We, the team Potliwale Baba, are writing a fictional story as a part of #CelebrateBlogging – Game of Blogs.
Read the previous posts here:
“I think I saw the murder, Mr. Javalkar”
The wheelchair bound gentleman had so simply stated the fact, as if talking about the weather. Java could not avoid the shock appearing on his face. He had come to check up on the watchman and cleaner to get their signatures on their statement about Cyrus’ kitten-on-the -tree plan. He saw the wheelchair-bound man and came up to his patio to have some random chat, but this man had literally dropped a bomb on him.
“Are you sure about what you are saying, Mr. Ahuja?”
“Yes, Inspector. You heard me right. I think I saw the murder.”
Java’s interest was piqued now, and the devils inside were screaming hoarse inside, “Breakthrough! Breakthrough! Now, you will nail it, and then there will be TV interviews and felicitations and promotions”. Barely concealing his interest, Java suggested, “Can we go inside your house and talk. Hope you are willing to give a signed statement since you have been open enough to tell me that you witnessed the crime”.
Aryan flatly replied, “Of course, I am ready to give you a signed statement. I am a law abiding citizen and would extend my cooperation in every manner possible. Haven’t I come forward voluntarily to tell you? I will tell you all I know, but not in the house. I have my kids in there and I wouldn’t like to discuss this in front of them. Also, the power cut damaged my AC and it has become stuffy inside. Lets talk in the lawns outside under the cool shade of the tree.”
Java agreed. He tried to go behind the wheel-chair to drive it towards the tree but Aryan stopped him. “I am physically challenged, Mr. Java, but definitely not dependant,” he said with contempt and wheeled himself expertly in the direction of the tree. He stopped under the shade and turned, facing the Dutta residence.
Java reminded himself to be sensitive and patient with his only eye witness … someone who would help him crack open the case. His hopes shot up like a rocket. He stood besides the wheelchair, looking towards the Dutta residence. Java felt it prudent to keep silent for now. “Let this man take his time. Let me not rush him. He is not someone whom I can push”, thought java, missing his cigar. He pulled out a cigar and offered one to Aryan. Aryan accepted it, brought it close to his nose and sniffed. Java saw him close his eyes and relish the whiff of the cigar but was totally puzzled when Aryan returned the cigar with a smile.
“I left smoking a long time ago, immediately, after my wife got pregnant for the first time, and she told me it was bad for the kid. But I do keep a pack with me. The fragrance of the cigarette is enough for me now. Well, let’s get straight to the point. I wasn’t sure at first. I saw the maid collapse and saw other people in the room too,” Aryan began, recounting his experience of that evening.
“I saw the maid from the window. First I thought it was Mrs. Dutta but soon realized that it was the maid Naina in Mrs. Dutta’s clothes. These maids you know, dream of high-life and would go to the extent of misusing their master’s belongings. That’s when the lights went out. All I could see was silhouettes and shadows with the little light from the street-light and the occasional flash of lightning. As you can see from here, there are two windows in that room. I could see the maid in the left one, while the door of that room is near the right window. After the power-cut, I first saw Mr. Dutta enter the room and leave in few seconds. Next I saw Mrs. Dutta come into the room and leave. After couple of minutes, I saw the maid collapse. I was so shocked thinking that she had fainted or something like that. Next, I saw Roohi, their little girl, in the room and she must have seen Naina collapse on the floor, because the next moment she ran out of the room.”
Aryan looked at Java at this point, and Java knew that this was his chance to clear a nagging doubt.
“Mr. Ahuja, please don’t mind my asking but the Dutta residence window is at some distance … must be almost 25 meters from your house. How can you be sure that you saw them from this distance?”
Aryan smiled wryly and answered,“ You are right Mr. Java. I cannot be sure. But at that time, when I was witnessing the chain of events, I wasn’t aware of there being other people in the house. So when I saw a man, it was Mr. Dutta for me and when I saw a woman, it was Mrs. Dutta for me. I think there was no other child, so Roohi it was whom I saw. When the emergency lights came on, many people rushed into that room one by one and I realized that I couldn’t be sure of whom I saw coming in the room; except of course Roohi unless there was another child in the house.”
Java felt like he was hit by a Truck.
His wanted to hurl the choicest abuses at Aryan, but all he could do was smile at this ‘helpful citizen’ who had witnessed a murder and had come forward to help. He still felt there might be a sliver of hope.
“Mr. Ahuja, I understand that the window is at quite a distance but please try to remember, you might have seen something that would help us identify the people who entered the room. Anything about their clothes, their height, something they did in the room, anything. Also, you mentioned at the beginning that you think you saw the murder. Can you tell me something about the murderer? Where was the murderer standing when the knife was put through Naina? Could you make out if the murderer was man or woman? Anything at all will be useful and helpful.”
Aryan gave a forlorn look to Java and looked at the Dutta residence before going on, ”I am sorry, Mr. Java, but as you can see, hardly any details are visible from here. All you can see is shadows. You could make out man or woman but nothing more. In fact, if a woman dressed like a man entered that room, you might not be able to make the difference in dark.
About the killer, unfortunately, I only saw Naina collapse. The killer was not visible through the window. So I have no idea who it was. I think I have told you all that I knew and done my duty. Guess I can take your leave now. You can get the statement written and brought to me for my signature at any time.
Java was having a hard time. Inside his head, both the devils were having a mighty laugh at this anticlimactic turn of events. While one mocked Java and his bad luck; the other devil suggested that Java should push Aryan’s wheelchair in front of an incoming truck … a fitting response for not only wasting his time but raising his hopes and then crashing them into his world trade center like dreams of success.
“Mr. Java, did you know, Java means coffee”, remarked Aryan.
“Really, I had no clue”, said Java trying to hide sarcasm from him voice. It seemed ironic, reminder of coffee coming from a man who did not even invite him inside his home for coffee.
“Someday, when you are around here and not in uniform, please do come to my house for coffee. I have some excellent brews that you will surely enjoy. Have a nice day.”
“Hold on for a second.” Java said, as Ahuja was about to turn his wheelchair.
Ahuja looked back with curiosity, Java continued “You said you were watching all the time. Right? So just before Naina, I mean the maid collapsed did you see anyone or anyone’s silhouette behind her? Think carefully Mr. Ahuja, how is it possible that you saw last person leave the room couple of minute, as you said, and then Naina collapsed? If the last person had stabbed her at the back, she would have instantly collapsed within 30 seconds or at least she would have reacted to the stabbing, don’t you think?
“Hmm.. you are right, but as strange as it sounds I did not see anyone.”
“Are you sure?”
“I am positive.”
“Ok Mr. Ahuja, you can go now. If needed I may call you to the police station.”
“Anytime Mr. Jawalkar, anything for the Police” said Ahuja with a smile and left. Leaving a seething and even more confused Java behind.
Unfortunately, both of them were completely unaware of the presence of a third person who was sitting silently behind the tree, listening to the entire conversation.
* * * * * * * * *
Sitting behind the tree, the shadow smiles.
Do you know, what you think you know?
Half of what we learn is conjecture, Theory, Hypothesis.
What an exuberant joy,
the nosy neighbor found much to annoy.
Thrive on chaos, jump to conclusions,
you seen me not, create only confusions,
I am the invisible bee in the hive,
and perhaps that’s why … you are still alive.
* * * * * * * * *
Sitting behind the tree, the shadow only smiles.
~to be continued here…
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