Atonement became peril – Murder Mystery Short Story
The door bell though was sweet enough, but didn’t allow me to sleep further. I was happy, because I knew I am going to earn, but also was not scared thinking of small tricks that I have to dig out of myself.
It was indeed a new face that I came across on opening the door. But the reason for his arrival was quite clear to me. Mr. Agontuk Sanyal was aged near about 75+, 5’10’’ tall, white, glassed and had a little amount of brown hair on his head. He was well dressed in Panjabi and dhoti, with a golden colored wrist watch on his left hand. The only thing that took away my attention for a moment was his carelessness or what, that he was wearing two different colored socks in his both legs. The shoe again was ok. To have mentioned it was early winter in midst September that time and the time in the morning was 9:30 AM.
I welcomed him and requested him to wait in our drawing room, just seeking for some time for myself to freshen up and also prepare two cups of hot coffee.
I am a Computer Engineer but had a knack towards investigation from very childhood. So what else then, I just converted my passion to my profession.
After one sip in the coffee, and a smile on one corner of his face Mr. Agontuk continued. “I have heard few of your solutions of cases, and I am inspired. I always had a knack towards detective stories, but seeing one such in my real life always had an intention to meet you. However I never thought to have that interaction with you for one of my personal case solving. Frankly speaking I am not that faithful as you are new to this line, but had no other option. So I have decided, along with your fees, I would also gift you with something, you want in extra. This is also because the reason, for which I am here today, had shaken me and I would be very happy to get hold of the criminal.”
“My brother”, just after he uttered these words Mr. Agontuk started weeping vigorously. I just got up from my chair, patted him and tried to calm him down. After drinking some water from the nearby glass on the table I gave him and wiping his tears, he continued, “Mr. Santanu Poddar, General Manager of a big government concern, a person with a very gentle and kind heart is no longer with us.” After a pause he continued again, “I don’t know about anybody else, but I am just moved by this news. There is also a specific reason behind that.”
“Mr. Santanu, habitant of Park Street, stays with his only young brother Mr. Sudesh Poddar. Their mother Mrs. Suranjana Poddar had died when Mr. Santanu was just 4. Mr. Shyamal Poddar, an Executive Director of another big government organization, took both of their responsibilities on his own hands after that. Mr. Sudesh again continued their tradition by serving as another General Manger in another big government organization.”
Mr. Agontuk continued, “However, I again come from a very poor family. My dad used to be a farmer and my mother a house wife. I am ever thankful to my parents for the hard work they did to give me this recognition of what I am today. I couldn’t continue my studies more than B.Com and then started serving in same organization in which Mr. Santanu also used to. Mr. Santanu was tall, handsome, white and good looking. His art of being kind to people not only reflected in my case but in many others’. But again how much others feel obliged for that, I don’t have any idea, but I do to a great extent. I could also never had been an officer from an ordinary clerk, if Mr. Santanu never had had recognized me. So this might have been the reason for which I used to find many similarities between Mr. Santanu and my parents and started respecting Mr. Santanu as my own brother after my parents’ death. Mr. Santanu rather than being rude to anybody, used to take up other’s responsibilities. Mr. Santanu’s wife, Mrs. Shobha Poddar couldn’t survive after her age of 32, due to cancer. This just forced me to stay at his side all the time for which I had been to his house quite a lot of times.”
“Mr. Sudesh again is very reserve, speaks less, and likes to stay in his own world – as if just showing his own dignity. Quite clear from this about how his nature is for which he never got married even. In fact he is just nothing more than a stranger to words like family, relationship and love. He knows how to maintain his dignity, earn crores and crores of money and reach top. It seems for that even if he has to use anyone’s shoulder or life as the stair cases, he would never set back from that. Another reason for this could be that he is not Mr. Santanu’s own brother. Mr. Sudesh was adopted just when he was just born, from Sangam Orphanage, and when Mr. Santanu was just 2. But you could have seen Mr. Santanu’s love towards Mr. Sudesh, and not allowing anybody to become aware of the fact that Mr. Sudesh was not Mr. Santanu’s own brother. This is why it took me even, years to know this fact.”
“Doctors have given their decisions that Mr. Santanu’s death was due to a severe heart attack. In fact he suffered that when he was travelling somewhere from his office in a cab. But Mr. Swapnil”, he said to me, “you know something; I doubt it was really a heart attack by fate or somebody prepared the situation for that”. Not very clear what he tried to mean, I asked him, “Could you be a bit more specific with what you intend?” He continued,” Look, how can a person with such big heart; a person so friendly and tensionless can die with such a severe heart attack and that too at age of 36? He never ever even used to take tension with his work. I have seen him for years. I doubt this could have been an indirect murder. Somebody might have just played with his weakness which had driven him to this consequence.”
“So do you keep anybody in your suspicion list?” is what I asked next to him. He continued, “See, basically the type of person Mr. Santanu was, and in that scenario he would have friends more than enemies. Why enemies, because he anyway was surviving in 21st century. I believe nobody can be dumb here. I in last couple of years almost became right hand of Mr. Santanu. I know each and every detail of his. Mr. Shyamal just died a normal death just a couple of months back. So considering all these I just believe only one and one person responsible for his death and that is Mr. Sudesh. It can’t be forgotten that after all he was not Mr. Shyamal’s own son. So there might have been some difference in experiencing the amount of love between him and Mr. Santanu. Or even it might be the case that his greed for money and to take full ownership on their whole property has forced him to do this. So that is it. The love, faith and belief Mr. Santanu had for Mr. Sudesh, after that if Mr. Sudesh threats him to write the whole property in his name, the amount of pain Mr. Santanu might have undergone, have done the trick.” I simply nodded my head and promised to take up the case.
From next day I started my investigation. My first step was to meet few of the staffs of the organization in which Mr. Santanu was working. Next was the turn for few well wishers of Mr. Santanu’s locality, as in that way to speak he didn’t have much of his relatives still alive. So after all these when I didn’t find much strange things to happen, I found out time for my biggest suspect Mr. Sudesh. Very truly what Mr. Agontuk had said, Mr. Sudesh was a very quiet guy and was 34. Not sure whether because Mr. Santanu was not his own brother, but whatever it is, it never seemed that he has lost his only brother. Another thing that took away my attention was, I was expecting a very absolute question about why I am investigating the case, when this was a clear case of heart attack, which he never asked me. So if he was really involved in this then why would he not mind me investigating for this case? My belief then gradually started turning to a strong one when in my second round of investigation by keeping watch on Mr. Santanu’s house, I came to know that Mr. Sudesh had never been to Mr. Santanu’s floor even, since his death. Investigating deeper, I came to know Mr. Santanu’s bank balances were also intact. This again put some light on Mr. Sudesh being not much involved in Mr. Santanu’s death.
Then after few more days of my investigation, when I just started thinking that this case actually has nobody’s intention except God’s, I got to find out something unusual. One day when I was again keeping a watch on Mr. Santanu’s house I found one lady almost around 30+, just came and started knocking on the door. It was quite noticeable that the lady was trying hard to cover her full face by drawing her sari over her forehead. Since Mr. Sudesh also was not in by that time, the lady after few times trying was leaving. I tried to run after her but at one crossing I just lost her in complete darkness. I was unfortunate but I didn’t leave hope. I tried to get some information from the local peoples who actually the lady was. But what they told dug out another new way in my investigation. They all said that they have never got to see her face but she comes, only at night time, but again very rarely. She has almost started coming after Mr. Santanu’s wife’s death. There might had been some relationship building among them, was what they were saying. They also made me believe that since she was very poor as was understood from her dressing, she might was trying to mould Mr. Santanu in her love to become only owner of his property after his death. But to what I was very surprised was Mr. Agontuk not at all being aware of this fact. How can this be possible? The person, who was closest to Mr. Santanu and almost knew each and every small details of his life, how can he miss out this important fact? Anyway as nobody knew that lady’s address and I didn’t get to see her for the next day, I had only one option left in my hand of asking Mr. Sudesh itself. But unfortunately I again got another pause in my investigation as Mr. Sudesh told me that he can’t give me time for another few days.
That night was again a crucial night for me when I just lighted one cigarette and pushing back on my sofa started gathering all clues and hints of my investigation. The first and foremost thing was Mr. Santanu’s death due to heart attack! To some extent I also started believing that this is not normal. What tension just led him to death? Second if Mr. Sudesh had any wrong intentions, then why are bank balance and other things not saying so? Is he waiting for another WTC crash or me to apart from this case completely? Also to keep in mind that Mr. Sudesh was in no matters less than Mr. Santanu. At least he has that enough wealth to stay luxurious life alone. So what greed else can he have? The only difference I noticed was Mr. Santanu’s friendly nature and Mr. Sudesh maintaining his dignity. So can this be the reason for jealousy to that extent that a person can kill another person? Next comes the point of the lady – a high chance of her also being involved in this case. But I am not sure of her intentions in specific. Even if she had had any wrong intentions, how could she excite or threat Mr. Santanu in such a way, that he died of severe heart attack? That day just a glance of that lady also doesn’t allow me now to think of her in this manner. But of course if that had remained her pretention that day then it’s completely a different matter. Lastly as I believe not to leave anybody out of my suspicions, I have to bring Mr. Agontuk as well into the picture. Only thing that struck me about him was his unawareness of the lady in Mr. Santanu’s house. My fag was over by this time and I went to bed straight away.
At last I got hold of Mr. Sudesh, after one week. I came to know couple of very important things from him that helped me to draw some lines of conclusion. The lady was none other than Mrs. Shakuntala, wife of late Mr. Ramdin, who used to work in Mr. Santanu’s concern. After his death, his wife was getting his pension. Also Mr. Santanu showed some pity on their family seeing their poverty and took responsibility of their only son as well. So to collect that money only, she used to come by self and meet Mr. Santanu personally and also thank him at the same time. After few more exchange of words, I came to know about the last interaction Mr. Sudesh had with Mr. Santanu on the day of Mr. Santanu’s death. Mr. Sudesh told that since he was busy in a meeting that day, he was unable to pick up Mr. Santanu’s call, not once but almost for 8 times. Lastly Mr. Santanu had sent him an SMS stating “r u k? wats agntk telling?”
After this I was pretty much clear of the case and the last thing I did was, I visited Mr. Agontuk’s house. There when I was waiting in his study, suddenly I got hold of few drafts which were having the same stories written on it, which I have seen in Mr. Santanu’s show case as books published in Mr. Santanu’s name as a writer. Yes that is it! I was just holding the papers in my hand when Mr. Agontuk suddenly entered and seeing those, fell down on his knees and started crying. I asked him, “So is this the reason why you did all these, and which forced Mr. Santanu to send the SMS to Mr. Sudesh stating, ‘Are you ok? What is Agontuk telling?’?” He answered “Yes. I had great passion towards writing from very childhood. But due to lack of money or source, whatever you want to say, I couldn’t publish any. They were still drafts when I came across Mr. Santanu. As I became closer to him, I started sharing my feelings and vice versa. Mr. Santanu no doubted was a great personality, but as he came to know about my sorrow, he took a chance and played a trick to become famous. He gave me the idea that he would invest to publish my books, but he would do so with his name as a writer. My interest would be only me knowing my writing getting published and everyone outside are reading those. I had no other option than to agree to this. But really I started envying him when I saw him becoming famous with my work and me staying in the same position as earlier. I requested him also couple of times to allow me to publish few with my name, but he never agreed to that. He even agreed to increase my salary, but not my name in terms of fame. Frankly speaking I knew that Mr. Sudesh was his greatest weakness. I just wanted to take a small revenge by harassing him, but never thought that this would be the consequence. It was only because of all these, that I wanted to repent and so I came to you thinking that this case can’t be solved. But how clues are left, now I can make out and match them with stories I used to read. I went to his cabin and just whispered that somehow I came to know that Mr. Sudesh is going to commit suicide, but am unable to know the actual reason. So please go and stop him, as he would only listen to you.”
Quite clear the case was solved. Mr. Agontuk surely got some punishment as he had some intentions, direct or indirect behind Mr. Santanu’s death. But I kept all his drafts as my extra gift that Mr. Agontuk promised at the beginning of the case.