04th September 2012, 6:51pm - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
All of them were startled out of the nightmare when they heard the sliding and stretching of a skin. Rathore stood there, pulling his hostler out along with his clothes while peeling off the fake beard that had clasped his skin so tightly that it left horrible red, ugly marks. He didn't even flinch when he harshly pulled off his false mustache while ordering Shree to also get in the ETF attire.
But as Rathore had suspected, Arjun butted in. "Me and Shree will go. You are bound to miss out something very important and confuse everyone with your crazy theories." He took off his green turban plus beard and began to pull out big woolen balls from inside his shirt. "No arguments, Rathore. Get down there before anyone suspects - I'll try keep those suspecting women off you but if the situation gets out of hand - return back here immediately. You understand? Chottu, Riya... SIR?"
Where both of the duo nodded, Rathore scoffed and muttered obscenities under his breath. Throughout his career, he had never been the underdog yet Rawte had the ability to manipulate the situation and turn the tables on him. But Rawte's keen interest in his undercover persona and to this case alerted him that he was on for something big and that was one minor reason why Rathore chose to come here.
Watching them two rush from the backdoor, he glared at Chottu who meekly rushed out from the front door followed by a stumbling Riya. Feeling a little murky, Rathore felt gutted that his team no longer followed his commands but of a man who was definitely not qualified to lead the team. Had he been too harsh on them or were they all far too impressed by Rawte's reckless behavior?
04th September 2012, 06:55pm - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
The tubby man that sat wailing at the corpse of his son made Arjun genuinely confused. The landowner Balwant was last seen laughing merrily with a shop owner but his current state of pale, sweaty and extremely shaken made the cop feel very grievous. He reminded himself back to the conversations with the man and fuzzily remembered the words Gurwinder and loafer.
"Please, if you would excuse, sir - I have to take some important samples and photographs," explained the equally disturbed technical expert. The man heaved his heavy bones and sagging skin out of the way understandingly but the mother was still clinging to her son refusing any access to them. Shreekant sighed angrily at the woman's naivety and of her removing valuable fingerprints but he knew the situation was tense therefore he needed to remain collective.
"Ma'am, if you would please calm down - I know it's very difficult but your cooperation will allow us to get your son the justice he needs," Shree cast a glance at Riya and then to Arjun Sir. Arjun Sir had asked Riya aka Mrs. Chadda and Chottu some questions before allowed them to go. Now, they stood at the window with Rathore Sir watching the whole scene. But the woman needed a gentle hand and only Riya perfected in that department. Arjun just hoped that Riya would be able to coax the woman without dropping any hints from the conversations they had with her husband. After gaining the approval, he saw his colleague rush into her attire and then come racing.
In minutes, she had the woman to the side letting her weep on her shoulder and stroking her back lovingly. What Riya hadn't noticed was the awe clearly etched on her senior's face as he stared mesmerized at her ability to turn the entire situation around. She was an enigma who had the ability to possess violent attributes while also being equally supportive and loving. His heart dampened when he recalled his anti feminist behavior towards her and vowed to make amends straight after.
The crowd held everyone who resided in Chandni Chowk apart from one ominous man. When the raging cop cast a glance at his room, he found the door closed and no one nearby it. Calling Riya and Shree over, he ordered harshly that he wanted a copy of everyone's statement who lived in Chandni Chowk. Somehow, that instruction ended up being his worst one ever...
04th September 2012, 9:15pm - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Riya stifled a yawn while trudging her heavy bones up the stairs. With the amount of work she had done today, she simply wanted to retire to a place to sleep whether it be the floor or her plush, comfy bed. She wondered if Shree and Arjun Sir were also this drained because Arjun Sir had gone to Chawri Bazaar since two hours as Gurwinder had been spending too much time there lately. Shree was still busy collecting evidence from the body. So, finally it was her left to go and interview this selfish tenant who hadn't shown his/her face since the crime took place.
She instinctively touched her hostler, fully alert, weighing the outcomes. Maybe this tenant was the killer and was waiting for the police to come knocking so that he/she could strike? Or maybe, this occupier had already fled after seeing the police arrive? The more she thought, the more her nerves got stimulated and she cursed herself for being such pusillanimous chicken. Arjun Sir, Shree, Chottu or Rathore Sir never cared about what could happen to them - they fought for justice. And here she was, after being a trained martial artist scared from the outcomes. No, she would be brave and show everyone especially Arjun Sir that she was good and experienced enough to be a part of ETF.
But when the door open, all the optimism flew out of her like a canary making a hasty exit from it's cage. The height of the man only made her feel more intimidated with her 5 ft 6 inches versus his 6 ft 4. She noticed the scars on the side of his face - most likely caused by a bear attack and his slit eyebrows and rough beard here and there. He had the perfect attributes of being a suspect, for only a strong man could throw a bulky one like Gurwinder over the railing. Realistically, a woman was just simply not strong enough.
"What is it, you little chit? If you're from the brothel then go back and tell that bas***d Vikram that I don't do Tuesdays! No pretty lass can change that decision. Now, get out of my sight!" He hurled the door at her but she bravely stepped forward and stopped it with her boot. His interpretation of her made Riya's temper flare up and she vowed to give this man a good punch and a kick if nothing more. Whatever even made him think of her as a prostitute? She wasn't dressed like one, she didn't cake her face in excessive makeup and she didn't talk like one either.
Clearing her throat, she hissed "Sir, you are mistaken. I am from the Emergency Task Force," she pulled out her badge and flashed it in front of his face. "Also, prostitutes don't walk around in hostlers and jeans - they tend to wear something more revealing like a blouse with an extremely low cleavage. Your lack of knowledge about prostitutes only drives me to one conclusion; your behavior is an act and that you raised the topic of brothels and prostitutes to hurl an insult at an ETF officer. I can have you arrested for throwing such claims at anyone who knocks on your door." Inwardly, her conscious patted her shoulder proudly while the meeker side of her yelled at her for being so naive.
She knew she had hit a chord when he roughly yanked her inside his room and smacked her head with an object. Her head was numb and ears rang wildly when she fell to the floor. The impact didn't help but only deteriorated her condition.
"I'll tell you what a prostitute is, you bitch! You and that no good loser of a cop, Arjun Rawte will see what happens to intruding little cops like you! And what luck of mine can be better than to have an ETF officer standing before my door?" And then he laughed malevolent and kicked her in the ribs erupting one last moan from her before she gave into her fatigue and pain.
04th September 2012, 11:30pm - Chandni Chowk, Delhi
Arjun scanned the statements Riya had left for him in the ETF van with Shree. It included word for word and Arjun's heart swelled in pride. He had clearly judged the feisty woman wrong - she was something alright... And since he was not going to retire down from the work till perhaps morning, he decided to find her and apologize for his behavior.
"Shree, where's Riya?" he asked, looking around the crime scene where the body was being taken for postmortem. "And how's the work progressing? Anything interesting?"
"Nope," popped Shree, smacking his lips together in his casual, relaxed behavior. Realizing his mistake, he sat up and professionally asked "Why did Gurwinder spend so much time at Chawri Bazaar? It would really help if..."
"Those vendors didn't really give much information. Some refused to cooperate and called me a forged cop - when I pulled out a gun only then did they open their mouths." Arjun picked up his tea and took a sip. "Let's see what the postmortem shows... hopefully something new otherwise we're back to square one with no new leads."
"Oh! Since you have mentioned 'leads', I vaguely remember Riya telling me that she was on her last statement with a 'rather egoistical, selfish, uncaring tenant who hadn't bothered to show up his face'." Shree quoted and clicked his fingers in thought wondering who this occupier was. He turned to speak more but saw Arjun Sir rushing out while dropping his glass of tea in the clean van. Was it a nature's call or a disturbing one, Shree couldn't tell. But he glared openly at the mess and wondered why everyone seemed keen to make a mess apart from Riya. Humph...
Note: I'm sorry for the shortness of this update - I've just started school and already the pressure is tightening around my throat. Another two updates this week hopefully... but other than that, thanks for reading/commenting/liking/criticizing. Everything is appreciated!