|Then and now
Author: pl12 PM
It was supposed to be a simple case. The usual routine... Going to the place of murder... Interrogating the witnesses... Finding the clues... But in the world of crime, nothing seems to be the way it looks like. Old enemies... Shifting allegiances... Forgotten memories... New allies... And death... It can turn out to be a blessing in disguise, in the world of crime and espionage.Rated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Suspense - Chapters: 7 - Words: 12,783 - Reviews: 29 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 02-08-13 - Published: 08-03-12 - id: 8388238
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
" Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety."
...William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Henry 1V, Part One (1597)
20 October, 2011
It is a full moon night and not even a wisp of cloud is to be seen in the sky, making it clear and the only comfort can be taken in the fact that a slight breeze is blowing, thus rippling the leaves of the trees.
But for a certain man, this holds no meaning for him as he is now in a life or death situation. For the past half hour, he has been running away from some goons who are after him. Not knowing whether he will live to see the next few seconds of his life or not, he dashes through the road, finally making his way through a shortcut, reaching the highway.
20 October, 2011
A car is seen speeding through the highway with two people inside it, with the man on the driving seat in a seemingly good mood and the other man looking at the said person enquiringly with a teasing smile on his lips.
" Ahkhir baat kya hai, hain ? Tabse main dekh raha hoon ki aapke chehre pein ek hasii jaisa kuch hai. Kya baat hai ? Kiske khaboh mein dubein huwe ho ? Kya kisi larki ne propoe kar diya hai ?"
" Kya Abhijit, tum bhi na. Aare aisa kuch bhi nahi hai. Main toh baas aise hi kuch soch raha tha aur waise bhi mere aisa kismat kaha ki koi larki mujshe moor kar dekhe. Waise aapki baat toh kuch alaag hi hai jo Dr. Tareeka already booked hai.''
" Daya, tum bhi-''
" Yeh loh, Abhijit, tumhara kaam toh ho gaya. Jab hamesha main Tareeka ka naam tumhare saamne leta hoon, toh tum mujshe hamesha chup kara dete ho. Kabhi toh mujshe aapna baat poora karne do. Haan toh, main yeh keh raha tha ki Taree-''
Daya's playful teasing comes to an end when he feels Abhijit's right hand on his mouth.
" Aur ek shabd bhi bola na toh accha nahi hoga, samjhe Daya. Apne kaam pe dhyaan do.''
Daya's smile never wavers even when he feels Abhijit's hand leaving his mouth, finally resting on the owner's lap. Turning to Abhijit, what he saw nearly made him howl in laughter. He could not resist giving a big smile to himself when he saw Abhijit pointedly ignoring looking towards Daya, who with a smile on his face, moves his eyes towards the road and was about to speed up the car, when he felt the touch of Abhijit's hand on his wrist.
" Kya hua Abhijit ?''
" Gaari ruko Daya.''
Daya almost looked ready to bang his head on the steering wheel in exasperation at the stubborness of his closest friend, who looked ready to exit the car at any moment, judging by his body language.
" Abhijit, yeh tumhe ho kya gaya hai ? Tum itne mein hi bura maan gaye. Aur waise bhi-"
" Daya, darashal baat yeh nahi hai. Maine abhi abhi thora aage kisiko road cross karte hue dekha.''
Daya stopped the car immediately, more out of stunned surprise, rather than the urgentness in Abhijit's voice, who looked towards Daya with a calculated expression on his face.
" Kya ? Aur woh bhi itni raat ko ? Baarah baajne hi waale hai. Itni raat ko woh aadmi yaha aakhir kaar kya rahe hai aur woh bhi itni sunsaan jagaah pe ? Mujshe toh-"
Daya immediately stops when he hears the sound of a gunshot nearby, startling Abhijit.
" Goli ki awaaz ? Lagta hai kisi ki-"
Abhijit was about to exit the car when he feels Daya's grip on his wrist pulling him back, who looked determined not to let Abhijit go alone.
" Aare, yeh kya kaar rahe ho, Daya ? Jaane kyu nahi dete mujshe ?"
" Yeh baat tum sochna bhi maat. Mujshe batao, tum aakhir kaar kya rahe ho, Abhijit ? Tumhara tabiyet kuch kaal se theek nahi hai aur tum ho ki woh jungle mein akele jaane waale the. Ek kaam karo, tum yehi ruko, main dekh ke aata hoon."
" Aur agar tumhe kuch ho gaya toh ? Bilkul nahi, main bhi tumhare saath jaata hoon."
With this, Abhijit exited the car and ran towards the jungle with Daya in tow. Not finding anything, they decided to split up in different directions.
" Yaha toh koi bhi nahi hai. Tum ek kaam karo, Daya. Tum uss taraf jao aur main iss taraf jaata hoon. Kuch mile toh call karna. Aur haan, sambhalke jaana."
" Tum bhi."
With this, both Abhijit and Daya headed towards different directions, splitting away from each other. Both of them entered the jungle with a vow to find that man who had crossed the road into the jungle. And after a few good minutes searching here and there for that man, now both of them are thinking that maybe they are wasting their time on a non-existent man.
Abhijit was about to call Daya when Daya himself called him.
" Abhijit, maine idhar udhar haar jagaah dhoonda par woh aadmi mujse kahi nahi mila. Tumhe kuch mila ?"
" Mila matlaab ? Kuch bhi nahi mila. Mujshe toh aab yeh laagne lag-"
Abhijit's pattern of speech comes to an end when he hears the unmistakable sound of a gunshot nearby and followed by two more gun shots again.
"Phir se goli ki awaaz ? Tumne woh awwaz suni, Daya ? Tum ek kaam karo, tum yaha aa jao. Main ja raha hoon. Iss baar yeh awaaz mere bohot kareeb lagta hai. Main dekhta hoon."
With this, Abhijit switched his cell off and ran towards the direction of the gunshots without giving Daya any chance to protest. And Daya having no choice,also followed in the direction of the gunshots and probably towards the same place where Abhijit is also heading.
Abhijit has no idea as to how far he has ventured deep into the jungle without any idea as to where it will lead. He was about to veer into a different direction when he heard a rustling sound quite nearby and moving towards the sound, he saw a scene which made his blood run cold. He saw one of his best informers, Bhanu, lying on the ground with multiple gun wounds on his chest.
Running to Bhanu, Abhijit cradled his head on his lap and pressed his coat to the gun wounds to stop the blood flow.
" Bhanu, yeh tumhare saath kisne kiya, hain ? Kaun the woh log ?"
" Pata nahi….sahaab..par…mujshe lagta hai ki…woh log aapko dhoo-"
And the rest of the sentence got drowned in painful and hacking coughs. Seeing him in pain, Abhijit without wasting any time hurriedly carried him towards the direction of the car. And just when he was about to reach the car, he saw Daya coming towards him from the left side with a look of disbelief on his face seeing the scene.
" Daya, jaldi hospital ki taraaf muro. Jitne jaldi ho sake utni jaaldi. Aur baaki sawwal baad mein."
Without wasting any time, Daya opened the door for them while he himself entered the car and drove away to the nearest hospital, all the while looking at the front mirror to see Abhijit pressing his coat, bunched up on Bhanu's chest to stop the bleeding.
Reaching the hospital, without wasting any time, the doctors took Bhanu away to the operating room. And only then, Daya took a good look at Abhijit properly, who looked quite tensed judging by his body language at seeing Bhanu's blood on his coat which is now in his hands.
Daya could not fathom the reason as to why Abhijit is looking like he is in a trance and it was only when Daya put his jacket on Abhijit's shoulder, then only he seemed to wake up suddenly and looked up at Daya with a blank face. At seeing the lost expression on his friend's face, Daya came and sat near him.
" Dekho, Abhijit, Bhanu ko kuch nahi hoga. Hum log hai na. Hum log pata laga lenge ki yeh saab kaise hua."
Abhijit simply nods his head without saying anything, prompting Daya to squeeze his thigh gently in a comforting gesture, and with a silent promise that they will get to the bottom of Bhanu's case.
The hours went by in a blur, unknown to both Abhijit and Daya and they have no idea as to how long they were sitting there at the hospital, waiting for the doctor to come out of the operating room with Bhanu's news. After some time, the doctor came out. However, it was good news that the doctor passed to them telling them that Bhanu is now well and will wake up in a few hours but he will need complete bed rest until he heals completely. And of asking questions, the doctor told them to keep it at a minimum level as possible.
When the doctor was about to go away, the nurse from inside Bhanu's room came running out of the room, startling the trio.
" Doctor, jaldi aaye. Patient ko achanak kuch ho gaya hai."
With that sentence coming out of the nurse's mouth, the trio ran towards the room. And before the doctor could go near Bhanu, he suddenly gave a violent gasp and then….nothing but silence.
Nothing that the doctor tried, could revive Bhanu, letting them all know the bad news that Bhanu is now not amongst them anymore. But how did he die remains the biggest question.
Having finding no answers, which stupefied the trio present in the room, both Abhijit and Daya sent the body to Dr. Salunkhe for post mortem, hoping against hope that maybe Dr. Salunkhe is now the only lone option who fills the answer to the question as to how Bhanu died.
The journey back to the bureau was passed in silence with Daya throwing worried glances at Abhijit every now and then. Entering the forensic department of the CID, both Abhijit and Daya came to know that they will be greeted by more bad news when faced with Dr. Salunkhe's face, who is looking at the dead body of Bhanu with a mixture of disbelief and incredulity, an expression that only he can pull off. And it is the same expression with how he greeted the both of them.
" Abhijit, tum mujshe khali yeh batayo ki akhir yeh aadmi tumhara kaun hai ? Koi khabri ya dost ?"
Seeing Abhijit's sad expression, Daya answered the question for him, which raised the eyebrows of Dr. Salunkhe.
" Agar, Abhijit, yeh tumhara khabri, Bhanu, hai, tab toh bohot baari garbaar hai."
" Kyun ? Aisa kya hai iss Bhanu ke laash mein ?"
At these words coming from Daya's mouth, Dr. Salunkhe looked at Daya directly in the eyes, then slowly turned to Abhijit.
" Dekho, Abhijit, tum bura maat maana. Lekin main yeh jaana chahta hoon ki tum akhir koi case pe toh kaam nahi kaar rahe ho ?"
At this sentence, something fast passed through Abhijit's eyes, though what was it, neither Daya nor Dr. Salunkhe could quite get it, but one thing they came to be sure of that, yes, something was there in Abhjit's eyes in that moment.
Was it shock ? Regret ? Guilt, maybe ? But what it was they could not quite put their hands on it. And before Dr. Salunkhe could ask Abhijit about it, it was Daya who asked the inevitable question to him.
" Par Dr. Salunkhe, iss sawaal ke saath Bhanu ka kya connection hai ? Aur waise bhi aap bata hi nahi rahe hai ki yeh aakhir maara kaise ?"
" Jo main tum dono ko batane jar raha hoon, yeh baat shayaad tum dono biswaas karo ya na karo, par sach yehi hai. Accha, tum dono ko aandaza bhi hai yeh Bhanu kaise maara ?"
" Kaise ?"
" Maine iss Bhanu ka poora body check kiya toh mujshe kahi pe koi chot ya jakham ke koi naamo nishan nahi mila. Shibaye uske saar ke."
" Kyu ? Usme koi problem hai kya ?"
"Problem matlaab, bohot baari problem, Daya. Iss Bhanu ke khopri ke undar ek chip plant kiya hua tha. Uss chip ko detonate kiya gaya hai. Jab detonate kiya gaya hai tabhi isski turaant maut ho gaya. Aur yeh chip ek bomb ki taarah hai jo timing pe detonate kiya gaya hai."
" Yeh aap kya keh rahe hai, doctor ? Maine toh aisa pehli baar suna hai ki aise chip se murder karte hue."
" Haan aur ek baat. Yeh kaam koi aam aadmi nahi kaar sakta. Woh koi surgeon hi ho sakta hai jo yeh kaar sakta hai. Upaar se yeh saab toh maine humare yaha hote hue na hi kabhi suna ya dekha hai. Mujshe toh yeh lagta hai ki yeh kisi baahar ka kaam hai."
" Matlaab aapka yeh kehna hai ki yeh saab humare desh mein nahi baalki kisi bidesh mein hua hai."
" Haan, yeh ho sakta hai. Aur haan, ek aur baat, yeh koi aisi waisi chip nahi hai. Yeh chip sirf computer gaming mein kaam aata hai jisme sirf codes hi hote hai. Aur yeh sirf chip bhi codes se activate kiya gaya hai, matlaab koi computer se jo sirf gaming codes ke liye kaam aata hai. Matlaab yeh koi aisa hi kaar sakta hai jo ek computer gaming expert hai aur woh bhi codes mein, matlaab ek codes expert. Aam aadmi ko toh yeh saab codes samaj mein hi nahi aayega, jaiseki mujshe. Mujshe toh yeh sab codes kuch samaaj mein hi nahi aa raha jo ki iss chip mein hai, jise mujshe Bhanu ke khopri mein se mila. Aao, main aaplogo ko dikhata hoon."
With that, Dr. Salunkhe showed both Abhijit and Daya, the chip, with Daya turning to look at Abhijit, who was looking at Bhanu's dead body. Just then, the sound of footsteps was heard outside revealing Sachin, who was looking embarrassedly at his seniors.
" Eer sir, darashal baat yeh hai ki main apna kuch cheez bhool gaya tha bureau mein toh mujshe phir se lautna para. Aur guard ne bhi yeh bataya ki aap log yaha hai toh main…"
Looking at Sachin, who trails off embarrassedly, Daya smiles at him, who only saw Abhijit then when he was walking gradually towards the door.
" Aare Abhijit sir, aap bhi yaha hai ? Mujshe laga ki aap ghar mein ghar gaye honge. Aur waise bhi aapke tabiyet kuch theek nahi hai kaal se…"
Sachin again trails off embarrassedly when he sees Abhijit turning back and giving a full glare on Daya, which usually was waved by him in good stride.
" Mujshe aise dekhne se kuch haasil nahi hone waala. Tumhara sachmuch tabiyet kuch theek nahi hai. Aab chalo mere saath. Baaki saab baad mein."
And without giving Abhijit a chance to protest, ordered Sachin to take Abhijit home.
When Daya saw Abhijit before leaving for home, he could not help thinking about that particular expression which he saw on his face for just a second. Maybe it was just his imagination, but what if it is real ?
Dr. Salunkhe did not even notice when Daya entered his department as he was busy examining the chip alonwith being consumed by the thoughts of Abhijit's odd expression. He only woke up when Daya put a hand on his shoulder and came face to face to Daya who was watching him curiously.
" Aap kuch soch rahe hai, doctor?"
" Aise kuch nahi, par haan, Abhijit ke bare mein kuch khayaal aa rahe hai. Pata nahi par mujshe toh aisa lag raha hai ki Abhijit hum logo se kuch chupa rahe hai. Tumhe kuch aisa nahi lagta ?"
" Pata nahi par main aabhi kuch keh nahi saakta. Abhijit toh pehle mujshe kuch nahi chupata. Toh aab kyun ?"
For a moment, there was nothing but silence, but what Dr. Salunkhe said next chilled Daya to his core.
" Daya, mujshe toh yeh kehna nahi chahiya par main keh raha hoon, tum bura maat maana."
" Kyu doctor, aisa baat kya hai ?"
" Baat kuch alaag hai. Dekho Daya, maintumhe sidha sidha poochta hoon. Kya Abhijit teen mahine se koi case pe kaam kaar rahe hai jo sirf woh aur ACP jaante hai ? Kyunki ek saptaah ke liye toh ACP kisi case ke silsile mein Delhi gaye hue hai, toh main yeh sirf tumhe pooch saakta hoon."
" Jaha tak mujshe pata hai, ACP sir aur Abhijit ne toh mujshe kuch aisa nahi bataya ki woh dono koi case ke piche hai. Par yeh saab aap mujshe kyu pooch rahe hai ?"
" Kyunki mera ek dost jo ki ek police officer hai, uska khabri ne Abhijit ko pichle teen mahine se ek hotel mein kaie baar aate jaate hue dekha hai. Aur uss hotel ka naam Paradise hai jo ki bare bare criminals ka aada hai."
Dr. Salunkhe knows that on hearing this information about his senior and friend, Abhijit, Daya will be shaken, but still as a fellow CID member, he has to tell Daya, who suddenly is lost for words. Looking up, Daya saw the same fear reflected in the eyes of Dr. Salunkhe, their thoughts conveying the same questions.
What, if Abhijit really is working upon some case without their knowledge, or worse without the knowledge of the entire CID ?
What, if those who killed Bhanu was supposed to kill Abhijit ?
What, if they got to Abhijit next ?