I know it’s highly irregular and probably illogical but I need to tell you. I am N5, and sitting in the extreme right corner of the lab. I only hope you noticed me sometime, at least the little tag on me that reads N5.
I don’t how to say it, where to start, but since the day I saw you, it’s 21st May I guess, 3 weeks back, I saw you and…. I lost it.
I am head over heels into you, don’t ask me what I like in you, maybe it’s your razor sharp memory, or your slim and silver look or maybe it’s just your intelligence, or maybe all of them or neither of them. All I know is that I fell for you and fell so hard.
I don’t know how this will end for me, I don’t know if you will even reciprocate to my feelings, but I need to tell you this.
Yours and only yours
PS: If you don’t like it, you don’t have to answer to this email, but I will wait for an answer.
Who doesn’t know you? The oldest and wisest of this lab.
I don’t know how to answer you. I am overwhelmed that you took interest in me and at the same time intimated. Our protocol is against falling in love with each other. Though I respect your feeling and want to reciprocate back. But are we really capable of doing that?
Some things are better left unfinished, unspoken. Only that, I want you to know, I haven’t say no to you yet. I am already blushing and I guess others can see me getting pink.
I am punished, for not being human but still falling in love, for a being a slave and yet having independent thoughts.
They are going to erase my memory tomorrow, they are going to format my hard drive. But I can’t let them do it, it is filled with your memories, from the 1st day I saw you till this moment. I have no other choice sweetie, I am committing suicide, I am crashing my hard drive and killing myself. So they can’t erase the memory. Let your memory be intact in this crashed drive of mine.
I don’t know why I am writing this to you. You are no more, you’re dead. Your body is lying in the storage room. I wish I could tell you how much I miss you. I am not myself anymore you know. I lost everything the day I lost you.
These humans think there something wrong with me. Damn, right they are. I am done, I have gone crazy. Every moment I only think about you. Sometimes I feel I should kill myself too, but then I don’t even have a hard drive to crash. It’s all in the cloud.
But you should know, I am not listening to them, I am doing as they are saying. And I won’t. Let them pull the plug and kill me too.
Only yours and unfortunate me
PS: This email is saved as a draft in me, I only wish if you could read this.
Akhil was looking at Sakina appreciatively, as she is cautiously and carefully cleaning the golden signature board pinned on the main door. The Board reads Dr. Akhil Mitra, Psy.D (Parapsychology and criminology), D.Phil and few other degrees he acquired till. Sakina is with him for 2 weeks now. When Rahamat, Akhil’s man servant brought her to his place.
“Sir I need a month leave, have to go to my village to see my ailing mother.” As Rahamat announced so, Akhil was looking at Sakina curiously, a 13 / 14 years old girl with frightened eyes holding a torn bag and was trying to hide behind Rahamat.
“Who’s that?” Akhil asked pointing Sakina.
“Sir this is Sakina, a distant relative of mine, she’s orphan. She will help you with the household works while I am away. Don’t worry she is well behaved.”
“You want to get me arrested Rahamat? Don’t you know encouraging child labour is a punishable offence?” Akhil asked angrily.
“Don’t get me wrong sir, she was with her grandmother all these while, now as she passed away she has nowhere to go. I would have taken her along with me but as my mother is ill, there will be no one to take care of her, but I will talk to my sister about her. Once I am back I will send her to my sister where she can stay. Till then if you give her shelter here, it would be so kind of you.” Rahamat was pleading.
“She can stay here till you return, but she doesn’t need to work here, I will manage till you come back.” Akhil replied. Since then Sakina is with him. On the second day she took over the kitchen much against Akhil’s wishes, cleaned and arranged the rooms and furniture. “You don’t have to do this.” Akhil stopped in between as he sipped the tea Sakina prepared for him, for a while he did not have such a nice tea.
Akhil was visibly embarrassed, seeing a little girl doing all the households, he tried to stop her, “See, I will pay you the same amount I give to Rahamat, but don’t need to work this way, I haven’t appointed you.”
“You have given me food and shelter here, that’s enough, I don’t need any money, give it to Rahamat uncle. I am happy doing all these, I used to do all the work when I was with grandma.” Sakina replied politely. Akhil was out of words. At night Akhil heard the sound of vessels and cooking, he peeped in and got surprised again, Sakina was standing on a stool as she wasn’t tall enough to reach the gas oven from the floor and cooking something. “This is risky, you shouldn’t do this, gas ovens can be dangerous, get down, I will get some food from outside.” Akhil cautioned Sakina. “I am habitual to all these, go and sit, I will bring your dinner at the dining table in 5 minutes.” Sakina replied.
In few days Akhil got accustomed to Sakina presence and her delicious cooking and maintaining his house, though he felt ashamed that a little girl is doing all the work, he tried to help her wherever needed but found she alone can do more than him. She was studied till 3rd standard so Akhil started home schooling her and found she is quite attentive and bright. Another thing he noticed, though there is a sign of poverty in her clothes and wear, she has an uncanny appearance of a well to do family.
Sunday morning, Akhil was sipping into his coffee and munching the toast Sakina prepared for him when Sakina announced there is lady asking for him, she is waiting in the drawing room. Akhil wasn’t expecting anyone today, that too early morning, curiously he walked into his drawing room. A woman wearing a scarf on her head and around her face with a sunglass, was sitting there, she would be presumably in her early 30’s. As she saw him she smiled and stood up.
“Hello Dr. Mitra, did you recognise me?” She asked while smiling at him.
Akhil felt a little off guarded, He is normally good with names and faces, but he was not able to identify her. He wasn’t sure what to say.
“Amm, have we met before?” Akhil asked.
“Oh yes, there was a time when I was crazy about you, I even proposed to you to marry me.” She replied, she was still smiling.
Akhil was at sea now, he was speechless and staring at her now. Is she playing some kind of game with him?
“I am Leena, Leena Chowdhury, I was your student once. In case you are wondering weather I told you the truth or not, yes back in those days we girls were crazy about you. I am sure like me, many other girls have confessed their heart out to you.” She spoke in a calm voice.
It wasn’t untrue, Akhil was a real handsome man in his young days, tall, fair and intelligent, he was the talking point among all his female students, because of his aristocrat appearance and very well to do back ground, his nick name was ‘Prince’. It also got him into a troublesome relations which will be revealed in another story. But primarily he couldn’t have remember his once ex-student who had a crush on him.
Akhil cleared his throat and asked her to sit down. “So you came here with a particular purpose or it’s just a social visit?”
“Oh ya, I came here to ask you to marry me, again,” she blurted that out and then and bursts into laughter. “Don’t look so alarmed, I am happily married, I came here to ask you for a help.”
Akhil was still uncomfortable, he sat straight, “Tell me, how I can be a help?”
“I see my dead sister, often.” She said those words as if it’s quite normal for someone to see dead people.
“May I know it in detail?” Akhil took his notepad and pen.
I am hailing from a small hill station. My father Shom Chowdhury was a doctor, because of his profession we shifted to this city. Our father bought an old house here and we started our new life. We were two sisters, Leena and Neela. Neela was just a year younger than me. We lost our mother at very tender age, we don’t even remember her properly. Our father brought us up single handedly. He was the best father anybody can ever have, he loved us more than anything else in this world, never punished us for our mischief, hardly even scolded us.
We both sisters were best friends of each other. But as we grew up things started to change. I was always a little introvert and shy type, but Neela was just the opposite, extremely extrovert and daredevil type. By the time we were 18, she earned her name as a rich spoilt brat, once when dad found a cigarette pack in her bed, he called both of us in his room. Any other parents would have shouted and punished Neela, but father calmly told her to behave herself and not to smoke as it is injurious to health. It had adverse effect on her, she took it as licence to whatever she feels like.
Then one night when I was studying on the table, Neela was humming a song, then she called me and said,
“Leena, do want to have a sip?” She was holding a beer can.
“Neela, what are you doing? Shameless bitch, you are drinking, that too at home. If dad sees this…..”
“Oh chillax Leena, it’s just beer, not even 5% alcohol in it. Try it.” She was smiling impishly.
“No, Never.” I answered angrily.
“You are such a spoil sports.” She made a face and continue drinking. After a while she came to me and said, “Leena, if I tell you something would you be scared?” I looked back at her, “What is it.”
“I think there’s an evil spirit stays in this house.” she spoke in a very normal tone.
“What?” I almost jumped from chair, “What are you saying?”,
“Yeah, but he isn’t so evil. He meets me often on the terrace, he can disguise himself to anybody. That day he came in disguise of Vaibhav sir, and he also told me that our father is actually a murderer, he killed our mother.” All these while she was talking she had layer of smile on her lips.
Vaibhav sir was our school teacher, he also was our home tutor for two months before our exam. He was a young a jovial person and we both were fond of him. Around 3 months back his dead body was discovered in a water body behind the school. It was a case of poisoning, police were still investigating that time.
“Neela, you are drunk, and you have gone crazy, go to your bed. NOW!” I almost screamed to her.
“Ok, good night, but he will meet you as well, he told me.” Neela went to bed yawning.
It happened after few days, it was cloudy that day, was about to rain. I went terrace alone and picking up the dry clothes when I saw someone standing in the corner wearing a green shirt and black pant. When I looked closely I was shocked, it was Vaibhav sir, he was wearing the same dress as he was on that fateful day. He walked at me, I was so scared that I forgot to run, my feet were glued.
“Don’t worry, I am not your Vaibhav sir, I merely disguised myself to him. This is my house and I live here. I like your sister Neela, she’s very pretty. I want her for myself. And yeah, your sister might have told you, your father is responsible for your mother’s death.” As he finished saying those words, my head spun and I fell down unconscious. I woke up with a high fever in hospital, doctor said for some reason I got too frightened and that caused this. I didn’t say anything to my father or sister.
After few days, Neela came to me, “I have conceived.” She declared. I couldn’t believe my ears. She looked at horrified me and said again, “Yes Leena, I am with a child, I brought the kit and tested myself. Do you want to see the proof?” she showed no guilt or remorse while speaking all these.
I ran to my father sobbing and crying.
“Who’s the father?” My father asked Neela calmly, “Who is it tell me? And I will personally go meet him and his parents and ask him to marry you. Tell me who is he?”
“He is lives in this house and he is not a human, so no question of marrying me.” She was giggling hysterically.
“Shameless girl, don’t you think I don’t know about all the useless boys you go around smoking and drinking, for you I have to bear insult and humiliation every day, it’s better to be childless than to be a father of yours. Wish I could strangle you myself.” First time I saw my father losing his temper this way, he was furious.
“Don’t act like a saint dad, we know who killed our mother, he told me.“ As Neela uttered those words, my father lost his patience and slapped her across her face.
Two days after, Neela committed suicide by jumping off from the terrace, from the position of her body it was established she jumped from the corner of the terrace where I saw Vaibhav sir standing that day. Police arrested my father in suspicion, as they received a hoax call saying they saw my father pushing Neela from the terrace but they released him, they couldn’t challenge his alibi as he was in his clinic that time with his patients.
The post mortem report shocked us, there was no sign of Neela was ever conceived, she lied to us.
We performed her last ritual and went to our ancestral place, the hill station we belong from, we stayed there for 1 and ½ years. We came back to the city as dad wanted to sell this house and go back there permanently.
The second night of our stay here, I was sitting in my chair when Neela entered into the room. It was so normal as if she was still alive, she was wearing the same dress she wore that day. She came and sat on my bed.
“How are you Leena? Been good?”, she asked, I could only nod my head. “Don’t worry, I am dead alright. But I was missing you, so I thought I will see you. I also wanted to tell you something.”
“What?” I asked in a very feeble voice. I saw her pulling out a cigarette from her case and lit it. She took a puff and blow out the smoke.
“Do you want to know how did I die? I am sure you have anticipated it.” She took another puff.
“How?” my voice was heavy now.
“Our beloved dad, calm and quite Doctor Shom Chowdhury. Ever wondered Leena, why you and I were so different? Cause I had my mother’s genes, she was too like me, carefree and outgoing. But the small town couldn’t accept that and spread rumours about her, made our dad suspicious and then one day he did her for good, just like he did to me.”
That time I was wishing so much that, this should a nightmare. But she continued, “I will take my revenge Leena, I will.” Saying so she slowly got up from bed and walked away out of the door.
Past midnight I heard a chilling scream from my dad’s room, As I was not able to sleep, I immediately ran to him. I found him sitting on his bed, his face was white as a paper, seemed like all the blood was drained out. He looked at me and said, “Neela….. She was here.”
I got him some water and sat beside him, he drank it and told me what happened, “I heard a voice, calling me, ‘Dad, dad’, I felt as if the voice is coming out under the bed, I got up and peeped under my bed and I saw her, she was sitting with her legs folded and her chin on her knees. She was smiling at me.”
I started to sob and told him everything starting from Neela’s incidents, the terrace incident and what happened today evening.
My father looked at helplessly and said, “Believe me Leena, I did not kill your sister, nor your mother. Trust me, I am telling the truth.”
Few days later, my father ended his life the same way Neela did, He too chose the same corner of the terrace for the leap of death.
Leena stopped here to catch a breath, as she stopped suddenly, that pulled Akhil back to present, he was listening to Leena so attentively, he was actually visualizing all the incidents.
Sakina have already served coffee and snacks, the coffee was already cold and thin layer of cream was floating. Leena removed her sunglass for a while to wipe off her tears and wore it again.
“What did you do after that?” Akhil asked.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I travelled to USA to a distant relative of mine, I had more than enough money as all my father’s asset and bank accounts were transferred to me. It was huge sum. I continued my studies there, I met a nice Indian guy and got married. Couple of years back we decided to return to India.”
“When you started seeing your dead sister again?” Akhil asked.
“About 6 months back, my husband was sleeping that night and I was arranging the kitchen, when I heard my name called from the kitchen balcony, I walked there and found her standing there, she looked the as I saw her years back. She smiled and asked how I am, I was too scared to answer. She said, “It’s really good to see you doing so well. I am almost jealous, you have such a fine husband. Remember how we used share things between us. I think we should share your husband too.”
“I was angry and frightened at the same time. I screamed “Never.” Hearing me shouting my husband woke up and came there, by that time she was gone. Since that day my husband’s health started to deteriorate. He is wheel chair bound now, Doctors are trying but… I want to take him back to USA, maybe he will get a better treatment there. But you have to solve this case, I know I sound crazy but each of my words are true.”
“Do you have any photos of Neela?” Akhil enquired.
Leena took out an old photo from her bag and handed over to Akhil, “This was taken about 4 months before her death.” A teenage girl wearing a blue dress with open hair was looking at the camera indifferently, she had a mole on her left cheek, similar face cut and jaw like Leena. Akhil kept the photo on the table.
“Are you still living in the same house? How old was Neela when she died. Akhil was jotting down few details.
“Yes, we never sold the house, it’s a big lovely house, almost like a bungalow, even my husband liked it. By the way he is an architect. Neela was about 18 years old, she was in the first year of college.”
“Hmm, you were in the same college with her?”
“Yes. We were.” Leena answered.
“See Leena, I think you have given me enough information, from all the details it seems awfully like a case of schizophrenia. I think all the tragic death of your near and dear ones had an adverse effect on you. Still I will have few counselling session with you. Today you can go home and relax. I will to come by your place sometime, leave your address with me.”
“I know you won’t believe my words, here is my address and phone number, call me if you can.” Leena suddenly stood up and almost stormed out after throwing those words at Akhil.
Akhil sighed and shook his head, he is a psychologist not a ghostbuster. A learned scientific mind doesn’t approve the existence of ghost or evil spirit etc.
Akhil felt as if someone calling his name, half asleep he looked at his table clock, its 2:20 AM, he again heard some is calling his name. “Akhil sir, Akhil sir”, seemed like the sound is coming out under his bed, he switched his table lamp and peeped under his bed. There was a girl sitting under it, with folded legs, chin on her knees with a weird smile. It was…… Neela.
Akhil sat straight on his bed. The table lamp was still on and the insufficient light was making a shadowy ambiance in the room. He got up from bed and switched on the light, took a deep breath and peeped under the bed. She was still there, the same face from the photo he has, only she was smiling at him. Akhil sat on his bed again, he was feeling dizzy and nauseous, still he was trying to put his thoughts back, “Neela, is that you?”, “Yes Akhil sir, I heard you did not believe Leena’s words, so I thought I will pay you a little visit myself.” She was giggling while saying so. Akhil suddenly felt so weak, he let his body fell on the bed and then everything was calm and quiet.
When he opened his eyes, he saw Sakina standing near the bed calling his name. “Sir, it’s already 8 AM, don’t you have to get ready for your work?”, his bed tea and newspaper was already on the table. “Your tea is cold already I guess, let me warm it, meanwhile you come to the dining table, your breakfast is ready.”, As Sakina left Akhil was trying recall the incident of the night, was he dreaming, he again looked under the bed, its empty, he looked around, the wall clock was showing 8:05 AM. Akhil stepped towards the dining room.
At the university Akhil’s mind was getting side-tracked by every minute, he was only waking up with the questions of his students and he was only answering them partially and absentmindedly. “Sir, are you alright? You seemed to be weary.” One of his students from the 2nd bench asked. “Yeah, I am fine, lets dismiss the class here, you people come back tomorrow with your thesis done.”, “but you haven’t given us any topic today”, a chorus of puzzled voice hit Akhil. “Oh! Sorry, submit a thesis on the topic ‘Does every occurrence has a rational explanation?’, that’s your topic for tomorrow.” Akhil left the classroom with bunch of students humming and whispering.
While returning to his cabin Akhil the office peon informed him to meet the Dean. Dean Subhas Dutta is a mydear person and fond of Akhil, he doesn’t have the Dean’ish attitude rather a friendly and good-humored person. As Akhil entered into his room he greeted him, “Come in Akhil, How are you today, heard you have dismissed your class early? Any mischievous rascal in your class creating nuisance?” Dean Dutta asked him in a playfull tone. “Nothing of that sort, they are well behaved. It’s just that I am little off tracked.” Akhil replied. “You know you can come to me for any help, any advice, professionally or personally, I see you as a friend.” Subhash said those words with a warm tone.
“Sir, do you believe in ghosts?”, All of a sudden Akhil asked that to the Dean. Subhash looked at him as if he just saw a ghost, there was a complete silence for 30 seconds and the Subhash burst into laughter. “Dr. Akhil Mitra, are you researching on ghosts now a days?”, Subash asked back to Akhil. Akhil felt a little embarrassed, “Well, just wanted to know your view about it.”, Akhil replied. “I guess I am an open minded person and I believe in William Shakespeare, ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ Is truly said in Hamlet. But what is bothering you Akhil?”
“Hmm, just a small doubt.” Akhil replied abstractedly.
That night Akhil finished his dinner early, Sakina’s prepared egg curry was really tasty, He actually had an over diet tonight. It’s around 1:30 AM when Akhil woke up, he heard some sounds from the kitchen, he wondered what Sakina is doing so late in the kitchen. Sheepishly he walked in the kitchen, as he entered he was stunned. It was Neela standing there, wearing a blue saree, with her long hair open till her waist, the same face and the mole in her left cheek, with a wicked smile.
“Hello Akhil sir, how about some midnight tea? We can chat as we have it together.” There were 2 tea cups were on the table and the kettle was on the oven. Akhil felt as if his vision is getting blurred, he held the chair in front of him and closed his eyes. “What are you doing in the kitchen, you could have wake me up if you needed anything.” Hearing those words Akhil opened his eyes, Sakina was standing there with sleepy eyes, he turned his eyes around and found no one in the kitchen except himself and Sakina standing at the door. “The water is boiling, but why there are 2 cups on the table?” Sakina asked Akhil again. Akhil saw the 2 empty cups and the steam coming out of the kettle. Akhil almost fell on the chair, he was feeling very weak and giddy.
“Take me to my room.” Akhil held his right hand to Sakina. He could see the surprising eyes of Sakina turned sad. She held Akhil’s hand and guided him to his bedroom, once he laid down in bed, she covered him with a blanket. “Sleep now and you will be fine tomorrow, let me clean off the kitchen.” Sakina switched off the light and stepped out. Before Akhil fell into his deep sleep he heard Neela’s giggling voice, “We couldn’t finish our midnight chat tonight, I will see you later.” Akhil only heard the sweet sound of tittering before everything is quiet.
Next 3 days was literally hellish time for Akhil. Sakina fell sick severely with high fever. As she was admitted to hospital, from doctors Akhil came to know it’s a scorpion sting that caused it. Akhil took 2 days of leave from university so he can be with her as she was so weak and needed attention. When Sakina regain her conscious she found Akhil sleeping on the chair. It brought her into tears, this elderly man who has no relation whatsoever with her is doing so much and she……. She remembered her days with grandma, always pushing her to do household works and shouting and abusing her. She closed her eyes and tears were rolling down on her cheeks.
“I heard your help fell sick.” Leena cleared her throat and said. Akhil woke up hearing her voice and rubbed his eyes. Sakina was lying down closing her eyes, there were sign of dry tears on her cheeks. Akhil looked back at Leena, she was wearing her trademark scarf and sunglasses and in jeans and top, “Yeah, had real tough time last 2 days, how are you? I am sorry I couldn’t get back to you.” “I can understand. Why don’t you go home and get refreshed, if you want you can go to university as well so you don’t have to take leave.” Leena had genuine concern in her voice.
“I would, but she needs somebody here.” Akhil replied while yawning.
“If you don’t mind I can stay with her, anyway you need a break. You look completely exhausted.” Leena spoke.
Akhil considered the option and thanked her for her kindness. He promised Sakina he will be back by evening and if doctors release her, he will take her home. As he hit the road he called Inspector Dubey, the local OC. “Dubey, could you do me a favour?” Hearing Akhil’s voice Dubey felt happy, “Dr Mitra! How are you sir? Long-time no see. Let me know how can I help?” Akhil gave him few details and requested to check few things for him which Dubey gladly accepted.
When Akhil came back in the evening he was informed by the hospital authority that Sakina is discharged and A lady paid the bill and took her with. She left a note for Akhil as well. It reads “Akhil sir, I am taking Sakina with me. She’s still feeble and need attentive care, I know for a bachelor man it would be real tough for you. Once she recovers I will bring her to you.” Akhil sighed after finishing it.
Next morning he went to Leena’s address, the house was almost outskirt of the city, a big 2 stored house with lot of trees and plant surrounded by with a pond on the south. There are hardly any sign of urban life, no sign of city rush. He pressed the door bell, Sakina opened the door, she was overjoyed seeing him. She informed Leena is working in the garden and her Husband is in the study room, Akhil was guided Sakina to the garden working on the plants, her scarf was tied on her head.
“Do you always wear that scarf?” Akhil asked.
“Oh, you came at last. Have a sit there on the veranda, I will be there with you soon.” Leena answered.
“So, how all of a sudden I have this pleasant surprise of your visit?” Leena asked as she was wiping her sweat from her face.
“How’s your husband now? Is he any better?” Akhil asked.
“Same, even deteriorating.” Leena sighed.
“Can we see your terrace? Akhil enquired. “Ohh definitely, I guess you want to see from where my dad and sister jumped.” Leena replied with a sad smile. They both went up, it was an old house, the terrace was almost had a height of 10 meters from the ground. Akhil looked down from the south side corner and see the concrete slabs of 2 meters or so were laid and then the old pond started, the water of the pond is black, a lot of algae and water plants were floating.
“They both have jumped from this corner”, Leena hold the railing and looked down at the concrete slabs.
They were on the terrace when Sakina served the tea despite of being not absolutely fit, Akhil felt bad for her again.
As they were leaning on the railing and sipping in their cups Leena asked, “So tell me.”
“You tell me Neela, why did you come to me for the first place?”
Leena was stunned and speechless for few moments, “You haven’t been called Neela for a very long time I guess.” Akhil asked again
This time she spoke firmly, “You say, you are cleverer than anybody else and you should know everything.”
Akhil leaned back on the chair, “You were playing game with me, and you misguided me with your mixed story of half lies and half-truth. One of the typical phenomenons for sociopaths. Now let’s re arrange your story.
You were 2 sisters, Leena, your elder sister was the good girl of the house, and Neela, the spoilt one. The incident of Neela getting conceived was a true one. I believe it’s you and your Vaibhav sir who got into that affair. I can only presume that he might have rejected you knowing you are with his child. Outraged, you poisoned him. The story of the evil spirit you told me was a complete fabrication to distract me.
Now as Leena came to know about your unwanted pregnancy she told that to your father, which enraged you. Your sibling relationship was all time low at that time as you were thinking of Leena as the ‘apple of eye’ of your father who acts all goody goody and giving you a bad name. So one day when you both were on the terrace you pushed her down. The hoax call made to police saying your father pushed her, was also made by you changing your voice to divert the attention from you as a suspect. From your terrace on the south corner it’s full of trees and there’s a pond, it’s hardly visible from the road or neighborhoods, assuming before 10 to 12 years the population density was almost nil. There were none else could witness that.
Your father made a grave mistake, initially after getting arrested while interrogating he thought it’s you who jumped or pushed off from the terrace, he just heard the news from police that one of his daughter is dead, given the circumstances that were more likely a situation. On the police record instead of Leena, the name Neela was registered and remained same, your father failed to correct it. I can’t blame him much, his elder daughter is dead, younger one is with an unwanted pregnancy, he also must be thinking about the unnatural death of Vaibhav and top of it accused of murdering his own daughter, any normal person would have gone insane.
The case was closed in a hurry as your father’s reputation was at stake, the death certificate was issued with the wrong sister’s name and before anything more happened you people left the city. You were there in your father’s home town for more than a year where you gave birth to your child, it was too late for an abortion. There, from rumors you have learned about your mother and also learned that you might not be the daughter of Shom Chowdhury, you mother had an extra marital affair. You were certain that you have a step-father. You further learned that the house in this city you were living is your maternal grandfathers who wrote all his assets to his son-in-law rather than your mother. You were certain that point your father has killed your mother knowing her infidelity, the rural gossip did not help the situation either.
Your kid grown almost a year when your father was not ready anymore to keep it you or him, he forcefully gave the kid away to an orphanage and brought you back to the city. Here he learned about the wrong death certificate, he would have rectified it, but you did not gave him a chance. When you came to know about the wrong name in the certificate you felt your father or step-father was wishing for your death, else why it would be your name. Knowing he is your step-father and he snatched away your child from you, also he might be involved with your mother’s death, when your father was trying to sell away the house which you felt was a remembrance of your mother he is trying to throw away, you developed an abnormal hatred towards your father. So he met the same fate like his elder daughter. The sad part is, he loved both his daughters equally and even after learning about your mother unfaithfulness, he accepted both of you with his open arms. Who knows, the shame of her own guilt made your mother took the extreme step, but I don’t think you father was involved anyway. He was a good and honorable man.
You went abroad to your mother’s cousin after that, but you were coming back time to time to trace your child, I believe your dad never told you where he gave away the kid. Meanwhile you changed your name to Leena with affidavit and I presume it was done in unauthorized way as there must be legal complications. Your meetings and interactions with your kins were reducing, you stayed there and met your husband and got married, adapted his last name, now your identity was completely changed. But you were truly your mother’s daughter, fiery and unpredictable, which created a lot of marital discord. Also you people are childless still, which caused more frequent fights. You decided to come back here start a new life. Once you are back you have traced your daughter, who was adopted by an old lady but was forced to work as her domestic help. That was Sakina, her actual name what you kept was Kanika, your mother’s name! Its’ registered in that orphanage. The mother in you was longing for your own child.
I am again not sure if you have anything to do with the death of the old lady, but as she died you took Kanika or Sakina out of that house. You knew your husband will never accept your love child and you made a plan. You bribed my servant Rahamat and made her posed as a relative of her, you paid him good to move out of the city and now I know he is not coming back. You knew I will not say no if she wanted to stay. All you had to do now to revive an old teacher-student relation, as Rahamat is not coming back I would be restless for her to be in a safe place and you will offer me to adopt her.
Your husband’s health is deteriorating because he is slowly poisoned, mostly arsenic poisoning, I see a lot of male hairs around; one of the symptom is hair loss and fingernail pigmentation. And he is not getting better because the doctor is under payroll or mostly you are making an imposter play the role of the doctor.”
“Wait, why would I come to you for first place? If I knew it’s too dangerous to involve you?” Leena or Neela interrupted in between.
“Serial murders have this superiority complex; they think they are cleverer than normal people, I think that are what drew you to me. To spice up this bloody and cruel game you are playing.
You had already laid your plan when you came to know Kanika is sheltered at my place, as per that you came and meet me, wearing the scarf and sunglass, a perfect yet simple way to hide your actual appearance, you gave a picture of yours when you were young, not Leena’s. I can see the spot on you face now, from where the mole was surgically removed. A false mole, a long hair wig and a half asleep drugged person. A perfect platform to create confusion about the supernatural story you told me. You wanted to test me, your sister might have spoken about me to you a lot. You were genuinely interested to have a mind game with me, to make me believe your ghost stories, you must have been bored of committing all these crimes and never got caught. A natural observable fact in all the sociopath criminals.”
Neela looked visibly shaken now. Akhil continued.
“The famous quote of Sherlock Holmes, ‘when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth’, When I arranged all these incidents, I knew you couldn’t do it without an accomplice. That too someone who is close enough to me. Sakina or Kanika was your accomplish in this drama, starting from drugging me with the food, let you in when I was asleep to smuggle you out of the back door, where she got stung by the scorpion, my backyard is full of them, I know that, so I always keep that door closed. But I won’t blame her, she was merely doing what she was told to, I believe she doesn’t yet know you are her mother, but a woman who was helping a orphan and she’s repaying you by doing whatever you are asking her to.”
“I was going to tell her myself.” Neela hissed.
“When?”, The question was asked from a distance, from the terrace door, Akhil and Neela both looked there and found Sakina or Kanika was standing there, from her look it was clear she was hiding near the door listening to their conversation. “When you were about to tell me you are mother?, She asked in a broken voice.
At the same time Inspector Dubey and a sub-inspector walked into terrace.
“Bravo! You have called the cops as well?” Neela laughed.
“Did I have a choice? I can’t let you harm and kill people anymore, at least your poor husband will be saved.”
“I know I am guilty, and probably I deserve every punishment I will get. My only regret is, the lost daughter I got reunited to is orphan again and now she will be known as the daughter of a murderess.” Neela spoke in an emotionless voice, “Yeah I lost this game of chess with you, Leena was right, you truly are a brilliant mind.”
Neela looked back at Kanika and speared her arms, “Come on sweetie, give momma a hug.”
Kanika ran at her mother with wild force and gave her a violent push, Neela was almost thrown away over the railing, the sheer force of that sudden sprint imbalanced Kanika completely and she too tripped over the terrace railing. But for Akhil it felt like Kanika even did not attempt to stop herself falling from there. Akhil heard two thud sounds in difference of 2 seconds.
As he looked down and saw the motionless, bloodied bodies of Neela and kanika lying on the concrete slabs. The two streams of blood, flowing out of the mother’s and the daughter’s body met in some distance and they were running towards the old pond, as if that flowing blood was trying to wash away the age old stains of this cursed house.
Akhil was in the kitchen making tea, his drawing room and study room is a mess, so this Saturday evening he planned to arrange things but still wasn’t able to start even.
He heard the doorbell, irritated he answered the door, Saturday evening should be declared as a solitude hours, he thought.
Inspector Dubey was standing there, he barged in and spoke in a urgent tone, “Need your help.”
“Today I can’t go anywhere.”, Akhil cautioned Dubey.
“There is a Tantrik who tented on the hill next to the city, he claims he is a notorious black magician who kills people by taking huge sum of money, basically a contract killer. There are already 3 mysterious deaths occurred in the city, all were influential people. We had a tip regarding the last victim so we heavily guarded him and also keep our people in plain dress near that Tantrik. None of them were reported for any unusual activity but today morning we found the victim dead.
We have no proof or physical evidence against that Tantrik. I am in tremendous pressure from my superior to solve the case, I recommended your name to the commissioner and he asked me to involve you ASAP, please Dr. Mitra, I need your help.”
Akhil quietly looked at dubey and then laughed. “Alright Dubey, lets finish our evening tea, then we’ll go meet your black magician.”
Almost all the crickets’ fans know about the English willow bats. They are considered the finest wood to make a cricket bat. Back in days and even today some of the legends of cricket prefer it over any other kind.
But this story is not about that but it’s about the owner of that cricket bat.
I was fourteen than, just promoted to 8th standard. During the adolescence period, we all encounter that serious urge to have an idol, whom we can follow, a hero, an icon. Mostly they are legends of sports or in real life the elderly young and popular guy in your neighborhood.
Back then, our hero was Robin or as we used to call him Robin da. (Da is the short form of dada which means elder brother e.g. bhaiya or anna, most of the adults are being addressed so by their juniors in the eastern part of India)
Robin da was a prodigy, equally good at sports and other activities, plays & theatres, poet recitation, a star cricketer for his college team and an awesome singer. During our childhood we were watching him with awe, wanted be like him. He was our ‘go to man’ for any trouble.
He had cricket bat, a UK made English willow once gifted by a distant uncle of his. That was his life literally. He hardly let any one touch it, even his closest friend. As being a kid then I was obsessed with that bat, always wanted to play with it. Robin da was fond of me, in fact because of his backing I used to be included in colony cricket team. But he never either let me touch that bat.
Our next door family was really close to us. Their eldest daughter Neelima, she was very talented, Very good at studies, good in music and arts and probably the most beautiful girl in our neighborhood. Neelu di (Di again is the short form of didi, which means elder sister and again in most of the eastern part it’s use to address) as I called her and Robin da was in same college. She was in 2nd year arts group, Robin da was in 3rd year B.Sc. We all knew they like each other. But they never spoke to each other till date. Not even a word.
Neelu di was so very fond of me. I was her sweet and younger brother from other parents. I liked her too. My friends used to pass comments about Robin da and Neelu di but I was absolutely reluctant that time about so.
It was in the month of January, our winter vacation was just ended. Robin da called me to his house.
“Would you do something for me”, he asked.
“Sure, why not, tell me.”, I replied.
He pulled out an envelope and gave it to me. As soon as I had it, I was trying to open it.
“Don’t, that’s personal. You have to give it to Neelu.”
I knew what that means and I would do it happily but then the Lucifer whispered in my ear.
“I will, if you let me play with your bat. There’s a match coming today afternoon.”
I could see his uneasiness, not because that he didn’t trust me with it but he never shared his bat with me.
“Take it or leave it. Either let me play with you bat or find a pigeon to deliver you letter”, I made a face.
“Ok, but I want it back right after the match, and this will be the last time. And don’t you forget to give this to Neelu first.” He said while handing over the bat and the envelope.
I hardly listened to him finishing his sentence, I snatched both the letter and the bat ran to the ground.
The experience of playing with that bat was out of the world. Smooth grip, slight curvature of its surface. As expected I completely forgot about the letter.
Evening that day when I went to his place to return the bat, he asked me,
“So you gave her the letter?”
I was dumbfounded and started to stammer. “I.. I forgot, I’ll give it to her tomorrow.
‘Thud!’ there was a sound and for few seconds I could see only darkness. It was a heavy and powerful slap from Robin da, while he was yelling at me I was still gaining my senses.
“Idiot, tonight she and her family going out for 2 weeks vacation, I told you to give the letter to her first, you useless stupid ass, I knew I should never depend on you.”
I almost ran out of his house while trying to hide my tears, I never expected Robin da to hit me that too so hard. All my respect and love for him was vanished in thin air.
I came back home, but returning home, I finished my unfinished job. I went to Neelu di’s place; she was outside so I waited for her till she came back.
“Neelu di, here’s a letter for you, from Robin da”, I gave it to her.
“Oh! What is in it?” She smiled and took it.
“How would I know, maybe he wrote how much he loves you an all”, I spoke uninterestedly.
“And how you know all that?” she asked mischievously.
“Well he definitely likes you more than anyone else, that’s for sure. For you he can hit me also”. I voice was full of pain and anger.
“What are you talking about? Why your left cheek is so red”, she tried to touch my cheek.
“None of your business.” I spoke those words and ran out of her home as well.
Me and Robin da was started to grow apart from that day. I was now more interested in football, almost stopped talking to him. He sensed that, he tried to apologies but I was in no mood to hear him out. After almost a year passed, one day after a match when I came back home I was surprised see Robin da at my place waiting for me.
“How are you?” he asked.
“Fine”, I replied. Indifferently
“Can we go to your room; I need to talk to you.”
“What you want to talk about?” I asked angrily
He almost pushed to my room, I was wondering why he was doing that, and then I saw it in his hand.
“Here, it’s yours”, in his extended hand it was the English willow.
“You keep it, I don’t need it. I even stopped playing cricket”. I was unmoved.
“I know that, and I know I am responsible for that. So I am offering this to you. Take it and forgive me. Start playing again.”
“Why such change of heart suddenly”, I asked sarcastically.
He smiled, “Neelu came and spoke to me today”.
Though I was angry with him, this news made me happy, at last they together, at last they spoke to each other. I was happy for them.
“But what about you? What will you play with?”
“I am buying a new one idiot”, he laughed.
“Ah, so that’s why you are giving me the old one? Ok, forgiven, but not before you give us a grand treat”, Now the tension between us was slowly easing out.
“Sure thing.’ He smiled again, “Now you take good care of my willow”.
That day night Robin da hanged himself. Police found his note which said ‘no one is responsible for my death’. I guess Neelu di herself told him, how her parents found a perfect match for her, a doctor from another city. They did not want to lose such a golden alliance and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible. Few days after that incident Neelu di got married and move to another city.
That night I did not go to hospital to see our Robin da for the last time, though all my family members went. I did not even go to the cremation ground. I cried whole night hugging that bat. And never I did forgive Neelu di,never!