Murder In Chandni Chowk - A journey of romance, betrayal and secrets waiting to be unveiled.
Prologue - Page One (below)
Part One - Page Two
Part Two - Page Five
03rd September 2012, 9:41 am - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Sameer Rathore, for the first time in his life was disturbed by the scene of crime. The sight was nauseating and he was only holding his bile down because he didn't want to come off as a weak person in front of Rawte. He hated to admit it but he knew Rawte would be looking for an opportunity to strike him as a coward.
The woman that lay dead in her own pool of blood had been struck in the abdomen more than 50 times as far as the theory of Shree. His personal experience told him that the murderer had some kind of relation with the victim because stabbing someone 50 times was not the kind of thing a person who didn't know the victim would do. He was sure of it.
Rawte came back from questioning the weeping family and rose a suggestive eyebrow at Rathore's pale sickening face. "Ever thought of retiring...sir?" He folded his arms across his muscular chest and nonchalantly stared down at the sight. "Clearly, this seems to show that you are not fit to be a chief anymore."
"You don't worry about me, Rawte!" he roared back, narrowing his eyes and ignoring the hair that fell on his face. They stood in that stance until the sound of purging and moaning came from behind the ETF jeep. Arjun followed it to where Riya was bending over, holding a hand to her stomach and Chottu, patted her back rather gently.
"Maybe someone else should start thinking about desk work," Arjun commented, slightly worried at her continuous vomit and an almost green face. He suddenly grew angry at her lack of forbearance and stalked over to her, handing her a bottle of water.
"Drink." She took it as if her life depended on it but before swallowing, she took a handkerchief out of her pocket. He watched, amused as she wiped the tip of the bottle and then drank calmly. "Clean freak," he muttered ever so slightly and returned back to where Rathore stood.
As soon as he arrived, Shree walked towards him with a frown carved on his young face. "Sir, there were a total of 48 stab wounds. 30 of them were done very recently but 18 of them were done almost 6 to 8 hours ago."
"What?" Rathore was shocked at this discovery. First of, why would the murderer choose to strike 48 times and that too in selective timings? "Could it be that this murderer is suffering from some kind of disease? Probably that's why he came in Chandni Chowk, chose a lane where there aren't many people and then struck the victim 18 times. He forgot that he killed his victim already and went back to strike 30 times. A simple case of amnesia."
Arjun rolled his eyes at how unrealistic the whole situation sounded. Shree's frown didn't lessen but deepened even more when he heard the word 'amnesia'. Clearly, Rathore Sir was not thinking straight or the crime scene had actually affected him badly but the young technical expert didn't dare voice his opinion. Instead, Arjun Sir did.
"Rathore, the whole situation of amnesia is absurd. But for your satisfaction, Shree will check up if anyone here suffers from amnesia." His voice suddenly dropped to a low, firm mutter. "There is something off about the victim's family. They don't come of as natural as expected."
Rathore sighed and called Riya and Chottu over. "Riya, Rawte has been making notes for you while you were purging. Understandable. But why the goddamn were you standing around idle, Chottu?" Rathore's voice rose in a yell and the now orphan baby wailed louder. "Get to work. Everyone - NOW!"
The trio Riya, Shree and Chottu scampered away while Arjun stood unwavering and rolling his eyes at Rathore's exasperated expression.
Something was definitely wrong here - and Arjun worried that this case would only get complicated the more he pondered on the odds and evens.
03rd September 2012, 9:55am - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Riya sighed patiently at the weeping confectioner. The man was in his fifties but he claimed to be very close to Shalini, the victim. Somehow, the way he cried made Riya feel very sympathetic towards him but also to the fact that he had found a daughter in the 19 year old girl. What damage could a girl of such tender age had done?
"Did you notice any changes in Shalini's behavior? Anything odd, she did perhaps?" asked Riya, with a slight firmness in her voice as she felt familiar footsteps stop behind her. Arjun Sir, here again to give her another telling of her incompetent and inexperienced questioning. She mentally prayed that miraculously it wasn't him and Shree was playing one of his pranks again. But she knew it was with the cologne he always used and the goosebumps that rose on her back. She pretended to seem so interested in her notes all of a sudden and waited for the man to speak.
"Yes, the child always came here on Fridays with her friends to have some Jalebis. She loved Jalebis, oh I shall never cook them again!" Riya quickly recorded every vital information she heard. Her chicken scrawl writing made her feel very insecure under Arjun Sir's gaze but she cared not.
"Could you be precise? Around what time did she come here?" Arjun asked, sidetracking the question that had bubbled up in her throat. She clenched her fist around her pink pen.
The man's brow furrowed. "Around midday but one thing I am sure - she never turned up before 12pm." Arjun nodded with this information and watched the bystanders while Riya quickly scribbled it down.
The man was told to go away by Arjun and he walked over to a group of young teenagers. He gestured Riya to follow and she obediently obeyed. There were only 3 young boys that stood out from the crowd of middle age women. Arjun gestured them to come over and they hesitantly stumbled forward.
"You must be Shalini's friends. Her mother described as very tomboyish - a girl who befriended more with boys than girls so I presume, it's you."
"Y-yes, sir." The boy with the glasses stammered and instantly Arjun's attention was diverted from the other two to him. "I was Shalini's... b-best friend. Al...most like a p..personal adviser."
Riya smiled encouragingly at the boy and the three of them almost forgot that they were at a crime scene of their best friend. Something in the woman's gaze and smile was so alluring that all three were mesmerized until Arjun coughed angrily and threw a possessive glare at them.
"S-sorry, sir," they chanted, making Riya smile again. "But we swear, we have no link with Shalini's death. I mean, we were best friends - she was the only girl in the entire campus that actually understood boys!"
Both of them nodded and then asked for their names. After further questioning and a warning from Arjun, he sent them their way. While returning back to where the crime scene was, Arjun cast a glance her way. She was reading her notes and frowning confusedly completely unaware of his small peeks.
The silence prevailed them even more until he finally decided to pop the question. "What was the need of smiling at them? You do know that these silly boys only want one sign and then the next moment they are throwing themselves at you."
"Excuse me, sir. But I think I was doing my job properly - you had them scared out of their wits, so I decided to -"
Arjun glared, silencing her momentarily. Then she began to mutter obscenities at him and quickened her pace to walk away quickly. He rolled his eyes at her childishness and let his thoughts drift away to the possible motives of this rather strange murder.
03rd September 2012, 8:30pm - ETF Headquarters, Delhi
The coffee mugs jumped slightly from the harsh slam from Rathore Sir while Shree, Riya and Chottu shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Apparently, since the Murder in Chandni Chowk, the trio had been on the bad side of Rathore Sir. They couldn't understand why but no matter how hard they worked, Rathore Sir remained displeased.
"Unbelievable! Shree, you are telling me that that the postmortem couldn't be done? Why not? And you, Chottu - slacking as always, why couldn't you talk with the family? Riya, you are a woman and that was an advantage to you to convince the mother! Who understands a woman better than a woman?" Three gulps were heard resounded the ominous room. Rawte sat swirling his glass of tea in deep thought undisturbed by the unnecessary yelling.
Suddenly, everyone's attention was fixated at Arjun while he spoke with confidence and ease. "Something is very wrong with the people in Chandni Chowk. I believe all of them are hiding something and for that we might have to take this operation undercover."
The gasps of the three juniors didn't go unnoticed by Rathore nor Arjun. But the chief didn't dare let anyone raise claims because he was the one who would tell Rawte how stupendously stupid the idea was. "They have already seen our faces, Rawte! You should have suggested this before we stepped into Chandni Chowk!"
"We can adapt disguises, and besides only two of us will need to go undercover."
Rathore fumed. "There is too much risk. Someone might still recognize you and why two? Why not all of us, Rawte?" His question clearly had Rawte tongue tied and Rathore felt like doing a fist pump in the air.
Arjun stood up and gestured Riya to do the same. She stared at him confused, stationary. He rolled his eyes and shook his head in disapproval before forcing her on her feet himself. Sliding an arm around her waist, he watched as four eyes grew to a bulging size. Smiling after a very long time, he gazed at her shocked face confidently said "How do you like Chandni Chowk, Mrs. Chadda?"
Note: If you would like to read more, please comment and let me know. Thanks for reading.
Edited by -Blueberry- - 06 September 2012 at 9:45am