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That is very kind of you uncle but then I want to start at the ground level….
That you are already beta, now you have to start taking more responsibilities….
Exam was barely few days away, all the students were now studying hard, of course there were ones you went to enjoy night life but then many of them studied throughout the night to fall asleep towards early morning…the banging of the door woke up Krishna alongwith other students in the neighbouring rooms…
Arrgggggggggghhhhhh must be Pratigya, Krishna lifted his head from the table, his mobile is switched off and she often comes upto his room, their affair is not hidden….
What is it Pratigya itna subah subah, I told you I will call you later in the morning, he opened the door to see Mr Awasthi, the principal standing with a grave face….
Shyamji Saxena wanted to give a car from his fleet to take Krishna back home but Awasthi intervened, he was a simple man, he would not like his son to arrive with so much fanfare for his funeral…..let him take the train…..
As the landscape flew past, Krishna sat blankly noting nothing, his father was murdered, murdered? Who can murder him, he was not a political person, a kind man who kept within his limit, working in the field and helping in community work, yes he did have occasional disagreement with the 'Sarpanch' or some government officials but then he was never unreasonable, infact highly respected and loved in his village…who could have murdered my father….the question gave no answers….
Blood and gruel is not something which Krishna is seeing for the first time. Due to his father's nature Vishwa happened to be the first one to go if some accident happened or someone fell sick. When the boys reached high school he took them with him much to his wife's displeasure, Rudra later on avoided but Krishna did not mind and then when he went to college being active into politics and sports such things were common sites, but when he went to accept his father's body from the morgue what he saw his stomach turned, how could somebody be so cruel and kill a person in such a way…his whole face and head had been smashed…..
While Rudra's hands shook, Krishnajit completed the formalities…the funeral became a local issue, people came in masses from the village and the neighbourhood, speeches were made from political parties and flowers placed on the body, while the widow sat still as a stone, Rudra's wife and their sisters cried the sons and two other poll bearers lifted the body to take it to the burning ghat.
Who could have murdered their father was a mystery, he left early morning for his rounds in the fields as practice, after drinking tea made by their mother, about an hour later one of the farm workers came running home to say Babuji was lying in the one portion of the 'khet' with his head smashed, others are trying to take him to the hospital and he came to inform them…..Rudra ran…..
His body was still warm, Rudra cried as they sat in the courtyard after returning from the burning ghat….
Was he into land dispute ? Krishnajit asked his brother….
Our father did not do any illegal work, the land he purchased recently were sold to him willingly by the others..
Was any contractor / investor wanting his land…..
That happens everyday, offers toh ateh rehte hai is all I know….
Did pitaji tell you about it lately…
Nah Rudra nodded his head….
Krishnajit knew his brother had a bit laid back attitude, he was not very hard working but these are basic information which a man of the family should have, though Rudra knew , he did not know anything in depth…like which investors made offers, how much etc etc….
Oh you will get some papers in Babuji's files he kept everything i.e those who sent offers through letters….
His mobile rang, it was Pratigya wanting to know if everything went off well….
Yes yes I will call back later…..
Are you well
Yes I am well but you should have seen ….
Krishna come back fast, you have done your job and now no need to remain, you have exams remember and then….
Krishna's eyes fell on his mother….she was still sitting like a stone, his bhabi Sapna and sisters were trying to make her drink some broth….his mother was simply not opening her mouth….
I will speak to you later, Krishna disconnected the phone….he went and sat in front of her, holding her hand looking into her eyes, after sometime she sipped the broth….
That night he went to sleep with his mother, his sisters got busy with their children he offered to share the room with his mother, lying on his father's side he could not sleep, remembering his childhood days, the question who could kill his father, why did the family have no clue, did his father have any himself? Why did he say Krishna should come immediately back home after his exams what did he want to talk about? Did he have any information to give?
In the semi darkened room he watched his mother get up and sit on the bed with her head on her knees….
I know you are feeling very bad…..Krishna put his arms around her….
She sat quietly leaning on his shoulders….
Streams of people came to meet them the next day, asking the same question, the police too…Shyamji Saxena called up, though you are out of my area but then I know people there too, just tell me what you want….
Maybe mistaken identity, the police are also saying so as my father was not a controversial man….he was quite popular in his own way….
You are our own, I will do anything for you just keep that in mind….
So on the 3rd day, Krishnajit announced due to his forth coming exams he would go back today…he needs to revise before sitting for the first paper day after tomorrow….
His head was already clean shaven, as he stood in front of the mirror buttoning up his shirt, he looked at himself, minus his hair and unshaven beard he was looking quite clean, what would Pratigya have to say about his new look, he smiled, Pratigya said she could come to the station, she wanted to come over too, he only said no, why should you for the first time enter the house when it is mourning…..
He was your father…Pratigya had said….
I know, Krishna had looked around, though their house was big, it was of ancient design and furnished with just basic furniture, in this height of summer they did not have an a.c …..but this house cannot give you the comfort you are used to….
Matter of one night, need be I will spend the night in the car with it's a.c on anyway I do have to make a visit once in a while to your house once we are married…..
Krishna smiled remembering her words, yes Pratigya could be very determined if she wants to be and….
Krishna….his mother for the first time in three days called out from the door way….
I heard you are leaving today……
Yes ma, I have exams from day after tomorrow….
She took a deep sigh…..Your father's murderer has still not been caught, not even the weapon they murdered him with…
The police believe it is mistaken identity…..
Why so? He was a well known figure, always active everywhere, why should he be mistaken ….
Ma it happens all the time….in fact…..
So it does, the soft gentle woman suddenly sounded very firm…but then if you cannot catch him now he will kill another person, if your father would have been alive he would have not wanted another death….
Police is supposed to catch the culprit and Rudra bhaiya is here…he will coordinate….I will do whatever I can too in between….
She let out a deep sigh….looking straight into his eyes, she asked with her 'what did my husband do to deserve this end?'
The words struck Krishna…this is the same question everybody is asking but hearing from his mother, and that too she said my husband, not your father, as long as his memory goes, she always addressed him as your father, today she said my husband, does she think they are not doing enough for their father…
Ma…Rudra Bhai has to take some responsibilities sometime, he is also doing his bit, I will also pitch in, you know I know people….
Hmmm that is true, you are a big man in your college…
Ma not so big yet…..
Hmm I know, your father wanted to speak to you once your exams are over…..
Yes he did, he called me up, in fact do you have any idea what he wanted to say……
No, your father did not believe discussing certain issues with women of the house…..I don't know….
Krishna stared at his mother, though she said she does not know, her eyes …..
Ma Rudra bhai will do fine, just see…..
If he has time for us….if he spares his time for us…..
Krishna narrowed his eyes…he did not see anything unusual with his brother…..
Krishna for last few years you hardly remained home, you came and went like a guest, if you stayed here you would know….his mother turned to go…..
Ma this is my final exam…..
She starred back and left……
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Ma this is my final exam…..
She starred back and left……
Krishna sat on the bed, through the open door he could see one of his sister running after her child, his bhabi instructing the maid, he came out sat on the wooden swing, the iron rods holding the swing, made a screeching sound startling everyone ….
Oh my god, Krishna you….his chhoti didi said looked up, you gave me a start Krishna, I thought babuji a gaye…entering this house he used to sit on the swing first thing…..
His bhabi was also staring at him…..yes hearing it, I …she was a woman very like his mother, working silently and quietly….the 6 years she has been married to his brother he hardly saw her speaking aloud, except running after her twin daughters…..
Krishna won't you be leaving now…..his eldest sister came with breakfast plate, Krishna looked towards his mother, she was sitting with few of the ladies who had come to pay the condolences, he replied …in a while….
As he finished his breakfast, he saw his father's chief assistant Sambhu coming in and approaching to Bhabi hesitantly, they whisper something, Bhabi was clearly at unease she got up from the work she was doing picking up her mobile, she moved away, only to indicate there is no reply….Sambhu scratched his head when Krishnajit called out…
Kya baath hai Sambhu kaka, Krishna called out…
Ji chhote bhaiya, it is like this, we had booked trucks to take our grains to the Mandi, the booking of trucks and the deal was already done by Babuji, but with this sudden misfortune and then we forgot to cancel the trucks, I mean we are mourning and the transporter is wanting to us to pay fine if we cancel the trucks the last moment so, loss of business, nowadays…..
So we load the trucks at our godown, why should they go back…..
I mean…..we are
Yes we are mourning but then some things cannot be postponed , the deal has been fixed by Babuji so we will keep his word…..should I come with you Sambhu Kaka or can you manage on your own….
No no I can manage…..I can manage…. Sambhu kaka left…..
Krishna went upto his bhabi, where is Bhaiya Bhabi, has he not got up?
Yes long back, I mean he is not at home….
Kaha gaye? He asked frowning, constantly people are coming to pay their condolences and he was supposed to leave in the morning so his brother should have been here but his bhabi suddenly got busy with her daughter, his sisters started instructing the servants, he turned to see his mother was watching him, on being eye to eye she turned away….
What is going on here? He walked out of the house, crossing the village suddenly he realized he came on to the field where is father was murdered or to be precise his body was found, his eyes narrowed as he saw a girl putting flowers on the very spot……
Hey what are you doing, he shouted…..
Ji mai phul dal rahi hu…she looked up…the face was unknown …but then he does not recognize most of the girls of the village they have grown up ….
Don't put flowers here, the case is under investigation and police are taking evidences can't you see the area has been cordoned off….he glared at the girl, the girl burst into tears, the police said a few petals will do no harm and anyway, as it is open to the nature……I have been putting it for last two day, see the dried ones….
Go from here….He commanded, he hated the feeling some outsider putting flowers in his father's last …..
With a hurt look the girl ran away…..
He stood watching the grass, some blood stains were still there, what did he want to say, kya bolna chahate the aap mujhse…he asked again and again….
Chachu aapka phone….Riddhi, one of the twin handed it his mobile to him…..
It was ringing, I answered it but one woman was screaming, kya bol rahi thi kuch samaj me nehi aya, Siddhi the other twin replied in her three year old voice….
Krishna took the phone and clicked onto the caller list, having walked out all of a sudden he had left it on the swing, Pratigya had called several times….
She answered promptly, Krishna is it you…..where are you and who the hell was answering your phone whenever I called up….
Oh the twins I left my phone on the swing….
How can you be so careless and isn't any elder around to prevent the kids from playing with mobile, mai taiyyar hokar baithi hu for you to call me and inform me which train your are taking so that I can receive you….
I am not coming today…..
What ? Why? I mean you have forgotten that you have exams ….
I cannot come today…..I …it seems his brother was not back yet…..
Ok tomorrow start early morning so that you can reach here by noon, enough time for you to take rest and appear for your exams…
I am not sure…..
Not sure…what do you mean by not sure….you are going to appear for final exams and don't forget that….
Dekho Krishna, I know you are feeling bad and you have lost your father but he will not come back, life has to go on…
If I do not appear for my exams you will mind very much? Krishna asked ….
Pratigya kept quiet….then replied well it is not a big deal, Papa has already planned your career ahead…..
I am yet to take a decision but there are matters which need to be solved…..
Yes I understand with your father's sudden demise but then don't delay, committees are being formed and you should be here from the beginning you know even he has pressures and contenders are many….
Hmmmmm…Krishna frowned the girl whom he had chased away from the field entered the courtyard, going into the kitchen……
I will speak to you later….bye now…he disconnected….who is this girl, she seems to be very familiar with the house, he stepped behind a pillar, the girl came out carrying a small bowl then started climbing to stairs to the first floor…
Hey you where are you going, he stepped out….
She looked at him and did not bother to reply… starring back at him with a grumpy face…..
Areh what happened to your tongue, kuch der pehle to thi….he asked…..
Krishna, she is Malini, Ma has a bad back pain, she is going to massage her……his elder sister announced….
Ma has a bad back pain, his brother is missing from the morning, Ma knows his father wanted to say something important but then she does not know what….
How strange, how cannot Ma not know …as husband wife, they must have shared at least important things, he and Pratigya are not yet married but then there is hardly anything which is hidden from each other, which they do not know….
He came and stood next to his Chhoti didi, the sister just above him….tell me something Chhoti do you know where bhaiya has gone….
Chhoti opened her mouth, thought for a second and then said, my husband is sending the car, I have to get back today, Bhaiya will be back any moment why don't you ask him…..come munna, the car is coming, lets get ready, she pulled her son and went towards her room…
Everyone is behaving strangely but why? What do they know which he does not?
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