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As they sped silently along the road, Arjun's mind was in a turmoil. Why had he reacted as he had? Why did he have to shout at her, simply because she was trying to cheer up someone who had gone through a tragedy? Why did he have to assume that she was trying to pry into his life? Why was he directing his anger and frustration at her, her who had absolutely nothing to do with any of the calamity which had happened to him??
He looked at Riya. She was staring out of the window. Its not her fault, he thought. Its not anybodys fault except for the cruel monster who had wiped out Roshni. He sighed...he wished he hadn't confronted her like that, he could see he had hurt her...he had seen...what?? He had seen the pain that he had caused, but also something more...she was depressed...no distressed...ever since she took her day off..maybe...something was wrong back home? Someone was sick perhaps?? Her dad, her mom, her...boyfriend...? What was he thinking??? His thoughts were going haywire...He had accused her of interfering in his life, and what was he doing now?? Trying to do the same...No, he resolved...he would not pry into her personal affairs either...
They pulled up in front of the office, and as Riya began to get out, Arjun spoke.
"I am sorry"
Riya stopped for a second and turned to him, shocked. This was the third sorry he had told her in the past half hour. What was the matter with him suddenly? Split personality?
Riya: Sir i told u na, its alright.
Arjun put on his glares and looking straight ahead said " I am not talking about your hand."
Saying so, he got out of the vehicle and walked into the office.
Riya sat there, amazed n bewildered. Did Arjun Sir just apologize for shouting at her?? WTH!!! She exhaled nervously, opened the door, n muttered to herself "Unbelievable..." But deep down, she felt a bit better.
Rathod n Chottu were back from the foundation office. Tey had news.
Rathore: based on what her colleagues at the foundation said, Salma was onto something big. Something that would shock the city and paralyze it completely.
Arjun raised his eyebrows questioningly at Rathod.
"Terrorists." He spoke the one word quietly but it shocked both Arjun n Riya into action. Arjun banged his fist on the table and Riya gave a loud "Kya??"
Chottu continued " Hanh. They said that Salma was close to uncovering a covert terrorist group operating right in this city, that too somewhere in this locality"
Riya: Lekin, if that was the case, how come they didn't inform the police till now?
Rathod: Because Riya, they were not aware of this until yesterday night. Salma hadn't told anyone of her investigations. She was secretly after them, for the past week or so, n disclosed all this to her team only yesterday. She said she was finally close to getting some proof and by today they could present their case to the cops. Apparently, she informed her assistant Krishna that she had some important work in the morning and would be late to office. The next they heard, was the news of her death.
Arjun: She went to this office everyday? I mean, she had her job as a geologist right?
Rathod: Yes Rawte, but she was on leave for the past four months, she wanted to work closely with the activities of the foundation, it was established only in May this year.
Arjun: I c...so what time does she usually go to office everyday?
Chottu: At 8 AM sharp everyday
Arjun: Today, at around 11.30 she was killed. So in the three and a half hours before that, the events that took place then, that will lead us to Salma's murderers.
Riya: According to my notes, Salma visited her friend Aarti Gupta, right before her death. She was walking back from Aarti's house, when she was attacked.
Rathore: Then thats our next stop.
Arjun: Before that, we...
Shree burst into the room interrupting Arjun. He was panting.
Arjun muttered " aaj ke din, he has taken an oath to interrupt me each and every time I guess"
Rathore: whats that Rawte??
Arjun: nothing...whts up shree?
Riya: Yeah Shree...whts got u so excited?
Shree: I have discovered...what...Salma was after...
Chottu started laughing: Bas? For this u ran in as if ur tail was on fire? We already know what she was investigating...terrorists...
Rathore: Hanh Shree...we got the info from her foundation..
Shree confused..."What?? terrorists??? But she was chasing after some drug cartel here...around this locality..i got it from her notes...her laptop..what are u guys talking about??
Arjun: From her laptop?
Shree: Yes Sir, according to her notes, some drug pushers were operating in the area...on further research, she discovered that it was more of a bigger group than she had thought of in the beginning.
Rathore: But..how is this possible? Two sources, two leads, each saying that Salma was after different cases.
Shree: I also checked the her mobile phone, there were some granules caught between the keypad. I am not sure, but I believe they are minute granules of cocaine. I'll just check now.
Saying this he dashed into the inner room to his equipment.
Chottu: Which case are we supposed to solve? Murder of Salma Akhtar by terrorists or Murder of Salma Akhtar by the drug cartels?
Riya: Yeah...Who is right and who is wrong?
Rathore: Salma couldn't have typed up fake notes in her own laptop..so I guess her colleagues were wrong.
Chottu: or mabbe Salma was trying to mislead somevn as to what she was actually after..she mite have suspected somevn had access to her laptop
Riya: So then...Shree is rong??
Shree comes running back, super excited.
Shree: Its cocaine alright!!no doubt..n some traces of heroin as well.Its some pretty strong stuff..
Chottu: So again..the office guyz r rong??
Arjun: or mabbe both are rite??
Everyone stares at him.
Rathore: kehna kya chahte ho Rawte??
Arjun: What if both the cases are connected??
Shree: Huh?? Drugs n terrorists?? How on earth??
Arjun: Leave the how for now. Letz focus on the who first.
Arjun: When we talked to Ruhi..what did she say happened about two weex back??
Riya: the fight between Raihan n his frend Shivam. N how Salma intervened.
Arjun: Correct. Ruhi told us how her mom had a talk with Shivam n then appeared disturbed. From various accounts, we have come to the conclusion that Salma started her probing around that time. Ab Samjhe...ya Samjhaun??
Rathore: So this Shivam...we need to find him first...he is the key to this entire mystery..
Riya: Ruhi said Shivam is at summer camp. I'll get the number from his parents.
Arjun: Don't let them know we want to question him on the murder
Rathore: He's Right, we need to keep things on a low profile until we know whats going on here.
Riya nodded and made the call. She talked for about 10 minutes, and ended the call with " Thank you so much Mrs. Kashyap. I'll let you know if Shivam is chosen."
She put down the phone.
Riya: Got the number of the camp. His parents are away in Rishikesh, on a pilgrimage with Shivam's grandparents. Mrs. Kashyap said that they had planned this trip for a long time, n it was Salma who suggested that Shivam be sent to this camp with Raihan. They haven't heard the news of her death yet.
Shree: Who did you say you were?
Riya: I said we were trying to scout players for an under 16 national football team n wanted to talk to Shivam.
Chottu smiled: Impressive
Riya smiled back n glanced at Arjun, who was looked away. Riya stuck out her tongue at him slightly. Shree n Chottu giggled quietly
He stopped, staring at Riya sticking out her tongue
Rathore: Riya!! What are you doing??
Riya quickly turned to him, "Ah nothing sir..I was just going to call the camp"
Rathore: Hmm...yes quickly...
Riya again made a call. She spoke quietly into the receiver, frowned, talked for about a minute more n then cut the call.
She looked puzzled.
Rathore: Well?? Whats wrong?
Riya: They said that..they don't have anyone called Shivam Kashyap there...
Riya: I don't understand..I also asked about Raihan
Arjun: N they said, he was there till today, right?
Riya looked surprised: Yes..but in that case...
Rathore: He would know that Shivam was never at camp
Arjun : he did know..more than Ruhi, Dr. Akhtar, n her office colleagues..Raihan knew more of this affair.
Arjun picked up some papers left on the table, notes related to the case which Riya had made n quickly scanned through them.
Chottu: Then we need to talk to him first. And find out where Shivam is.
Shree: He would be at home
Rathore: letz go
Everybody got ready to leave.
Arjun: Just a minute.
Rathore: What Rawte? We don't have time to waste.
Arjun: Isiliye toh bata raha hu. Going to Dr. Akthar's house will just waste our time.
Rathore started getting angry: Look Rawte, if you have something to say, make your point, don't waste...
Arjun: Dr. Aarti Gupta
Arjun: Sorry to interrupt Rathore, but u said not to waste time.
Rathore rolled his eyes, n tried to control his urge to throw something at Rawte.
Arjun: We need to see Dr. Aarti Gupta first.
Shree: But that can wait right Arjun sir? I mean our priority is finding Shivam, so we need to talk to Raihan first.
Arjun: Dr. Aarti will directly lead us to Shivam.
Rathore: How r u so sure?
Arjun: Yeh dekho, Salma's mobile records...for the past two weex, calls to and from this one number tops the list
He pointed to one number "Dr. Aarti's number"
Chottu: But they were friends, whats so strange about that?
Arjun: Strange because each day, they spoke for about 5 hours..that too sometimes at 1 or 2 in the night..n only since the past two weeks
Rathore: You r saying, whatever it is, Aarti was also involved?
Arjun nodded.."It would also interest you to know, that Dr. Aarti Gupta specializes in addiction medicine"
Riya: And her main interest is?
Arjun: Drug Rehab.
Rathore raised his eyebrows. "Dr. Aarti Gupta's house. Letz go." He stopped, "N Rawte, good work"
Arjun nodded slightly n said "Riya got the notes, I just made the conclusions"
Rathore: u too Riya..good work..
Both Rathore n Arjun started to leave
Riya stared open mouthed at Arjun.
Shree whispered to Riya "Did Arjun Sir just compliment u?"
Chottu: Hanh yaar..kya baat hai??
Shree n Chottu go into romantic mode.
Chottu fluttering his eyes "Sir...aaapne...humhe...compliment diya...aapne finally dekha ki...how hard I work to please u??"
Shree: Hanh.dekha maine.I think u did well.Isliye kaha.I finally understood your intentions. Ab samjhe..ya samjhaun?
Riya threw her diary at both of them.
Riya: Shut up u guyz!!! N come on!!!
Joined: 13 July 2012
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