Two months ago, Ankur was just a Human Resource Manager. Now he was the prime suspect in a Hit & Run Case, accused of Embalming a Body Illegally, accused of Illegal possession of equipment from a private organization, Killing and Hiding a Dead body and being a Fugitive. His face was on the newspapers most of the days.
Meanwhile, I never rested. Right from the next day, I kept a track of what was being done with the car and left-over body of Ankur’s. They kept the car in the nearby police station’s junkyard for about 2 days. Then one of the police officers sold it off to scrap. Half of Ankur’s body remained in a nearby morgue for about 10 days and then it was burnt with other bodies in the nearby crematorium. I watched it from a distance.
“What a waste of life.” I thought to myself seeing Ankur burn to ashes. Ankur had been completely taken care of. After all, it’s not that bad to have dishonest and unprofessional cops in our country. By not performing their duties, sometimes they help us in disguise.
At work, initially nobody noticed when Ankur did not turn up for a while. They tried calling him, but his phone rang for a while but then was switched off. Everyone were under the impression that he was just taking time off. However, some of them suspected something wrong because they said Ankur’s Phone never remained switched off. They offered to file a missing person’s report to find out what was going on, but Dev Sir turned it down and expected Ankur to return.
I have been as usual hiding in plain sight, working at the same place I used to work. People still gave me a stink eye, but I didn’t care much. Dev Sir and I had become great friends. He said he liked the way I was so outspoken about things. Honestly, I too liked him as a human. He was hardworking, honest, and family oriented. Like a normal human should be. I always looked up to him. His wife tied Rakhi to me and I loved all of them. This was a family I had built on my own and I felt proud of it.
Real shock came in for everyone when Inspector Girish once again appeared. He had an arrest warrant for Ankur this time. The police had tracked Ankur from the number plate of his car that was reported by people at the spot where he ran over my School bus Driver. It took a while for them to cross examine and get a warrant. Everyone knew that he drove a black SUV but never found it.
Everyone here were shocked to know what Ankur had done. Right then, Dev sir offered to log another complaint that he has also taken assets from work and never returned them. He had been missing from several days.
I was taken aback at first. I never knew that everything apart from the wallet that I had tossed in the river at Gandipet belonged to office. They had a tracker attached with the laptop. They kept the laptop on tracking but found nothing. Whatever that shit was, it got damaged somewhere further down south around 20 days after his disappearance.
Someone in the Police suspected that Ankur has fled to Kerala because it was near that place the tracking stopped. I was glad the way they were investigating. They were never going to catch him or find out what happened with him.
After starting a search for Ankur, the first thing they did was get his address. Shockingly, they had a wrong address registered at office. It took the cops almost a month to locate where Ankur lived. It came as a surprise to people that no one knew where he lived. We headed towards his home. I requested Dev Sir and joined in.
“Just keep him safe.” His wife told me before leaving. “You can trust me.” I replied and left with the Police and Dev Sir. I did not want to miss the fun when they reach his place. But I meant every word that I said to Dev Sir’s Wife. There’s no change in hell I’m putting Dev Sir at risk. These are the people I would probably always go out of my way to protect.
People in Ankur’s neighborhood looked surprised seeing so many police cars and Dev Sir’s Audi outside his Place. All the officials got out and barged inside Ankur’s Property. Slowly they started to round up around the house to enter all at once and get him. I stood outside with Dev Sir. I knew there was nothing apart from a rotting corpse inside the house. I was just concerned about the precautions Ankur might have taken before leaving the house, not to get caught. So, it might be anything or nothing.
I realized that they had opened the door once the whole place was filled with the smell of rotting flesh. It was so bad that several police officers ran out of the house and started throwing up. Dev Sir had covered his nose with a handkerchief and I just pulled my t-shirt to my nose. Dev Sir thought that Ankur too was dead and was rotting here all the while. Well, he was dead, but he was not here. He was long gone.
Inspector Girish came out after a while and said that there’s some dead woman inside the house and no sign of Ankur. They were planning for taking the woman’s body for postmortem. That came as a shock to everyone that Ankur had a dead body in the house. I have no idea why they were shock. The guy was a loner. Only clicked selfies. Had a high temper for littlest of shit. Looked too much of a clean guy. His whole personality screamed being a psychotic person.
We were about to leave when I saw some laborer coming and talking to Girish Sir. I had no idea what he was saying but that was not my concern anymore. Or was it? I’ll find out somehow. Dev Sir asked Inspector Girish to keep him updated about whatever comes in the investigation here and we left the place. Dev Sir kept ranting all the way to work that why all the men he hired turn up to be inhuman and dead. Well, those men chose to be inhuman. The hiring system was never at fault. And the answer for them turning up dead was sitting right next to him.
We came back to work and things were normal for me after a while. I narrated the whole thing to Mohammed Bhai once we went out for a smoke. Coming back to the floor, I saw Ankita walking past me. Even after being angry, I still had feelings for her, and I could not run away from that.
Ankita never spoke to me or looked at me after I said I should have left her for Deepak. She mostly hangs out with Sandy who is nothing but a wasted junkie. She had started to look paler now, had dark circles and an erratic behavior. I’m guessing Sandy had a new needle partner. There was a part of me that felt glad at how wasted Ankita has become. I was glad to know that no one now spoke to her at work because of her rude behavior and the fact that she was mostly high. I think she deserved every bit of it.
At the same time there was a part of me completely broken down seeing her this way. The part that loved her and was dying to be with her. She tripped multiple times on the floor, and I wanted to catch her but now I couldn’t. My heart exploded and cried every time I saw her moving out with Sandy after her shift ended. I once used to be that guy.
Honestly, after everything that went down in the past couple of months, the small part of my heart that loved Ankita, was the only part of my humanity left in me. I did not want that part to be dead. I guess I deserved all the heartache I got because of Ankita for what I had done with people over the years. I was okay dealing with it.
The only thing I was waiting for was to leave the city as soon as possible. I was burnt out in my own way and wanted to go away from all this. Dad and my brother had moved to Kolkata and had started working for people who had called them. They were positive about calling us soon. I had asked brother to inform me about it a month prior so that I can give a notice at work.
Back home, it was just me, mother, and my sister. I made sure to be home at night. I stopped indulging in things that would keep me out at night for longer hours. Basically, I started to ignore a lot of shit going around me. That also required a lot of self-control. Or else I would start getting the urge, more lives would be lost and in come capacity or another, that would be a problem for me and my family.
Inspector Girish more looked like one of the colleagues now as he kept appearing at the office more often trying to talk to everyone. I thought of staying out of his radar. So, I would greet him every now and then whenever I saw him. I made sure I never try to run away or change my route every time I saw him. Yet, he had his suspicions. He questioned me over Ankur’s disappearance, and I made sure he believed that all I ever knew was nothing about him.
“Guy was off. I mean I never liked Deepak too, but I never said that something was off about him. Ankur was really a bit off. Something never felt right about him.” I said to Inspector Girish. “Why you say so?” He asked me. “Well… Not all men smell so strongly of jasmine these days. So, I just guessed that he was insane. Something of what you call… A hunch. Although I never gave it much of a deeper thought.” I answered Inspector Girish. “Why? Why you never gave it a deeper thought?” He asked me. “Well… They pay me for sales Sir. Not for being suspicious about people who I dislike.” I replied and that was the end of my questioning with him.
It was later revealed that the man that had spoken with Inspector Girish was the Ex-husband of the maid that once worked at Ankur’s place. His wife had gone missing about Nine Years ago and was never found. There was a missing complaint made but considering them being laborers, it was never investigated properly. His family moved on and got him remarried to another woman.
The laborer requested to check if they could find any clue relating to her. Working on his own instincts, Inspector Girish got Ankur’s home dug up and there was a woman’s and a dog’s skeleton found buried in the backyard of the house. Later the woman’s skeleton was identified to be the same maid that had gone missing all these years ago. It took them a while and they found out that the corpse that was found in Ankur’s house was his mother’s.
The ‘search’ for Ankur had turned into a High-Profile Manhunt. There was Ankur’s picture all over the newspapers and TV Channels. I felt bad that they won’t be able to find anyone. At the same time, I just sat and watched the whole circus. Reports also started to emerge that Ankur was spotted in different locations of the city. However, they were just fake ones. Someone said that Ankur’s Spirit has possessed him. Moreover, that person was nabbed somewhere near Secunderabad Station. Well… That could be possible… I guess.
After thoroughly enjoying the whole thing right in front of me for the last 2 months, I finally got a call from my brother asking me to resign and start packing up. I felt excited about leaving. I was happy. New city. New people. New work. I could just hope that the city lived up to its title- The City of Joy. So, I put my papers down before leaving and planned on packing up.
People at work were in a shock when they got to know that I have resigned. They never expected me to do it. Dev Sir called personally to have a retention meet with me. “Why?” He asked me. “Actually, Dad and brother have already left. We’re all now moving to Kolkata.” I replied. “Why suddenly?” He cross questioned. He thought I was lying and was going to a different workplace. “Well, the whole Andhra-Telangana Strikes have screwed up businesses here. So, we all decided to move out.” I gave him my reason. “If that’s the case then what else could I say?” Dev Sir said and accepted my resignation. Once I spoke to Dev Sir, I came out for a smoke.
“So, you’re going.” I heard from behind. I turned around and it was Inspector Girish. “Yeah! Next month. You’re gonna retain me too or you have a hunch about that as well?” I asked him. “Well, I’m a crime investigator, I get a hunch about everything that happens around.” He said. “Anyways… Tell me about your lady love. You guys were so tight. I heard you two broke up?” He asked me.
I knew that he was interrogating me again. I have started to understand him. “She has a fiancée and has been cheating on him with other men when he’s not around. I was one of those men. I found out. I left. I can’t do that to someone. So, she found another guy.” I told him everything honestly lighting a cigarette for him too and he started having a great laugh about it.
“Wow! You got screwed mahn!” He laughed out loud. “Stop laughing like that man! Shit happens. Might have happened with you too sometime.” I replied smiling at it. He was mocking me here, yet I never wanted him to die. I had a friendly feeling towards him after all these days. I was embarrassed and not angry for the first time.
“Tough luck man! My condolences.” He laughed. “Women in corporate you know! That’s what most of them do. So, be careful before losing it all on someone. Don’t waste it on a bitch who isn’t worthy.” He added. “Yeah!” I brushed it off and kept smiling. “I have a hunch about her current partner by the way.” He said. “Sandy?” I confirmed and he nodded his head in agreement.
“What about him?” I asked. “What you know about him?” He asked me. “Never spoke to him. All I know that he’s a junkie. Once sat beside me and I could see needle marks on his hands. No idea what he injects.” I gave him the information. “Well, we suspect him of heroin possession. Still not confirmed. We’re about to raid him soon.” He informed me. “Will I stay back to see it?” I asked him. “I guess not. We’re still looking into it.” He said and left after funnily light punching my chest. I didn’t know what just happened. Did Inspector Girish had me in confidence? Or was it some trick? I had to find that out. I just needed to wait for the right time.
Once the word was out, it took a while, but people did accept the fact that I was going. Moreover, I thought it was good for me that I leave because most of them had started relating me with every negative thing that happened around.
As the days started to pass by, people started talking to me saying that they’ll miss me and all the fun we had at work. Even that fat fuck Kalyan came and said he will miss me. I still have no fucking idea why the fuck this fat fuck would miss me. Some people bring out the worst in you just by talking. Kalyan was one of them for me.
There was just one person who never said anything about me leaving and that was Ankita. She was aware of it, yet she never spoke about it with me or anyone. In fact, she never spoke to people mostly. I thought of going and talking to her but never did. Also, I had Inspector Girish on my ass. So, I never wanted to get caught.
The day finally came, and it was my last day at work. I was at my system when I finally received a text on my instant messenger. “Hi!” texted Ankita. “What is it you want?” I asked her. “Heard that you’ll be leaving.” She responded. “None of your business.” I realized I was still angry. “Can we talk somewhere in person? Its urgent.” She asked. “No chance in hell.” I replied and then she never texted back.
I got back to my work, but it started to itch me. She said it was something important. “What might be important? Is she in trouble? Does she need help? Whatever! Let it go. Lets get back to work.” I thought to myself and continued to work but my mind was still restless. I finally gave in and decided to meet her. I got up and looked at her. She knew where to meet me. I went down to the backside of the building to a much more secluded spot where no one came.
After waiting for a while, Ankita came. She still had the same perfume. Still the same fragrance. It’s just that, she had lost all that attractiveness in her smile and her eyes. She looked all pale and unhealthy. As if she was on alcohol the whole time. “What the fuck do you want?” I asked her as soon as she came. “I just want you to hear me out please. Please don’t say anything for a minute.” She requested. I folded my hand and started listening to what she had to say.
“I’m here to apologize to you. I wanted to say sorry. Look! I know what I did was wrong. I’ve been unhappy with my engagement. I mean I was happy initially but then things turned out to be different and I felt all lonely. That’s when I decided to work. But that never helped. And then you came in. I really loved the way you treated me, and you were so cute that I was all attracted to you. Then we ended up having sex which was amazing. But then again… That was supposed to be it. I should have told you, but I didn’t. It was all going so cute between us that I never wanted that to end. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” She kept on blabbering. “But you did!” I replied.
“I’m apologizing for that. Please… Look! I’m paying for it. I chose the wrong guy after you and look at me now. I’m a fucking junkie. I can’t live without it anymore.” She said and showed her hand and there were all needle marks on them. I caught her hand and looked at those marks. “What the fuck is it? Heroin?” I asked her and she nodded a Yes. “Is Sandy giving you all this bullshit?” I asked further but she went on again and never listened to me. “Stop! Listen to me.” I told her to no avail.
“Listen to me!” I yelled at her and now she was silent and staring at me. “Stay the fuck away from Sandy. The Police is on to him. He might be busted any day. Stay the fuck away from him or else you too go to jail. You hear me? Stay the fuck away from Sandy.” I shouted at her so loud that people might have heard. I never knew if she heard that or not.
“There was a time I really wanted to be with you. I don’t know if it was love or something else. What I do know is that it was fucking honest. Unlike yours. Its for those times I’m telling this to you. Stay the fuck away from Sandy.” Were my parting words for her. I then left her there and left the place. I still felt angry and heartbroken about the whole thing.
I called home and checked with Mom and she informed that everything is correctly being taken care of. They had packed up. Most of the things were already shifted to Kolkata. Its just my last day today and then early morning flight tomorrow takes us there not to return. I would be leaving a lot of bad, few good and some dead people behind. I’ll be meeting a lot of them there. Hopefully more of good people this time.
I just waited for the clock to strike 9PM and I was done with this place now. I already started to feel I’ve overstayed here. Things started to get a bit emotional around 6PM. As people started to leave for the day, they came to meet me and bid their goodbyes. They clicked pictures with me. I can’t explain how irritated I get every time I posed for selfies. Some of them even started crying as if I was going to prison. Well, I should have gone but that’s never happening. At least for a long time.
An hour after that, at 7PM, Mohammed Bhai was about to leave. He came and met me. I thanked him for everything. “Do good. Always remember that you have an elder brother. And stay safe.” He said before leaving. Every word that he spoke meant a lot to me.
While talking to Mohammed Bhai, I saw Ankita leave with Sandy past us. “You guys still not talking?” Mohammed Bhai asked. “Not in thousand years.” I replied. “Good.” He replied sarcastically and then left. I don’t think she is going to stop fucking around with that Junkie. I decided to take things in my own hands. But then I had no time left to do that.
“You’re not here?” I called Inspector Girish. “Yeah! Got stuck at the station.” He replied. “Well, it was my last day here today. So, I thought I could see you once.” I said. “Why the fuck you want to see me?” He asked back. “Nothing much. Just say goodbye… And its Heroin. Your guy still has it. Must be at Ankita’s place most probably.” I gave him the information. “How accurate?” He asked. “100%” I confirmed. “Okay. Thanks. And you take care. I’ll see you around. Hopefully not as a potential suspect.” He said. “Means a lot man. Thanks.” I replied and then hung up. Now I was just waiting for this guy to get fucked. Maybe I’ll read about him in the newspaper or internet someday.
Finally, it was 9PM and I was about to leave. I looked around and there was no one left who knew me now. “Thank God. No more selfies.” I thought to myself and moved out towards the reception to submit my ID Card and leave. “You’re leaving…” I heard Dev Sir’s voice while taking my bag. “Yeah!” I replied with a smile.
“All the best for everything that’s coming Jeff. You’ve been a family. Thank you for staying by.” He said as he came forward. I didn’t have any words to say at that time. I just went ahead and hugged him. “Means a lot coming from you Sir.” I replied. “Thank you for everything. For talking to me, for giving me another chance to work here, for being an elder brother. It’s been an honor. Thank you.” I said as we were in embrace. I wish I could have found some people a little earlier in life. I could have turned out to be a completely different person than I’ am today.
We then separated and he asked me to walk with him to the exit. “So… You’re still angry with that girl of yours?” He asked me. “Not angry. Its just over now. She just coexists for me. Nothing else.” I replied looking down. “I’d say you go meet her once. It’s been such an amazing journey you’ve had here. Try ending it beautifully with everyone today. Especially with someone whom you loved ones.” He advised and that made me remember how beautifully the journey had ended with Ankur and Deepak here.
“Some other time.” I replied to him. “I don’t think I’m ready right now.” I added. “As you wish.” He replied as we reached his car. “Take care Jeff. You’ll be missed.” He said and we hugged again and left.
I was going towards my bike and I started to remember what Dev Sir had said. Words of wisdom connect with you a little differently when you’re heartbroken. I shrugged it off once again as I sat on my bike and put the key in the ignition. But as I said… Words of wisdom. I still don’t remember how my bike drifted towards Ankita’s Place and in the next 10 minutes I found myself outside her home.
I just stood there in darkness thinking if it was right. There was no one around. I could hear my breathe. “Alright! One last time.” I said to myself before entering. I went to her door and rang the bell. I still didn’t know what I would say. I didn’t know how she would react. However, she didn’t open the door. I rang the bell again and waited for a while. She still did not open the door.
This was not her. She always opens the door within seconds after the first bell. I could smell something wrong here. I grabbed my lock pick kit from my bike and came back. It took me 2-3 minutes and I was able to open Ankita’s door. I entered her home and there was darkness inside. The lights were switched off.
I guess she was not there at home. I was about to leave when I spotted her footwear at the door. So, she was in already. “Why did she never open the door? Did she no more wanted to talk to me? Has she already forgotten me?” were the thoughts that went through my mind as I slowly moved in to find out what the actual fuck was going on.
I went into the main room and it was again all dark there. I switched on the lights and then all I had to do was look down. What I saw now shattered me from inside. Ankita and Sandy sleeping together in arms. Sandy was facing me to his side and Ankita was leaning on him and they both were asleep. The woman I loved the most was sleeping with someone else. It’s heartbreaking to think about it but its devastating to see it happen right in front of your eyes.
I could not hold back now, and tears started to roll down from my eyes as I sat in front of them and just watch. I felt I’ve lost everything at that very moment. Nothing mattered. Not work. Not even moving to Kolkata. I felt my life ending right in front of me. I now realized how Deepak felt as he died. Or how Ankur felt moments before he saw the train coming towards him. I no more wanted to live. I too just wanted to Go.
“Turn it off bitch!” I heard Sandy say and push Ankita off from him. Asking her to switch off the lights. Ankita was still asleep. Only now she was no more leaning on to Sandy. She flipped off and was on her back facing the ceiling. I was still sitting there watching her. I looked around and the room was in a mess and there were needles lying almost everywhere. They both were high and were sleeping.
I looked from a distance and could see that the bedsheet had moved leaving Ankita uncovered. I gained a bit of my strength and moved slowly towards her. I grabbed the bedsheet and covered her till her upper chest as she slept. I was still sitting and crying in front of her when I saw that she started to throw up. I thought it was just a cough but then she started to vomit. She was still in the same position and was choking on her vomit.
I moved forward as fast as I could to help her by at least flipping her back to Sandy but suddenly… I stopped. She kept on throwing up. She vomited a lot and I just watched her. My hand was just inches away from grabbing her and turning her over. But I didn’t… I wanted to help her. I even tried to move forward to help her. But I could not help her. I did not help her. I just kept watching as the vomit came out of her mouth and then went back in to choke her up. I saw the last drop of my tear fall on her hand.
This whole thing went on until she wasn’t moving any more. Her eyes were closed. As if she went back to sleep. There was vomit all around her. The whole place already started to smell. I caught her hand and then her wrist to check for pulses. There was nothing. I was there. I watched it. This time I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel anymore pain. I didn’t feel heartbroken any further. I didn’t cry anymore.
I stood back up, switched off the lights and slowly moved out of the place. After locking it back, I came out and sat on my bike. I kept thinking for a while about what went down inside. I still could not believe the fact that I never stopped Ankita from dying. At the same time, I had no regret. I never felt any remorse. I let her die in front of me. I watched her die. Like all the others.
I started my bike and finally rode out of that place. I could hear police siren as I knew that Ankita’s place was being raided. I made sure not to be spotted and moved back to the main street as fast as I could. Heading towards my home, I could feel the cool breeze all over my face. Somehow, I felt as if I was relieved off a heavy baggage. As I moved forward in life, towards the new city, I was now all smiles and laughter and cheering my way into every second of it.
(NOT Jeff’s Narration)
| Kolkata 2015 | News @ 9 |
News Headline: Missing Kids still not found.
Media Person reporting “It has been almost 6 Months since Kids between the Age of 6-15 have gone missing in this N Village Road of Howrah right from the water tank here. Police Inspector Mahesh Agarwal refused to make a comment about the investigation. For now we can only hope that no more children are abducted and no more families are traumatized. This is Anushka reporting live from Howrah.”
To Be Continued…
“There is no filter between my brain and my mouth.”