Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Shivam Patil, ShortStory 2021 Magazine

PlannedMurderbyMistake.


Me:AurangabadRailwayStationwascrowdedmoresothanusualthatparticularday,Inoticed.ThereseemedtobeaGovernmentExaminIgatpuri,hencethecrowd.WhereverIlooked,Isawnewfaceseverywhere;onplatforms,inwaitingroomsandbelowdisplayboards."MayIhaveyourattentionplease?Trainnumber12072JanshatabdiExpressiswaitingonPlatformNumber3.Peoplearerequestedtonotgetdownandcrosstherailwaytracks,usetheoverheadwalkwayinstead.ThankYou."Theannouncementended,andevensopeoplegotdownonthetrackandstartedclimbingtheJanshatabdiExpress,whichwaitedonPlatformNumber3.Thistrain,whichranbetweenAurangabadandMumbaitillthismomenthadpeoplewhohadreservedtheirtickets,butsinceitalsostoppedatIgatpuri,peoplewhohadn'treservedtheirseatsalsoclimbedonboard.Thehordeofpeoplewerealsoblockingotherpassengerswhoindeedhadpurchasedaticketandreservedtheirplaceonthetrain.ThesituationwasdifferentforthepassengersinA/Ccompartmenthowever,astheysatintheirluxuriousseats,waitingforthetraintodepart.Inonesuchluxuriousseats,satSharmilaInamdar.FortytoFiftyyearsofage,shehadarecognizablemarkonherwrist.DrapedinatraditionSalwar-Kamiz,thiswomanwasaCriminalPsychologistandProfessor.Shewasalsoawriter.Shewasglancingatthechaoswhichwashappeningoutsideherwindow,occasionallysneakingglancesatthenewspaperwhichshewasreading.Theirluxurycompartmenthadspacetooccupyfourpassengers,fourincludingher,whilsttheotherthreestillhadn’tshownup.Afewmomentslater,thetrainmovedandthevoicesontheplatformfaded.Assoonastheyleftthestation,shewasgreetedwiththeusualsights;worndownrailwaycoaches,oldandrustyrailwayenginesandmore.Inthatmoment,Ienteredthecompartment,stowingthetrolleyandhandbagaway,Icameandsatontheseatoppositeher.Iwentaheadandrummagedapenandanotebookfrommyhandbag,andstartedscribblingaway.Thepenhowever,wasn’tworkingproperly.IwasattemptingtofixitwhenSharmilaMa’amsaid;-

Sharmila:Slidesthenewspapertowardme.Trywritingonthis. Me:Smiling.Stilltryingtomakemypenwork.ThankYou. Sharmila:Lookhere,letmegiveitatry. Me:Islidemypenandnewspapertowardher.Yessure.

Sharmila:Takingtheapparatusfromme,shegivesthePenaviolentjerkandtheinkflowsonthenewspaper.There,it’sworkingnow.Experience,itellyou,alwayshelps.SowhendidyoucomebackfromPune?Sheaskedinaserioustone.

Me:Confused.Yourecognizedme?Howdidyouknow? Sharmila:Theairporttraveltagonyourhandbagtoldmeso.



Me:OhIsee...YouaresmartSharmilamadam. Sharmila:Alittletakenaback.Howdidyouknow?InallhonestyIhaveseenyousomewhere.

Me:Laughing,Ipointedatthenewspaperandwhatshehadscribbled.99%peoplewritetheirownnamewhilescribbling.

Sharmila:Okay...Youareasmartoneaswell.

Me:Iextendedmyhandforahandshake.SagarSarpodar.IownabusinessinPune,wasonanofficialtripinAurangabad.NowIhaveaflighttoDelhidepartingfromMumbai.

Sharmila:Shakingmyhand.Okay...SharmilaInamdar,asyouseemtoknow...CriminalpsychologistandprofessoratChennaiCollege.IhaveatrainfromMumbaitoChennai.

Me:SharmilaInamdar?AreyouthecriminalpsychologistwhowrotethePerfectRevenge?Isthatyou?

Sharmila:Nodding.Yesthat’sme.Haveyoureadit?

Me:NoIhaven’t;butIhaveheardalotaboutit.Awoman,whosesisterhadanaffairwithanotherman,goesonamurderousrampagetoavengehisdeath.That’stheplotright?

Sharmila:Leansbackinherseat.Yes.

Me:Ohh...Greattomeetyou...actually,IamahugeappreciatorofThrillernovels.Infact,Iamplanningonwritingonemyself.Allthesame,hesuggestedmethatbookofyours;butinevergotthechancetoreadit.Bytheway,somepeoplesaythat

Sharmila:Sharmilafinishedhissentence.Thatthetaleisbasedonmyreallifeexperience.Yes,Iamaware.ImurderedmySister'sloverwithsuchperfection,thatnoonewasabletosolvethatcase.That’swhattheysayright?

Me:Yes,andwhatdoyouthinkoftheserumors?

Sharmila:Idon’thaveanythingtosay.Istaymute.Idon’tcomment.IhaveanopinionSagar;CorruptionandMurder,ifapersonindulgingineitheroftheseismanagingthemwithperfectionwithoutgettingcaught,thenIconsiderthemtobetalented.PoliceDepartments,InvestigativeAgencies,DetectiveCommittee,ifnoneofthesecouldsolvethecase,thenIwouldcallitanart,andisn’tthatbrimmingwithtalent?

Me:Areyouimplyingthistaleisbasedonrealevents?

Sharmila:RummagesinherbagandhandsabooktoSagar.TruthorLies,it’samatterofperception;andIleavethatjudgmenttoyou.Readitandtellme,ifit’saperfectmurderornot.

Me:Iamsurethebookisgoingtobeamazing;butasareaderofthethrillergenre,iknowonething;


Nomurderisperfect.

Sharmila:No.Thetechniqueinthisbooktoexecutethemurderisperfect.Thereseemstobenoothertechniquewhichisbetterthanthis.

Me:Idon’tbelieveyou.

Atthatverymoment,theTTeentersthecompartment. TTe:TurnstowardSharmila.SharmilaInamdar? Sharmila:Yes,that’sme.

TTe:LooksatSagar.AndyoumustbeSagaSarpodar...DoyouhaveanID?

Me:IproceedtofishouttheIDwhenTTesays.It’snotneeded...Thankyousir...Me:IlookatSharmila.Whathappened? Sharmila:Sagar,let’splayagame;interested? Me:Laughing.Game?WhatGame?

Sharmila:YoubelieveNomurderisperfect...Ichallengeyou.I'llgiveyouabriefsummaryofthisstory,afterthat,youcantellmeifthemurderwasperfectornot,ifitwasn't;thenyouhavetotellmehowyouwould'veexecutedthemurderinthissameexactstoryscenario.

Me:Laughing.Ifyoureallywantmetobeacritic,Idon’tmind.Fine,Iaminterested.Sharmila:Okaythen...Shallwebegin? Me:Definitely.

Sharmila:Sincethisstoryiswritteninfirstpersonperspective,thewriterofthisstoryisthemaincharacter.SoIwillassumehercharacterandreadfromherperspective.

Me:Nodding.Okay.

Sharmila:Startsreadingthebook.7.5BillionPeopleinhabitthisworldandyetthereisonlyonetruththatprevails;thatnothingisfree.Everybiteyoueat,everypeacefulsleep,anythingandeverything,needstobeearned.Andevenso,therearetimeswhenwehumansarefacedwithchoicesandsituationswherewehavetorelyoncheating,lyinganddishonestytogetby;butIwasn’tbornheretobeapartofthesepeople.That’swhyIalwaysreliedonmyheadandmythoughts.ThisisoneofthereasonsIwascountedasoneofthemostimportantpeopleinthecity.Ihadestablishedmanyabusiness.Ihadeverything.Respect,Money,Successandayoungersister;hernamewasShamali,ShamaliInamdar.AsIsaid;Ialwaysreliedonmybrains;andhenceIdidn’tgetmarried.Onceyou



tieyourselfintheshacklesofmarriage,Irealized,youcankissallyourdreamsandaspirationsgoodbye.Hence,Ididn’twantmysistertosuccumbtothoseshacklesaswell.IfulfilledallofShamali'swishes,alwaysshoweringherwithfourtimesasmanywishesshedesired;vehicles,houses,servants,whatevershedesired,Iprovided.Butmaybethiswasmylapseofjudgment;aswhatshewantedfromthebottomofherheart,Iwasn’tabletoprovide.IhadventuredintoanewbusinessandhenceIusedtostayinmyofficeforlongperiodsoftime,andatourhousetoo,iwasalwaysbusywiththesamework.Onenight,Iwasreturninglate,andIspiedShamalisittinginfrontofhermirror,sadandcrestfallen.

Scenario1:

Sharmila-Notsleepy?

Shamali:Idon’twishto;itmeansiwillbeobligatedtowakeuptomorrow,andspendanotherslow,longday.

Sharmila:Irritated.IamnotinamoodtohaveanotherargumentShamali.Youwilldivertthetopicagain,andwewillreachthesameconclusion;whichis,Idon’twantyoutogetajob.Infact,whywouldyoueverwantone?Whatareyoulacking?

Shamali:Turnsaround,herfacestreamingwithtears.Idon’thaveanythingelsetodo,otherthanstayinthisbungalow!

Sharmila:Idon’twantyoutoworkandgothroughthesamethingsIgothrougheveryday!Iputmyhandonhershoulder.Youthinkaboutthisalot,resultinginthesenegativethoughts.Youcanspendyourtimeoutsidewiththatfriendofyours,what’shername;Sharvari.She'srelocatedhereinthiscity,goandhangoutatherplace.Gotomarketsandmalls.Didn’tyoutellmeshe’slearningguitar?

Youshoulddothattoo,there’salotofthingswhichyoucando,allyougottodoisgiveitatry!Iwillaskaroundforamusicteachertomorrow.

Sharmila:theverynextday,Iaskedmymanagertobookanappointmentwithamusicteacher.Hedroppedbyafteracoupleofdays,whichwaswhenIcametoknow;thatshamalihadalreadycalledamusicteacherbyherown.Thenoneevening,sheintroducedhimtome

Scenario2:

Shamali:Tai,meetVikrant.HewasajuniortomeandSharvariinourcollege.HealsoteachesSharvari.

Sharmila:Okay…HelloVikrant,howareyou?



Vikrant:Iamfinema’am.

Sharmila:Sohowlonghaveyoubeenplayingtheguitar? Vikrant:It’sbeenclosetofouryearsma’am,IamalsoaparttimeDJ.

Sharmila:Okay...Good.

Sharmila:VikrantwasyoungertoShamali.Slim,withcurlyhair,almostnonexistentfacialhair,andabeautifulsmile.

Me:IcalltheChaiwala.Sharmilamadam,youwantsometea? Sharmila:Nothanks.

Me:Ibuymyselfacupoftea.Okay,sohowdidVikrant’sarrivalchangethings?

Sharmila:Alotofthingschanged.Shamali’sbehaviorchangedaftershemetVikrant.EarlierIusedtobegreetedwithShamaliandhersadfacewhenIcamehome,nowIusedtoseeherbeamingwithhappiness.Oneevening,IcamehomeandIheardVikrant’svoice.WhenIreachedtheguestroom,IspiedshamaliandVikrant,sittingwiththeirguitars.Bothofthemweredifferentthantheirusualselves.Thewaytheylaughed;Ifiguredtheirconversationsweren’trestrictedtojustguitars.Theyfellsilentassoonastheysawme.Igavethemalookandwalkedaway.Afterthatincident,Istartedkeepingaclosewatchonmylittlesister.Istartedkeepingtabsonher;askedherdriveraboutherdailyactivities.Whatdoesshedo?Whomdoesshemeet?Howdoesshespendhertime?Oneday,ijustaskedShamaliaquestion,outofsheercuriosity;

Scenario3

Sharmila:SohowareyourGuitarsessionsgoing? Shamali:Stammered.They'regoingok.Whydoyouask? Sharmila:Youdon’thaveanyproblemwithVikrantright?

Shamali:No...Whywouldyouthinkso?We'reworkingonitstepbystep...Let’sdropthis.Iamhungry...canwehavedinner?

Sharmila:WheneveritriedtoinquireaboutVikrant,shedodgedthequestions.Timepassed,andiinvestedmyselfinmyofficeworkevenmore.ButIstillmanagedtokeepmyselfupdatedconcerningshamali.ThenOneday,shamaliaskedme-



Scenario4

Shamali:Heyuh...Sharvarihasarrangedasmallprogramatherplacedayaftertomorrow;shewantstogoandshopforafewthingsbeforethatandinvitedmetogowithher.SocanI?

Sharmila:Yeahsure...Goahead...EvenIhaveaholidayonthatday,sohowaboutiaccompanyyouaswell?

Shamali:Stammering.Yeahsurewhynot.Sharvari’sbrotherwantedtomeetyouanyways,hehadsomeofficerelatedworkhewantedtoinquireabout.

Sharmila:It’sdecidedthen,let’sgo.Don’tforgettonotifythemboththatwearegoingtogether...Shamali:Yesiwill.Iamgoingthererightnowanyways.OkthenIwillbebacksoon,bye...Sharmila:Okaybye...

Sharmila:Ihadplayedmycardsright.Ihadconvincedmysistertoletmeaccompanyherunderthepretextofshoppingyes,butwhatshedidn’tknow,wasthathersisterwasn’taninnocentandordinaryperson,andwhatihaddoubtedactuallycametofruitiononthatfaithfulday.Shamali’sdrivernotifiedmethatVikranttoohadaccompaniedmysisterandSharvaritothemall.

Me:Whichmeansyourprotagonist'sdoubtswerevalidated?

Sharmila:Indeed.Hundredpercent.Shereadson.OnedaypriortoDiwali,Iwasinmyroom,documentingsomeofficework,whenoneofmyservantsknockedonmydoor,cameinsideandtoldmethattherewasaboywhoclaimedthatShamalihadforgottenherphoneathisplace.Andindeed,thephonewashers.Icheckedthephoneafterhewentawayandnoticedthattherewere28missedcalls.Shamalideliberatelyhadn’tsavedthisnumber.WhenIcalledthatnumber,IrealizedthatitbelongstoVikrant.Iwaspissed.IcalledafewofmyassociatesandinquiredaboutVikrant,gatheringalltheinformationIcouldandIrealizedthathehaddonesomethingsimilarinthepast;makegirlsfallinlovewithhim,usethemtofulfillhisulteriormotivesandthenleavethem.

Me:OkaysoatthispointofthestoryourprotagonistkillsVikrantright?

Sharmila:Shakesherhead.No.Notyet.Therearestillthingslefttouncover,thingswhichyoucan’tforetell.Buthe'sgoingtogetmurdered,that’scertain.

Me:Totheaudience.TherewasarailwayannouncementatIgatpuristation,thetrainwasdeparting.Ihadslippedawaytothewashroom.Iaskwhilewipingmyhandsonahandkerchief.Sorry...Sowhathappenednext?DidShamali’ssisteraccompanyhertotheprogram?



Sharmila:Ofcourse!Shewouldn’tmissit.Shereadson.Wereachedthevenue.Therewerealotofguestspresentattheparty,butSharvari’sbrotherwasnowheretobeseenashewasattendingameetingelsewhere.Inallhonesty,Ihadnointentionofmeetinghim.ThatwasjustalieIhadtold

Shamali.Thisparty,InoticedalsohadaDJ.IfoundmyselfatableandstartedscanningforthepersonwhoIhadnodoubtwaspresentattheparty,andmydoubtswerevalidated.IsawshamaliontheDJplatform;smilingandlaughing,andnexttoher,theDJwasbeingcontrolledbyVikranthimself.

Me:StaringatSharmila.Didtheprotagonistfindanyothercluesthatwouldverifyhersuspicions?

Sharmila:Yes,amajorcluewhichrenderedeveryscopeofnegotiationandsecondthoughtsuseless.Shereadson.Itwasthenightof22ndDecember.EveryonewasbusypreparingforNewYear’sparty.Shamali,foroneweekhadtravelledtoKolhapurtovisitoneofherfriends.Shehadreturnednottwodaysago.Thenextmorning,someonerangthelandline.ItwasfromsomehotelinLonavala,"Madam,I'mcallingfromHotelGreenroom.Youandyourhusbandrecentlystayedinourhotel,sojustwantedtoaskifyouhadanyfeedback."Thatwasthefinalnailinthecoffin,thismanhadcrossedthelineandhencedidn'tdeservetolive.IdecidedtovisitLonavalamyselftocheckthisplaceout.Inoticedthereweretwonamesunderroom301inHotelGreenroof;ShamaliandVikrant.Thiswasit.Ihaddecided,thatVikrantwoulddiesuchahorribledeath,thatnomanwouldeverthinkaboutdoingsomethingsimilartowhathedid.IwantedtoavengeallthewomenVikranthadcheatedon.Revengeindeedisthebestintoxicant.Therewasadifferenthighinseeingyourenemiesdieinfrontofyoureyes,andforVikrant,itwouldbeduringtheNewYear’spartywhichihadarranged.ApartyIhadarrangedwiththesolepurposeofsanctioninghisdeathwarrant.Thevenuewasacruiseboat,arrangedinassociationwithmyBusinesspartner;andwealsohiredVikrantasaDJoncontractualbasis.On31stDecember,wheneveryonewasblinddrunk,IcalledVikrantinasecludedanddarkcorneroftheboat

Scenario5

Sharmila:HappynewyearVikrant. Vikrant:Drunk.Sametoyouma’am.HappyNewYear.Helooksaround.Butwhydidyoucallmehere?Sharmila:Youareanamazingartist. Vikrant:Drunkenly.Yesyou'rerightma’am.DJ'ingisanart,however...

Sharmila:Interruptsbeforehecouldfinishhissentence.Youmisunderstandme...Iwasn’timplyingthat.

Vikrant:Drunkenly.Thenwhatisitma’am? Sharmila:Conningsomanyyoungwomenunderthepretextofloveandthenbetrayingthemso



effortlesslyisalsoaworkofart,isn’tit? Vikrant:Wipesthesweatoffofhisbrow.What?Whatdoyoumean? Sharmila:Shoutsandslapshisacrosstheface.Shutup!

Vikrant:Ma'amI...Iamsorryma'am.Iamtellingthetruth,Iwasn’ttheonewhostartedit.Ididn’thaveanythinginmymind.Pleasema’am,letmego...Iambeggingyou.

Sharmila:Inthatfleetingmoment,whilehewasbeggingme,Iactuallyconsideredhisapology,butthenhestartedrunning.IpickedupthesteelrodwhichIhadstowedawayinthedark,andslammeditinhishead.Hewasbleedingprofuselyashestumbled;buthewasstillbreathing.Iwentafterhisneck,stranglinghim.Hewasstrugglingtoescape.Hemanagedtoscratchmyarmwiththosenailsofhis,butIdidn’tloosenmygrip.Afteraminuteandahalf,hisbreathingceased.Hewasdead.Inthedark,Icarriedhislifelessbodyneartheboatsrailing.IfIdisposedofhimlikethis,Iknew,thebodywouldresurfacesoonenough;soIlaidhisbodyinanet,attachedtwostonestoitandflunghimover.Thatwasit...

Me:That’samazing.Theweightofthestoneswouldstopthedecomposingbodyfromresurfacingandthenetwilltheallowsealifeandfishestofeastonhiscorpse.Sharmilastaresatthescarsonherarm.

Sharmila:Shakesherheadwithpride.Andhencetheprotagonistinmystorysaveshersisterandalsomanagestoavengeallthewomenhehadwronged.Andthattooinaspectacularfashion,whereinthepolicecouldneverfindthebodyandthecasecouldneverbesolved.Hence,nosignsofpunishment.Soisn’tthistheperfectmurder?SotellmeMisterThrillerexpert,wouldyouchangesomethinginthisstory,orwouldyouagreethatthisindeedis,aperfectmurder?

Me:ThestoryisaninstantclassicI'dsay.Idon’tknowwhetherit’sauthenticorfalse,butthestorylineisfantastic.But...

Sharmila:Interruptsbeforehecouldfinishhissentence.But?Butwhat?Tellme...

Me:ButIwouldn’tcallthisaperfectmurder.Theperfectmurderistheonewhereyoukillyourenemyandyetyourhandsaren’tstainedbytheirblood.

Sharmila:Stammersandhidesthescarsonherhand.Thentellme;howwouldtheprotagonistorchestrateaperfectmurderinyourtale?Iwanttohearthis.

Me:Okay;butIwon’tgetintothedetails,Iwillgivemerelyashortaccount.Wouldthatsuffice?Sharmila:Sure,butatleastbeginyourstory...



Me:Wellthebeginningofthestoryremainsthesame.Onedayifoundoutthatmyyoungersisterishavinganaffairwithoneofhercollegejuniors.Theboy,Vikrant,teachesmysisterandherfriendhowtoplaytheguitar.Unknowntoeitherofthem,IwaskeepingacloseeyeonmysisterandVikrant,snoopingintospyontheirconversations.Mysister’sfriendhasanoldersisterwhosenameis;let’sassumeforexample,SharmilaInamdar.

Sharmila:Confused.Excuseme?

Me:Trynottogetconfusedbetweentheprotagonists.Letmequotemyselfagain;mysisterishavinganaffairwithVikrant.Andmysister’sfriendhasanoldersiblingnamedSharmilaInamdar.

Sharmila:Okgoon...

Me:Sure...SoIwasplanningonkillingVikrantmyself.Iwasjustwaitingforanopportunitytopresentitself.Onenight,igotbackfromtheofficeandspiedinontheconversationbetweenmysisterandVikrant.

Scenario6

Vikrant:Yourfriend’soldersisterSharmilaisaweirdone.Shedoubtsmefornoreasonatall.Shethinksmeandshamaliarehavinganaffair;butthetruthiswearemerrybecausewearechattingaboutyou.

Mysister:Holdshishand.She’sacriminalpsychologist;doubtingeveryoneisapartofherprofession.

Vikrant:Iknowshelistenstoourconversationsfrombehindthedoor...

Mysister:Don’tworryaboutit.IwilltalktoShamaliaboutthis...Dadawillbehomesoon,letsslipoutthroughthebackdoor.

Me:ThatdayIcametoknowthateventhoughVikranthasanaffairwithmysister,herfriendssister;Sharmila,suspectsVikrantofhavinganaffairwithhersisterShamali.IdugsomeinformationthroughmysourcesandfoundoutthateventhoughSharmilaissmartandintelligent,she’snotassmartasshepresentsherselftobe,andthat’swhenIdecidedthatIwouldn’tkillVikrantmyself,butratherI'dgetthisjobdonebyusingSharmilaasapawn;Iwouldendthisgameinonefellstrokeandmyhandswouldn'tbestainedbysomeoneelse'sblood.

Sharmila:Shocked,shelookson.Whatnext?

Me:WhathappenedSharmilamadam?Whydoyouseemsoshocked?ThiswassupposedtobemystoryandthelastIchecked,IcouldtwistithoweverIwanted...Isn’tthatso?



Sharmila:Stammered.Yes...Yes...You'reright.Please,carryon.

Me:Right...Everythingwasplanned,andnowIwaswaitingforaperfectopportunity,whichinturnpresenteditselfwhenmysisterwentshoppingfortheeventshehadarranged.IknewforcertainthatVikrantwouldbethere,accompanyingher,andIwasalsoawareofthefactthatSharmilawouldbekeepingacloseeyeonhersister.Iliedtoheraboutourcarbeingbrokendown,andinturnaskedhertodrivetherewithherfriend.Andyes,Istoodcorrected;assoonastheyreachedthemall,Sharmila’sdriverspottedVikrant,andrelayedthisinformationbacktoSharmila.Thiswasenoughtovalidatethedoubtswhichranrampantinthemindofthiscriminalpsychologist.Nowwasthetimeforthenextstep.WhenShamalicametovisitmysister,iunbeknownsttoher,stoleherphoneandcalledher28timesfrommynumber.IthenaskedtheservanttodeliverthephonebacktoInamdar,asIknewonceheheardthatname,hewouldn'thandittoanyoneotherthantheoldersibling.Andsoonenough,SharmilacalledmynumberandIanswered,pretendingtobeVikrant.

Sharmila:Whatthef***!

Me:Don’tworryma'am,it’sjustastory... Sharmila:Yes...Pleasecontinue.

Me:Thenightoftheparty.Mysisterwasn’tidiotenoughtoinviteVikranttothepartyherself;assheknewdoingthiswouldopentheroomfordoubts;andhenceshedidn’taddhisnametotheguestlist.However,whenIsawthatshehadaddedthenameofherfriend,aswellasthatofhersister,Vikrantbeingpresenttherebecameimperative.Andhence,IwastheonewhosuggestedcontactingVikrantandgavehimacontractforbeingtheDJforthenight.Shewashappyaboutitnodoubt;andagain,whatIwasaimingfor,happened.SharmilasawhersisterhangingaroundwithVikrant,andnowherdoubtsturnedintoconcreteconfirmation.Wouldyoucareforsometea?

Sharmila:No...Pleasecontinuewiththestory.

Me:Okay...Ihadjustconfirmedallherdoubtsandassumptions,buttheyweren’tenoughtokillVikrant.Forhimtodie,Iwantedherconfirmationstoturnintounbridledhatredandfury.Andthen,Iplayedmylastmove.Iandmyfianc√©edecidedtotraveltoLonavala.Westayedatoneofmyfriend'shotels;HotelGreenroofandbookedaroomusingShamali'sname.Afewdayslater,someonecalledSharmila'slandlinefromapublicphoneboothundertheguiseofaskingforHotelfeedback;andwhenSharmilaherselfdecidedtovisitthissaidestablishment,shenoticedintheEntryRegisterthattherewasindeedaroombookedunderhersisterandVikrant’sname.NowitwasSharmila'smove,asIhadexhaustedallofmine.

Sharmila:Careforsometea?

Me:Sure.

Sharmila:Staresatme.Andthen?



Me:Laughing.SharmilaMa'am,drinkyourtea.Thisismerelyatale...nothingmore.Iwaitedpatiently;forSharmilatomakehermove.TheninthemonthofJanuary,IgotthenewsthatVikranthadjust...disappeared.Thepolicesearchedforhim,butitwastonoavail;theycouldn’tfindanything.Inmymind,IthankedSharmila.Myenemywasdead,andnotadropofbloodwasspilledonmyhands...andthisiswhatIcalledThePerfectMurderandRevenge...

Me:Totheaudience.SharmilaMa'amheldthecupinherhand,shehadn'tmovedamuscleinthelasthalfanhour.IlookedoutsideandrealizedwehadstoppedatKalyanRailwayStation.

Announcementsrangeverywhere,andIsaidtoSharmilaMadam

WellSharmilaMadam,Iamafraidthisismystop.Giveitathoughtanddecidewhosemurderwasperfect.Afterall,it’sjustastory.

Sharmila:Stammering.Yes...Yes...Whynot?WellitwasnicemeetingyouSagar.

Me:Sameherema'am.NowIhaveaflighttocatch.TheworldisasmallplaceSharmilaMa'am,ifthefatewillsit,maybeourpathswillcrossagaininthefuture.Goodbye.

SharmilaherselfgotoutatMumbaiStationandboardedthetraintoChennai,andsatinthesamecompartment,onthesameseatnumber.

Sharmila:Thankgoditwasjustastory...

Atthatmoment,someoneopenedthecompartmentdoorandcamein. Theperson:LooksatSharmila.Hello.

Sharmila:Hello.

Theperson:Pointsatthebook.Theperfectrevenge?Who'stheauthor?

Sharmila:Storesthebookawayinherbag.It’snotthatgreat.Itsaverage.

Theperson:There'salotofcrowdtoday.IhadareservationfromAurangabadactually,buttherewassomegovernmentexamoveratIgatpuri.

Sharmila:Nods,notlookingathim.Yes.Yes.

Theperson:IhadareservationintheJanshatabdiExpressonthesameseat,butImissedthetrainduetothecrowds.Ihadtotravelbyroad.IfIhadn’tgottenhereintime,would'vemissedthistrain


aswell.

Sharmila:Looksathiminshock.What?YouhadthesameseatnumberinJanshatabdiaswell?

Theperson:Yes.That’swhyIsaidIamgladIreachedhereintime,otherwisegoingtoChennaiwould'vebeenahassle.

Sharmila:What’syourkindnamesir? Theperson:Sagar...SagarSarpodar... Sharmila:What??

Theperson:Startsreadingthenewspaper.Yousureyou'reokma'am?Issomethingwrong?Sharmila:No...Iamfine...Thanks... Theperson:Startsreadingthenewspaper.Mentionnot...

Suddenlysherememberedthatthepersonshehadmethadtriedtomakehispenworkandhadscribbledsomethingonthenewspaper,andsaidthat99%peoplewritetheirownnamewhilstscribbling.

Sharmila:GrabsthenewspaperawayfromtherealSagar.CanIborrowthisforamoment?Sagar:Surprised.Whathappenedma'am?

Sharmila:Opensthefrontpageofthenewspaperandscansthewordswrittenonitwithgreatprecision.SHAUNAK...(Sharvari’sBrother.)

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