘Yeah. Very much,’ she hushed, still clinging on to him.
‘Thanks a lot,’ she said again, tightening the grip around his waist.
            He pulled her arms away from his back as he released himself from her grip before he spoke. ‘Let all the formalities get over. Then we will talk about your next step. Don’t look puzzled as you walk around the crime scene. It might look weird to people and raise a lot of unwanted questions.’
‘Okay. Thank you again,’ she said.
‘I did nothing much.’
‘I know it wasn’t easy for you to do all this for me,’ she said looking into his eyes.
‘It wasn’t,’ he hushed and looked at the door that he had closed.
 ‘You look good today,’ he added after breathing her image in through his eyes, for a bit.
‘Yeah, right! Complimenting me is very important right now,’ she said getting ready to pace behind him.
            ‘Come out after some time when people are engaged with something else,’ he said and walked to the door. He cautiously opened the door and pretended to look for some evidence.
            They lowered the hanging girl after measuring and capturing every possible inch of the crime scene through the clicks of the camera. A few seconds later, Riya joined them, receiving a smile from the two cops there. She forced a smile. She keenly watched the happenings forcing a sad face that masked the glee within.
            A man, not in uniform, seated himself next to the subject, inserting his fingers into rubber gloves and another cop got ready to take notes. The seated one raised the subject’s skirt, completely, till her panties. “Black panty.” he dictated to the cop who noted it down. He then removed the buttons of the subject’s shirt. “Black Bra” he dictated again.
            His gloved hands moved over the semi-naked body of the dead girl inspecting her inch by inch.
‘A birthmark on her neck, mole on her right cheek, left thigh and in her little finger of her left hand,’ he said.
 ‘No other bruises except for a strangling mark on the neck. No suspicious marks in the body,’ he concluded.
            ‘Riya, do you want to stand outside?’ asked Rohan after looking at the awkwardness that spread on her face. He thought that Riya wouldn’t be comfortable looking at men undressing a woman, though dead, and inspecting the woman in front of her.
‘It’s okay. I will stay here,’ she said.
            ‘No problem. Come with me,’ he gently gripped her wrist with his hand and walked out of D3, the house.
            Rohan pulled out a pack of cigarettes and put one between his lips. He pulled out a lighter from the other pocket of his trousers as he spoke.  ‘What’s your plan, now?’ he said with the cigarette dangling at the curving edge of his lips.
            ‘My plan is to accompany you to the hospital to make sure that the post mortem goes without any problem,’ she said.
            ‘I am not going to the hospital. The post mortem will happen just fine,’ he said as he lit the cigarette.
‘Who will collect the reports then?’ she asked, worriedly.
‘Ramaswamy, the head constable will do that for me,’ he said and sucked the cigarette for a second.
‘What if he doesn't make sure that things go on well?’ she asked.
            He widened his eyes in dismay, taking a deep drag, supported by his fingers.
            ‘Come on, Riya. He is someone I trust. Moreover, this is how it happens usually,’ he said as smoke curled out of his mouth with the first few words. He forced the remaining white smoke out of his mouth. He held the fire-edged cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, carefully held as far as possible from Riya. Before he could take another puff, the body was brought out of D3. The other three doors in the floor still remained shut. They came out with the body which was covered from head to toe in a white cloth. Silence descended on the people massed outside. Half the crowd had vanished to continue their mundane routine and the rest, who were too curious about the case, still managed to gather around, to see the body get disposed from the colony. 
            The white parcel of misfortune was transferred into a van painted in black. The back doors of the van shut as though it was embracing the dead in its depths.
            ‘Come to the police station and we can continue to talk about your plan,’ Rohan said as he quickly took a few shallow drags of the cigarette. He dropped it to the floor and smashed it with his police boots, putting it off. He walked to the police car and sunk into the seat next to the driver.
            Riya rushed to her bike and swiftly put on her jacket. She climbed on her bike and pushed up the side stand. She pushed the helmet over her head and buckled it tight. Before she could wear the gloves, she heard the van’s engine roaring to life. She lifted her helmet glass and turned to give it a last look. The police car had already gone half way towards the entrance of Raghavan Colony. She hurriedly kicked the bike, slammed the helmet glass shut over her face, turned the bike and rushed behind the car. The three vehicles went out of sight for the residents of the colony, leaving them to buzz again. A few minutes later, Raghavan colony was back to normalcy. People continued their routine with no trace of what had happened that morning.

            Minutes later, Rohan’s car reached the police station. Before getting out of the car he could see Riya resting on her bike outside the station. He got down, struck with surprise, and strode to her.
‘How did you reach here before us?’ he asked, surprise brimming his voice.
‘I guess the police drivers need a bit more training,’ she smirked
‘You are just …’ he paused, not finding the right word.
‘Intolerable?’ she prompted.
            ‘Why do you drive rashly? I am sure you over-sped to reach here quickly,’ he said with a worried and accusatory tone.
            ‘Yeah, right,’ she said sarcastically and got her head out of the helmet. She spoke as she removed her leather jacket, ‘I took a short route. I am good with short cuts and thorough with the route map of Chennai. That’s one area where your drivers need to be trained a bit more.’
Without a word, he walked into the station. She threw the jacket on the bike and raced behind him. She raised a lot of eyebrows as she went into Rohan’s room. The two doors, which started at her neck and ended at her waist, led her into a tiny room with a huge table, an executive chair for Rohan and two wooden chairs opposite to his.
‘Thank you so much Rohan,’ she shrieked as she walked into the room.
‘Lower your voice, Riya,’ he said, firmly, rolling himself close to the table, in the executive chair.
‘Sorry. I just don’t know how to thank you enough,’ she said.
            ‘I haven’t done anything. You asked me for it and I helped you. Now, it’s in your hands how you make the best use of this,’ he said, resting his chin over his netted fingers as he rested his elbows on the wooden table in front of him.
            ‘It’s my dream to closely watch a crime scene and write a book. You are helping me live my dream Rohan. That’s more than what I can ask for from a boyfriend,’ she said.
‘Boyfriend?’ he asked, raising his head and curling a smile.
‘I never said that,’ she said, lowering herself in the chair opposite to him.
 ‘As a gesture of gratitude, why don’t you marry me?’ he asked with the smile still curled on his face.
            ‘I actually have plans of marrying a publisher so that my passion earns for my own family, both ways, a royalty and as a business gain. Do you mind being second in the line? You know what I mean! Something like an affair?’ she said showcasing a naughty smile.
‘How naughty!’ he said and laughed.
‘Alright, I need to reach college on time. A literature student should always be punctual. I will discuss in detail about my story tomorrow,’ she said.
When she was on the verge of leaving, he said ‘I love you, Riya.’
‘I love you too,’ she winked and gave him a forced smile.
‘I really mean it,’ he said firmly.
            ‘Oh, really? Stop joking. It’s getting late.’ She popped out of the room, like a little popcorn that falls out of the pan, so quickly, leaving Rohan to wonder why she never took his love seriously. He thought that it might be because he was in his late twenties and was quite elder to her. He always feared that she would mistake his “love you” to be a fatherly affection. The thought of looking like a fatherly figure to Riya scared him and kept him from proposing marriage to her with seriousness.

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