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The team regrouped for a quick meeting.
Rathore: Letz go through what we know so far. Riya?
Riya: Sir. Victim is Salma Akhtar. She was a geologist by profession, but was very active in social work. She is the founder of the Al- Hubb Foundation.
Shree: Al Hubb as in love?
Rathore: Yes shree..they have been in the news recently. Did a lot of good work, helping street children to get educated, rehabitating drug victims and the like
Chottu: Y would someone like her be killed so cold bloodedly?
Arjun: When someone tries to spread light, there will be a million hands to extinguish them.
Rathore: True. More money is made on evil in our country than on good...all the more reason to find who did this to Salma n put them away for good. Next of kin, Riya?
Riya: husband is Dr. Faisal Akhtar, also a geologist. They have 2 kids, 16 year old twins Ruhi n Raihan. they stay at Silver Palms Residency.They...have been informed...
Rathore: Ok, Arjun, u n Riya...go meet them..try n find out if they know any reason y Salma could be murdered.
Riya looks at Arjun apprehensively n murmurs..Yes sir..
Arjun thinks to himself..maybe I can talk to her on the way..
Shree: Rathore sir, I found Salma's mobile near her body. Somevn seems to have stomped on it.
Rathore: Can u retrieve any data?
Shree: I can try, but i think the memory card has been taken away..also..there seems to be traces of some powder on it. I will need to check that back in the lab...but I was thinking, salma mite have a desktop or laptop back home..mabbe I can try n pull some data from that?
Rathore: Good thinking Shree..itz possible she mite have stored some data on it..Do one thing go with these too..u can try n get the info while they talk to the family. Chottu n i will go to the foundation's office.
Riya relaxed a bit, knowing that Shree would be coming along..Arjun stared at Shree murderously.
Shree glanced at Arjun n had a slite heart attack. Kya...hu..hua Arjun..si..sirr?
Arjun: Get in the car.
The team separated and went their different ways.
All through the ride, she kept silent. He kept glancing at her. But she was just staring at the road.. Again her thoughts seemed far away. Why was she being so quiet today? Normally, he would have welcomed the fact that she kept her mouth shut, not quoting all those million data points, or asking questions about him, which he resented answering. But today, it irked him, irritated him, to no end. It annoyed him to think that he was the reason for her change. Why should she change because of him? N why was he getting so pissed off about that??
Arjun cleared his throat..Why so silent today? Nothing to share on the case?
Shree: But sir...aap hi ne toh kaha tha..dont talk too much..speak only when necessary n stuff..n besides we already discussed all we know about the case. What more can i say?
Arjun slowly braked..n even more slowly turned around and looked at shree, who looked mortified.
Riya amusedly looked at Shree. She understood that Arjun had actually directed the question at her. But the way Shree had answered was so funny. And even more funny was the way Arjun scowled at him now.
Shree suddenly looked out of the window n pointed..Oooh look itz Silver palms...Lets go, letz go...saying so, he literally jumped out of the car.
Riya gave a slight chuckle and removed her seat belt. Arjun looked at her and gave the slightest of smiles to himself. As they both got out of the car, he thought to himself..Chalo, she laughed at least..
As they walked towards the flat, somevn called out from behind..
"Riyu...Riyu...Riyu ruko na..."
Riya froze in her tracks n slowly turned around. Her eyes were widened in...Arjun wondered...what was that emotion?? It was as if happiness, pain, fear...n a million other emotions all passed through her eyes in a single second...what was goin on?
Riya stared back at the mother n child by the swing set.
"Riyu...come to Mama...u r such a mischievous baby Riyu..." the mother was saying adoringly to the child, " But Mama ki aankhon ki tara hai tu" saying so she kissed her daughter. The baby girl kissed her back, n they looked the perfect picture of love.
Arjun smiled at the sight, then saw Riya turn away. Her head was bent, n her fists were clenched. For a minute, he was so surprised. Then Shree called out..Kya hua guyz?? Ree?? Chalo na..
Riya tried to shut out the image she just saw. She tried to forget the sounds she had heard. But she knew she couldn't. These same words were therein her mind. Imprinted for life. Images just like these. Memories...Why were so many things from the past coming up today?? Why were they threatening to weigh her down. No...she couldn't give up...she would not let these thoughts invade her mind...She composed herself...took a deep breath...n looked up smiling...Coming Shree...
She started walking away..then stopped and looked at Arjun..he still stood there puzzled. Now she was confused...Sir?? U r not coming??
Arjun came back to his self, stared at her for a second, n said..Chalo...
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They rang the bell at flat 5C..It was slowly opened to reveal a man in his late 30s..He looked calm, composed, distinguished. But his eyes betrayed the tears he had shed, the gruelling hours he had spent after knowing about his wife's death.
Arjun: Dr. Akhtar? Hum ETF se hai.
Faisal: Come in...
They sat down in a comfortable living room..carefully furnished..it looked so homely, without looking over luxurious. Picture frames around the room showcased the happy family that once lived here. Trips they had taken, the 4 of them, functions they had attended, n candid family moments...Moments that would never come again..
Riya felt saddened by the loss they faced...more than that...she felt angry..angry at the monsters who had stolen from them their life...
Arjun: Sir..I am Arjun Rawte, this is Riya Mukherjee n Shreekant Sen..
Faisal glanced at them n nodded slightly.
Arjun continued " We are sorry for what has happened. Your wife was trying to help so many people n she was a good human being. We think it was her actions trying to stop some crime that lead to her death.
Faisal: Thats probably true..Salma is...his voice faltered..was a wonderful person...she stood up to all evil wherever she could..She used to joke saying Fayzee, one day when i cause too much trouble for them, they will get me...but until my last breath, i will fight...
Tears rolled down his face...n Arjun was reminded of Shilpa...he understood how this man was feeling...how powerless he felt...with somevn u love being snatched from u...n nothing u cud do...
Riya spoke softly...Dr. Akhtar...we can understand...or perhaps we cant...the importance of Salma in your life..that cannot be measured by us...but what we can do is catch the people who are responsible for this...so tht we can get justice for Salma...n whatever she was fighting against..
Faisal wiped away his tears n looked up at them with determination.
Faisal: u r rite. The only thing I can do for Salma now, is to c that whatever she was fighting for, does not go to waste.
Shree: do u know if she was working on any special case? Mabbe she spoke to u about it?
Faisal: there was something, but i wasn't sure what. She called me about an hour before...before...the police called me with the news...He took a deep breath..."she had gone to see her friend Aarti. She called to say that something very big n sinister was going on right under our noses. She said she was coming home n would tell me all about it in person...but...before that..."
Dr. Akhtar closed his eyes n tried to control the tears.
Faisal: She was after something for a long time. Almost two weeks. I guess that finally she had some proof to expose some big racket.
Shree: dr. Akhtar, is it possible, that ur wife kept notes, in a diary, or some files, or computer?
Faisal: Yes!! Her laptop..over there..she would have the notes on all her cases there.
Shree: do u mind if I...
Faisal: No no...go ahead...take it...take anything u want...just promise me...u will find whoever did this to my Salma...
Arjun: Dr. Akthar, its a promise.
Riya: Is it okay, if we talk to ur kids? Ruhi n Raihan isn't it?
Dr. Akhtar: Yes...u can go ahead...they r both in there...please try not to..u know..
Riya: I understand doctor...we will just take a few minutes.
Riya looked Arjun, who nodded at her and got up.
Both of them made it into the room, where a beautiful girl sat crying looking at pictures in an album. A boy stood near the window looking out. There was anger on his face...but more of pain.
Arjun stood by the door. Riya went and sat near the girl. She looked at the pictures. It showed a younger Salma, with two small kids.
Riya: You were very cute when you were small I guess.
Not tht you are not beautiful now, she added quickly.
Ruhi smiled sadly.." Everyone says, I have my Ammi's beauty..I would rather just have...My Ammi..." She burst out crying and hugged Riya..Riya hugged her tightly and stroked her hair.
Raihan walked out of the room pushing a few books off a table in his hurry. He glared at Arjun, who moved out of the way as he went stomping out. Arjun kept looking at him.
She stood up n then sat down irresolutely.
Ruhi: I am sorry. He's just so angry since Ammi died. Doesn't even talk to me. I know he just wants to break down n cry...but..he won't...
Riya: It's ok, sometimes it's easier to remain angry than accepting ur grief..
Ruhi " how can I accept it?? Just how???" A fresh bout of tears came rushing along." My Ammi is never coming back...How am I supposed to live with that?? When will it stop hurting so much??? She sobbed inconsolably
Riya calmly took Ruhi's hand in hers. " It won't. You will always hurt deep down. But after sometime, you will realize, it's a part of who u r. You won't mind carrying that pain with you, because that's what makes you strong every day. It's what makes you want to live each day, making a difference, fighting for all that they stood for. It's what will make you, who you are."
Ruhi looked at Riya, through teary eyes. Riya smiled at her gently.
Arjun stared at her. It was as if each word she said, hit home It was almost as if she was speaking to him. Reminding him. Of Shilpa. Of loving her. Of losing her...How could she speak so calmly, so clearly...How would she know, the pain of losing love?? How could she know??? That void in your life, when you felt alone and helpless? How could she know??? She couldn't!!! She couldn't know any of those emotions, and she shouldn't try and behave as if she did!!!!
Riya looked at Arjun. She realized that he was also in the same situation as Ruhi. She wished she could console him too...But she wouldn't dare tell him anything again. As it is he was so angry with her, she was scared to try again..
Arjun saw her looking & became angry again. This Riya Mukherjee!! Always!!! Always she was trying to get into his life. Every time he thinks she's stopped, she proves him wrong again. Why the hell was she trying to pry into matters which were not her concern???
Riya continued talking " Ruhi, I know u loved ur Ammi a lot, but i also know that she died protecting u. U n hundreds of other people. She was trying to save all those people from being exposed to harm, trying to help them lead a better life. I know that she wouldn't want you to live the rest of your life mourning her, or shedding tears for her. She would want u to stand up and fight, fight for truth, for whtz rite, n for those who cant. She would want u to be strong. She would want u to...move on..."
Her words made him angrier by the second. Move on??? Forget his love n move on??? Forget how shilpa was snatched away from him n move on???How dare she??? He gripped the door frame tightly.
Riya saw him almost trying to pulverize the door frame n slightly opened her mouth in shock. He turned and faced the long corridor.
Ruhi was wiping away her tears, nodding to herself resolutely.
"You are right, you know. Ammi would have said the same. I have to be strong. For Raihan, for Abbu..n moreover for all the goodness and love left in the world.."she smiled remembering..."Thats what Ammi always said..she was fighting for all the love still left in the world"
Riya smiled and squeezed Ruhi's hand.
"Whats ur name?" Ruhi suddenly asked.
Riya: My name is Riya n i work with the ETF. This is ACP Arjun Rawte.
She gestured at Arjun, who slightly turned and nodded at Ruhi.
Ruhi smiled at both of them n asked: Can I call u Riya Di?
Riya smiled: Yes u can. Now Ruhi...is there anything u can tell us about ur Ammi's recent cases? We think tht may have something to do with what happened to ur Ammi.
Ruhi: I don't know...but for the past two weeks she was investigating something big, something very bad...she wouldn't tell me in detail...but mabbe u can check her notes...in her laptop...Ammi always made notes
Arjun: Our colleague is already checking into that. Is there anything else u ca think of?
Ruhi though for a minute and then hesitatingly replied.
Ruhi: I don't know if this is related, but some weeks back, Raihan was very angry with Shivam...he'z our next door neighbour and Raihan's close friend...dey r on the same football team in school..but somehow he stopped coming for a lot of the practise sessions..Raihan told me that Shivam started acting very weird about a month back...he seemed to be very angry all the time...had no concentration...he was missing from school also about a number of dayz...Raihan finally shouted at him outside the flat...they had a big argument...Shivam told him to stay away from his affairs n they almost came to blows...thts when Ammi saw them, she tried to calm them down, and took shivam away.. I think she was trying to find out what was going on with Shivam. They had a long talk in the park downstairs...when she came back, Ammi was very disturbed..she told Raihan to look out for Shivam...she said frendz should stand by for each other, most of all when they try to push u away..."
Arjun: When was this?
Ruhi: About two weeks back...
Arjun n Riya looked at each other..around the same time when Salma started working on her new case...
Riya: do you know what was going on with Shivam?
Ruhi: No Raihan asked Ammi repeatedly, but she said when the time came she would tell him, she had to do a lot of things first. She talked to Shivam's parents n asked them to send him to a summer camp for a few weeks. Raihan also went, he just came back today morning...after the news...Shivam is still there..
Arjun: Ok ruhi, thanks so much...u have helped us out a lot..
He smiled at her n turned to leave, gesturing Riya to come.
Riya got up, n turned
Riya: ruhi...do u have a cell phone?
Ruhi nodded surprised. Riya took out her phone and asked her number. She dialled it in, saved it n gave her a missed call.
Riya: Thats my number, if u have anything to talk about..or any help...just give me a call..anytime...
Ruhi gave a wide smile...n nodded happily...okay Riya Di...
Arjun quietly walked away with Riya following.
They reached the parking ground. Shree was staying back to finish with the laptop. As they walked back, Arjun called out to Riya.
Riya, turns surprised : yes sir?
Arjun walked closer to her n stopped only when they were a breath apart. Riya blinked, unsure about the closeness between them.
Arjun: Tumse maine kaha tha na??? Kaha tha na, door raho mujse???
Riya, completely bewildered now: Aap..yeh kya..what did i do now???
Arjun: WHAT DID U DO??? U think, I can't understand??? How u r trying to get to me?? Trying to encroach into my life??? That peep u took wasn't enough, so now..how did u put it?? Curiosity rite? Ur curiosity needs to be satiated, so you are trying other ways to gain entry into my personal life??
Riya, slightly angry now: SIR. I don't know what you are talking about.
Arjun gritted his teeth; Riya could see the rage in his eyes, the veins throbbing in his neck. She was suddenly afraid. She did not want to face his wrath again.
Arjun almost hurled the words at her.."YOU!! You think I can't understand? Understand how u r trying to come into my life with ur consoling words n grand advice??You think i can't make out how u were trying to ask me to forget my past?? Move on??? How dare you??? What gives u the right??????
Riya was so angry now. She took a step back, took a deep breath n stared back defiantly at the man in front of her.
Riya: SIR. Just because I made a mistake once, doesn't mean you can accuse me of anything whenever u feel like it. Whatever I said, I said to console a grieving daughter. She doesn't know how to deal with loss. Anything I say, cannot even match to a small extent the pain she is facing. But I don't want her to go through life harbouring pain and loss. I want her to live life believing in the love her mom tried to spread. Whatever I said back there, I meant it. I didn't mean to hurt you, or force myself into ur personal life. I understand that whatever you went through is hard, and like you said, I couldn't ever comprehend the emotions u feel..But whatever I told Ruhi..it was whatever...whatever i felt...whatever I believe in...n if that bothers you..I can't help it.
Her eyes were brimming with tears now. She bent down closing her eyes. He had hurt her..he had made her remember...She looked up to see that he was still looking at her with rage. She didn't know what to say anymore. She turned to walk away.
Arjun grabbed at her hand in anger.
He caught her right arm roughly and turned her around to face him.
Arjun saw her wince, and then cry out in pain.
Riya: AAAH!!! Sir!!!
She tried to remove his hand from her arm, with her other hand. He was shocked at the Pain on her face for a second, then he came back to his senses, n relaxed his hold on her. He looked down at her arm. He saw the white gauze of a dressing poking out from beneath her long sleeved shirt. He let go immediately. He saw that she was still wincing, her eyes closed, her forehead creased.
Arjun: Riya!!! I am so sorry!! Mujhe patha nahi tha ki u were hurt!!! I am sorry for...grabbing u like that also..I am...
Riya: It's okay Sir.
Arjun: No Riya...I am really sorry...i didn't mean to hurt u...I
Riya: Sir, maine kaha na..it's ok..
She turned and started walking away. She knew that he didn't do it on purpose. He couldn't know that she was hurt. The pain was a lot, she thought as she slightly rubbed her injured hand...But what hurt more were his words...She wiped the tears away n went to open the door..
Arjun came around to her side, wanting to help with the door...but then went back to his side. She was in a lot of pain, he could see...He cursed himself for doing what he did..
As he started the car, he looked straight ahead and asked her.
" How did u hurt ur hand?"
Riya inhaled quickly and looked at her hand.
Riya: Had a slight accident.
Arjun raised his eyebrows and looked at her. She saw his expression and clarified further
Riya: I..fell down the stairs.
Arjun looked at her in disbelief. As he reversed the car out of the parking lot, he thought to himself. Thats not the sort of injury u get falling down stairs. Why is she lying??
He suddenly had a vision of someone attacking her. It made him mad. But then he remembered the way she had handled him on their first meeting. He smiled to himself. No..she could take care of herself..But he was sure she was lying about her wound. He wanted to know why...
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MILENGE MILENGE(new ff on mayur and sajan)
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SAJAN SS MILENGE MILENGE...
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MILENGE MILENGE FF OF GURTI AND KAJEN
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