Thursday, 25 September 2014

Connections ....and more!!


Read the previous part of the story here : A Good News To Share

"You knew Lallan?!!" , the spontaneity of Tara and Cyrus' enquiries made it look as if it was a dialogue , well rehearsed in advance! 

Jennifer bit her tongue . She had played safe till now, avoiding every bit of shady affair that she had been a witness to/ or had been a part of , till now. She didn't want to cook up any fresh controversies , least of all, divulging her ill advised fling with Lallan. But she knew she had given it away . She now had no options but to open up.

" Jennifer, answer me", Tara was looking steadfastly at her ! 
Cyrus wasn't one to speak in that same tone of voice to her, but he too wanted to know the detail of this latest piece of sensational information .

" yes, I knew him ....but you can be absolutely certain that I didn't have any connection to any of his misdeeds. Hate to admit this, but being in a two week relationship with the guy is something  that I wish I could have erased from my past", Jennifer looked genuinely shameful. 

Cyrus felt a sharp pang of pain somewhere deep inside . 

" I was high flying , you see.....bagging the photo assignment for a particularly glam event some time back, when this crook introduced himself as a Fashion Photographer and bonded with me", Jennifer was earnest ...." I fell for his looks, and his suave manners . But my love bubble had burst , in the very first week , when Lallan's motives appeared somewhat strange to me. Besides the many rave parties where I had to accompany him , I quickly got to see that he had a way with girls. I realised the trap I had fallen into . I suffered a lot....mentally well as ......",Jennifer's eyes welled up with tears," ....he was a sadist ! "

Tara allowed Jennifer to continue without interruptions .

  "Before long, my camera saved me in the most unexpected of manners. At all the parties I went to , I was designated as the freelancer. It was when one of my photos , that had a Delhi-Haryana honcho snorting cocaine, inadvertently surfaced at places where it was unintended,that landed Lallan in an uncomfortable position and I believe, some of his businesses got hampered . He was troubled by his business partners , in which he got agitated and in the time when Lallan got busy clearing the controversy , I could escape  and rush back to Kochi. But Lallan never lost track of me. He could've disposed of me if he wanted,  his tentacles are long enough.  But Lallan wanted his revenge as it was due to my actions, that he had suffered some losses.  He would send me reminders often , that my punishment was pending and he had made it clear that I had to make it up to him . I had promised that I would , lest I also suffer the same fate that many of the other girls whom he beds , meet ......", Jenny's cheeks were deluged by torrential downpours from her eyes..

Tara listened with rapt attention to what Jenny said. Cyrus' initial bits of bitterness had long evaporated , and he was now edging closer to Jenny to cast an arm round her. He could understand the difficulties Jennifer had to face, given the grave mistake she had committed. 
" where did you get to know Aryan , then?", Tara hadn't lost the plot in spite of being drawn into a totally different revelation .

" oh, it was in one of those Page 3 parties I attended. There was this gentleman Mr Aryan Ahuja, a master artist, who was gifted with a skill to sketch portraits in 2 minutes ! He was obliging all the socialites in that Delhi party , drawing them magically in a flash! In fact the design of my tattoo here on my wrist, had been from Aryan's sketch only , that he had drawn around my cartoon when I had requested him to draw mine !  Aryan had put in this butterfly by a few swift sketches beside my portrait , as an emblem of my carefree attitude! I was so smitten by it , that when I got back to Kochi, I had got this design on my wrist " , and Jenny showed them her wrist .

Cyrus began to think how the world had become smaller.
"Connections ", he muttered to himself , and sighed.

Aryan Ahuja looked like a feasible option to fall back onto, since all three of them had some positive opinion about him!!

"You understand Lallan there's little hope of you leaving the country now?", said Madam S.
Lallan nodded.

" Does Shekhar Dutta have an eye for your products?", Madam S's words slithered out of her tongue. Women , with all body , and no brains , were her merchandise.

Lallan frowned, "How do I know that?"

Madam S smirked , "Why not give it a try ?? Where's this special product of yours that you said , would be your trumpcard in case the need arises?"

" But this product was not meant to be utilised on this Shekhar Dutta , Ma'am....this was.....", Lallan's argument was cut short curtly by the lady, "Shut up!! If i know Shekhar Dutta well enough, and your product's one tough cookie,the job should be done !" 

Lallan had no clue as to how Madam S knew so much . 

Samantha knew,that Shekhar Dutta loved to be with strong women ......from personal experience!

Read the next part of the story here: In Pursuit of Happiness 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Few Clouds Cleared



Read the previous part of the story here : Lets Play, Hide and Seek the 'Riddle'

Roohi became aware that the situation was too grim at the moment , so she kept quiet. Shekhar was furious at the involvement of Police ,by Cyrus . A deep sense of fright surged within him..... Tara had found out about the locked rooms , the dead bitches, the toy dog that Roohi had got at their home ......Shekhar began to dread the connections . Now,this girl Jennifer had been kidnapped . Were they all headed back to his wild 90s years? 

As Cyrus' phone rang , he answered in a  choked voice . A vaguely familiar voice responded,  "This call is for Shekhar Dutta . Give him the phone . As for you Cyrus, I know you're intelligent enough to  divert the police , if you have alerted them already ! The pretty lady needs to be safe , doesn't she ? "

Cyrus almost cried into the phone,"NOOOOOOOO,she should be fine , who are you ?? "
The caller was adamant, " just give the phone to Shekhar Dutta and shut up idiot !"
Trembling , Cyrus gave his phone to Shekhar , who responded, " yes , Shekhar Dutta here! "
" Cool, Dutta a good guy now and come over to our old deck at Pahargunj , will you ? And don't tell me you don't know who's this . Keep this conversation a secret from your wife & that idiot Cyrus .....I know you will! " Shekhar clenched his teeth , and disconnected the phone. 

" who was it ? You know him ? What did he want ? " , demanded Tara .
Shekhar stared on ahead, "I need to handle this myself , sorry dear....can't tell anything now . It's for the well being of the girl ! "
" But just a little while ago, you weren't interested at all in the well being of Jenny ? " , Cyrus was suspicious ! 

Shekhar was agitated, " Listen , we don't have much time . If we have to save our backs , I must go now . And Tara, for Roohi's sake, don't leave her alone and come looking for me . You have seen how dangerous it has become ! "
And he left without another word .

Percival Batra !! After so many years !! That he had become powerful yet again wasn't unknown to Shekhar , but he did not have the slightest idea that he would get embroiled in these things yet again!  His head was spinning , as he entered that much trodden alley in the fringe of Pahargunj . This was the hub of his dealings of the past , but he had tried to steer clear of it carefully , but now , he had found out that he needed to get back again . 

As Shekhar pushed open the door to the inn, he got that familiar musty smell , yet again . On a stool was seated a man Shekhar knew well , from his past , an old acquaintance . He had a frown on his face , which made way for a smile on seeing Shekhar! A couple of other men sat alongside .

" What do you want now Percival ? Why are you doing this to me ?? Why have you dragged me here? " , Shekhar demanded.

 The man responded, " Dutta, have a Seat | so again, we do meet | 
          but, pleasantries first| would you like something to eat?"

Shekhar shouted, " I have no time for this rhyming nonsense of yours Percival , you've already caused enough harm to Cyrus ......all those short messages on Mondays , I've just come to know about them! "

Percival looked bemused, " Ah , but my dear | your mind still isn't clear | as to why I called you here!!"
Shekhar had had enough : " PERCIVAL !!!!! Stop this shit and ..........".

" Relax Dutta , there's no Percival!
Ah , to my name , I haven't been loyal !
Nowadays, I'm Prof Paresh Borah to all ! "

Shekhar slumped on his seat on a heap . His mouth remained half open, and he gulped twice , before finally managing to force it shut ! It was his old drug trafficking accomplice , who was now Cyrus' professor! He was not at all prepared for this !!

" surprised , Dutta?? Well , as they say, old habits die hard ....and I have found it extremely difficult to let go of my love for poems & haikus ! Besides, I realised , I had to utilise my education to make a living, so understand , naa?? "

" why am I here ? What do you want from me and Cyrus ? "

" first of all, I'd like to congratulate you for reciprocating the old saying , "great minds think alike ' were clever in sending across Cyrus as a tenant at your house right ? A law student , preoccupied with studies, was exactly what was required by you so that the police never suspected anything, right? I saw it too! I realised Cyrus was the perfect shield ! "

Shekhar shifted uncomfortably in his seat !

" besides, I got a double whammy with Cyrus ! I set him on a case to work with which involved a few murders that happened in and around Delhi a couple of years back . You see, it involved my business , and I was lucky to have wiped out evidences. But I needed to double check whether there were any loose ends, and sure enough , the idiot found them out ! Good for him that he always maintained the files, and after his investigations, I  always got the files removed from him . I thought he would give up on the case, but the guy was so bull-headed that he clung on! Boy, the extents to which interns would go these days to get those foreign scholarships !! That's when I decided to frighten him with those coke-smuggling bitches of ours! I could've removed Cyrus if I wanted, but you see , I didn't want to attract police interest in my beloved Chuna Mandi! "

Shekhar was too perplexed to talk , but he too had his own doubts ! Percival opened up even more.

" Scaring Cyrus was a motive , but I also wanted to let you know about my activities here at Chuna Mandi ! Hence the Dead Doggy Monday shows! But,when nearly two months went by , and you still didn't react, I realised the silly boy must be keeping it all to himself, trying to cope with the ghastly sights himself ! I had confirmed news that Cyrus was troubled every Monday night , but at the same time , I needed to cleanse his room rapidly , so that even if he complained to anybody , nobody would believe him , apart from you ! And , Dutta it was your ingenious brain that hatched this ploy to smuggle coke in dogs' bodies , right? You've indeed saved me a lot of hassles and costs ! Who'd miss some stray bitch on the road , huh? "

Shekhar cursed himself and his dark past. He had made a lot of money indeed, but he also had moved away from this life when he started a family . Money still lured him, and so he wanted a percentage from the proceedings that were going on at his home ! 

Percival went on," I wanted you to contact me on your own , but there was no communication . I was also facing a new problem that needed to be dealt with. So yesterday , I had even gone to Mumbai , to supply that dog to your daughter ! The way she looked at me , I felt she might have seen me somewhere before . I was  sure that this could at least get you alerted . I needed you.
     This gets me to Lallan and this new wretched bitch ....this one is a lady ,by the way, called Madam S ...who's this new trafficking queen ! This lady had an interest in your house too , but since it was already mine, she couldn't get a foothold . Lallan was working for me for some years , but this lady recruited him too. I didn't realise that Lallan was double bluffing me , and also working for her till very lately . And, in my efforts to put some blame  elsewhere and misguide Cyrus, I subtly mentioned 'her' , as a pointer towards some Lady's involvement in the Monday night notes . And you too were clever , weren't you, Dutta? You knew there were these dealings on at your house , but you wanted to avoid the direct contact, and got the commission from Lallan , didn't you ?? "

Shekhar was aghast , " how'd you know that ?? "

" you see , I didnt suspect it at first, but one of my men was intelligent enough to pluck that phone out of your pocket when that girl was taken away this morning ! And it shows a fair amount of call history between you and Lallan ! "

Shekhar suddenly remembered," where's the girl ? "

Percival bluntly replied," I've no clue about that! "

" Percival , why did you say she was here ?"

" would you have come , if I hadn't laid her as the bait ?"

" I'll kill you Percival "

" relax Dutta, sit down . There's another mess that needs to be cleared . And this involves that asshole Lallan who has double faulted . He has kidnapped the girl and possibly taken her to Madam S's . In all probability , there has already been a call from her side to Cyrus by now , asking your house in ransom ! Lallan's got to pay for this breach of terms. "

Shekhar felt he was sinking . He was afraid of the police as he had spent a good amount of time in the past , evading the lawmakers . He was furious with Cyrus just a while ago for contacting the police because he didn't want the police to be involved in the proceedings at all.

" Dutta, I know what you're thinking of. You're fearing the same thing that caused you to leave this line! You dread the police , you dont want to get into trouble. But I want to overpower this Madam S without making too much of an uproar, you have to join forces with me to deal with her . Take it from me,she's quite a slippery customer ! "

    Cyrus' phone rang , and he clumsily picked it up , " Hello , who's this?"
A harsh female voice barked , " give the phone to Shekhar Dutta "!
A vein appeared to split in Cyrus' temple , " GODDDAMNNN ! Why do all of you keep asking for Shekhar? Where is Jennifer?"
" shut up F**ker, if you don't want her throat slit immediately ! "
Cyrus fell silent," Shekhar is not here ! Please don't harm Jenny! Please !" 
Tara snatched the phone from him , "Hello, hello, this is Shekhar's wife, who's this ?"

Read the next part of the story here: Reconciliation for a New Beginning

sketch by teammate : Arvind Passey