23rd December, 2014 7:46p.m
The Patil mansion resembled a royal palace, bright and colourful, decorated with lights, like it was on Diwali. The place was filled with enthusiasm, people chattering and laughing everywhere. A perfect party, one can say.
Aayushi was very excited about the surprise, she pushed the door open as soon as she reached the room.
“Naanu, switch on the lights now, we all are ready. “ shouted Aayushi. She shouted again, but there was no answer. Everybody was waiting for the surprise, so Anant switched the lights on .
The first thing they saw was blood, on the walls, the carpet, it was all over the room. The blood stains combined with the party set up had created an eerie surprise. But, what Sakshi saw was more than the blood stains, Mr Patil was lying in a pool of blood on the floor .She rushed towards him ,he was trying to say something ,but
“Sakshi…………….careful………..will kill ”was all he could manage to say. He struggled to show something to Sakshi. He pointed his finger towards the wall on his right and the next moment he lay there motionless, his eyes staring at the ceiling and his mouth wide open.
23rd December, 2014 8:20p.m
Sakshi could feel the coolness of water sprinkled on her, she opened her eyes.
It was the first thought that came to her as she woke up. He was gone. It was the strangest feeling ever.
“Sakshi, are you alright?” asked Anant. Aayushi hugged her tightly and burst out crying.
“Mama, I’m sorry, I’m very sorry, I should not have forced Naanu for the surprise .” cried Aayushi, tears rolling down her cheeks.
Sakshi listened to Aayushi in silence. She was blank, just sat in a corner staring at her father who now seemed calm. A woman of courageous nature and investigative skills, who had handled numerous murder cases now sat in a corner looking perplexed and shattered.
Sakshi Patil, mid-thirties, good looking and intelligent, currently the Inspector of Police is very precious to her father Mr Deepak Patil, a renowned lawyer in Mumbai . She got married to Anant Desai, a charming businessman, one of the top 5 entrepreneurs in India. After two years of marriage they had a daughter whom they named Aayushi.
But, trouble started brewing between the couple lately. They had numerous fights on financial matters due to the loss incurred by Anant’s firm. Anant wanted Mr Patil’s help for future investments whereas Sakshi wanted Anant to pay off his dues before investing further. They had been separated for six months.
But, the bad times do fade away. Anant and Sakshi had decided to reunite. So, Mr Patil had decided to organise a grand party on this occasion as it was a new and a happy beginning, end of trouble in the family. Little did he know that the trouble in the family had not ended but was going to get worse.
“Shall we send the body for autopsy?” asked Nadeem, the sub inspector.
Nadeem Sheikh, 6’2, handsome and able-bodied, had joined the police force with great determination to serve the country and who idolises his superior and friend, Sakshi.
Sakshi took a deep breath and wiped the tears away.
“Nadeem, I will handle this case myself and please send the….. body for autopsy immediately.” replied Sakshi. “Try to collect all the evidence, do not neglect anything, check for DNA samples. I want to catch the killer ASAP” she instructed.
“Sure. The team is still searching, hopefully we can wrap it up in an hour. I know it must be very hard for you, but you have to be strong Sakshi.” said Nadeem.
Sakshi glanced at the room one last time before leaving, especially the wall pointed to by her father.
“Papa loved sketching…” she thought
The wall had the sketches and portraits made by her father. It was both a happy and painful memory for the family. “A collage of my childhood memories, and nothing more…”she thought as she left.
25th December 9:00 a.m
It was a sunny morning , trees looked greener and the roads were clean as the autumn bid goodbye and the spring had set in. Sakshi had just entered the Andheri police station in her casual shirt and trousers and as she headed to her cabin gestured Nadeem to come in.
Two days had passed since her father’s death. She knew it couldn’t be postponed anymore, she had vowed to use every minute to the fullest,
“I will catch you soon…” thought Sakshi as she took the autopsy reports from Nadeem.
“The killer was very clever, there were no fingerprints or DNA samples. He was careful enough not to leave any forensic evidence.” said Nadeem. “But ,we did find a chain with an OM locket in the fish bowl .” he continued.
“What?” asked Sakshi
“Yes, and the evidence is in front of you” said Nadeem pointing to the plastic bag on the table.
Sakshi examined the chain carefully.
“It’s impossible!” cried Sakshi. “This chain is exactly like the one I am wearing, I mean…. it’s exactly like the chains my father specially got crafted for his family and close friends.” replied Sakshi.
“So does it mean the killer is somebody close to you?” he asked.
“I am not sure , may be or maybe not. It also could be someone who planted this as an evidence so that we suspect the ones close to my father. After all, my father’s profession had made him more enemies than friends.” she said.
“So, where do we start from?” asked Nadeem.
“Let’s start from the domestic staff and next move on to the event organisers.” said Sakshi. “I guess, it was the Glad Events consultants.”
“Okay, I will ask Raman to inform the domestic staff, you can do their questioning and I will head to the event organizers office.” said Nadeem.
25th December 9:48a.m
The sun was shining brighter now, the cool breeze was making her drowsy. Suddenly the phone rang, Sakshi picked it up.
“Madam, the domestic staff are waiting for you.” said the constable. “Also, there is a parcel for you madam.”
She chuckled. “A parcel?” she asked.
“Okay, I am coming” said Sakshi and hung up.
Sakshi headed downstairs confused, thinking about all the events which happened that day.
The room was filled by the thirty staff members who worked for her family.”
“I know it’s not them…….. but I will have to do it .” she thought.
“Did any of you’ll notice any stranger trying to enter the house? Or did anybody enter the house without an invitation or permit” asked Sakshi watchfully.
“I haven’t allowed any stranger to enter Madam, and I allowed the guests only after verifying the invitation.” said Ramu, the security head.
“Were both the front and back gates monitored? Did you see anything suspicious?” she questioned.
“Madam, there was nothing suspicious in the footage, the constable checked it too.” he replied looking bewildered.
She asked few more questions but nobody seemed to have any answers about the killer. Sakshi had observed that one of the helpers was nervously biting his nails and seemed to be under great pressure. She couldn’t recognize him ,
“He must be a new worker” she thought.
“You..” said Sakshi as she beckoned to him.
“You seem nervous; do you have something to tell? she asked.
“Yes, madam” he replied. “Please, do not arrest me madam, I was in need of money, I wouldn’t have made that mistake otherwise. I am an honest person, believe me…”he said
.“I have no time to waste, so you better tell the truth .” shouted Sakshi.
“Madam, that day during the party I saw Param sir going up to the terrace. He was drunk, I tried to stop him but he was totally out of control, he said it was important. He gave me his gold chain and all the money he had just to let him go upstairs. Since I was in need of money, I accepted and let him go.” said the helper.
“Are you sure it was Param Deshmukh?” asked Sakshi.
“Did the chain have an OM locket?”
“Where is it?”
“That chain is not with me Madam.”
“What do you mean? Did you sell it”
“No, Madam. Actually a close relative of yours spotted me. She took away the chain from me and warned me not to do such a thing again.”
“What??? Who was she? Tell me the name.” shouted Sakshi.
“I don’t recognise her, Madam” he replied.
“You don’t recognise her, then how can you say she’s a close relative of ours?” she asked.
“That’s because she was also wearing the OM locket, Madam.” he replied
Sakshi fell silent.
‘ But how is this possible’ she thought.
“Did anybody else come in or go out through that door?” she asked.
“I don’t know” he replied.
“How can you do such a thing ,don’t you know it’s dangerous.” she asked.
Everybody was silent, tensed and frightened.
“I’ve had enough of this nonsense. Just leave now” shouted Sakshi.
Sakshi sat down, stressed and furious. She had forgotten about the parcel.
“So Ms.Sakshi has a surprise gift. Hmm…must be one of Aayushi’s surprises isn’t it.” joked Nadeem trying to lighten the mood.
“I can’t believe Param is the killer”she said.
“We can’t come to conclusions so easily, Sakshi.” said Nadeem. “Do not take any decisions now.You have to be calm and patient in order to find the killer. Also, Param is not a murderer but just a teenager” he continued.
Sakshi knew that Nadeem was right, she needed to be calm and focused and not emotional.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“Are you feeling alright now” asked Nadeem smiling.
“So, let’s open your parcel then.” he said.
Sakshi opened the parcel slowly unwrapping the multiple layers of paper, disinterested about what it contained.
It was a message which read,
How easy it is not to be sought or seen;
Hiding from existence,
Missing its eloquence…
When feelings resurge
to question the misery of what has been
with a pathetic urge.
“The killer seems to have a poetic interest.” exclaimed Nadeem. “What do you think Sakshi?”
She was lost in thought.
“Sakshi, what are you thinking?” asked Nadeem.
“Nothing, it’s just that I feel I know this person. .” she said.
“Considering the chain, it may be true.” said Nadeem.
She remained silent for a while, “So, what happened at the event organizer’s office? Is there anything important?” asked Sakshi
“The manager seems to be pretty confident about the staff, he says all of their employees are trustworthy and he doesn’t doubt anyone.” said Nadeem as he took the coffee cup. “He looked more confused than confident.”
“Were there any newly recruited workers?” she asked
“No, he said they hadn’t recruited any new workers lately.” replied Nadeem sipping his coffee.
The clock struck five, Sakshi was anxious to meet Param. She was also curious to know who that woman was.
“Nadeem, I want to speak to all the close friends of my father. Let’s go to the Deshmukh’s residence first and then the others. ”said Sakshi.
“All I want, is to catch my father’s killer.”
25th December, 2014 6:23p.m
The Deshmukh’s residence was similar to the Patil’s, a beautiful and grand piece of architecture. It clearly resembled the grandeur of the esteemed Deshmukh family.
“Do you really think Param is the killer?” whispered Nadeem as they walked into the house. But before Sakshi could reply, Mrs Deshmukh greeted them with a smile and engaged her in a conversation.
Mr Deshmukh had just entered the house along with his son. Param clearly looked nervous.
“I’m really happy you’ve come here beta, we are always there for you.” said Mr Deshmukh.
“You will have to come here this weekend with Anant and Aayushi for lunch. Patil sahib will always want to see you’ll smile and be happy” said Mrs Deshmukh.
“You look tensed Sakshi. Is there any problem?” asked Mr Deshmukh.
Without mincing her words, Sakshi told the Deshmukh’s everything that the helper told her. The parents were shocked to hear that their son had started drinking.
“Param, I trust you. Please tell me the truth.” said Sakshi
“I’m sorry Sakshi didi, I do not deserve your trust. I am a drunkard and drug addict now, nobody can trust me because the need for drugs makes me a demon. I am such an idiot.” said Param .He started crying.
“How dare you do this Param?” shouted Mr Deshmukh.
“Param did you kill my father?” asked Sakshi.
Param stopped crying, everyone was silent.
“What? No, never. Deepak uncle was like a father to me? I will never think of doing that.” replied Param.
“Okay, so tell me, did you see anybody enter through the terrace door? Or did you find anybody suspicious?” she asked.
“I went up to the terrace to meet a person who called and promised to supply the drugs. His face was a lot more like that of a young school boy but as soon as I went up, he just sprinkled something in my eyes and it hurt a lot. Then I fell asleep. An hour later I came down and saw that the place was surrounded by police, so I left immediately.” said Param.
25th December, 2014 11:35p.m
Five hours had passed; Sakshi was waiting outside the operation theatre. She was scared and was crying uncontrollably. Anant had met with an accident and was in a critical condition. She rushed to the hospital as soon as she got the call. Sakshi sat praying in a corner as the doctors carried out the operation.
“Madam, Nadeem sir is at the accident spot to carry out the investigation and he has asked you not to worry.” said the constable.
“Okay” replied Sakshi tiredly.
“Madam, there’s also a parcel for you.” he said.
“Where is it? Who gave this to you” she asked
“It was given to me by a woman in a burqa, she said it was an important message for you.” said the constable handing out the parcel.
Sakshi opened it hastily; it was a message which read,
Is it fate or your belief which rules you?
So you believe in god, do you?
will your God save your loved ones in danger?
Is your belief stronger than your fate,
Try to save the life of the one you gave life to,
Time is bound to change,
What was hidden so long is not anymore.
You will find it where it was left
Now it all made sense, Sakshi thought. The chain with the OM locket, her father pointing to the sketches on the wall, that woman with the OM locket.
Sakshi left the hospital immediately after receiving the message. She drove towards the Patil mansion.
“All the sketches on the wall had the face of Prachi on the other side; Papa always did that as a memory of Prachi. Ah, why didn’t I think of it earlier.” she thought.
Mr Patil loved both his daughters very much. But, an unfortunate event took one of his daughters away. Prachi Patil, his elder daughter was arrested for killing a neighbour’s child. Prachi was nine years old when this incident happened. She had pushed her friend in an attempt to protect her sister and accidentally killed her.
Sakshi reached the house and headed straight to the terrace.
“Aayushi…..Aayushi” she shouted.
“Prachi.., where are you” she shouted.
“So finally you’re here Sakshi” she heard a voice say. She knew it was Prachi.
“Don’t worry your daughter’s safe. I have no hatred against her.”
“Wow, the last chapter of my revenge story” she exclaimed.
“Prachi, how could you kill your own father?” shouted Sakshi. “What happened that day was an accident, Papa was not responsible for your arrest.”
“Oh! is it. So are you saying I was responsible? I did that to protect you and I was sent to jail for that. ? Prachi shouted back.
“I never thought that the killer I was hunting for so long would be my own sister. You’ve plotted against your own family, aren’t you ashamed of yourself.” said Sakshi
“Oh, so you know how I did this.” Prachi said.
“It had been so easy to trick that fool Param to open that door and take my revenge. And that locket, it clearly must have made you crazy. You have got all fools at your home. That stupid helper of yours, he acted exactly as I wanted.” she laughed.
“Ah yes, I am also responsible for your husband’s accident. I enjoyed watching you panic and suffer. You can never imagine how painful it is to lead a life among criminals.” she continued
“We tried to speak to you when you were in jail, but you never wanted to speak to us. And then you went missing.” said Sakshi.
“If you think by saying all this you can escape your death, you’re mistaken dear.” said Prachi as she pointed the gun towards Sakshi.
“Get ready to die”
“Drop the gun.” shouted Nadeem as he entered with the police officers.
Sakshi had messaged Nadeem before leaving the hospital, asking him to reach the Patil mansion soon along with the police force .
“Hmm you acted wise today too, Sakshi. But, I will not leave until I take my revenge. Nobody can stop me.” shouted Prachi , and then she fired the gun at Sakshi.
She jumped away.
“Surrender now or I will shoot you.” ordered Nadeem.
“You can’t do that.” laughed Prachi.
“No……”screamed Sakshi as she saw her sister jump from the terrace.