Round 2 : Chapter 20
Read the previous part here.
The cool breeze of Mumbai always had something magical and mysterious about them at the same time, he thought. He descended the slope to this balcony to enjoy the cool evening. The clouds are dark, the power shuts down and the city is buzzing with people, like bees rushing back to their comfort zone. To their safe haven. But he always had the pain. More than the pain in his leg, the pain and helplessness of his heart was excruciating. He, Aryan Ahuja has remained an ordinary man all his life. Raised in a middle-class family, choosing to teach as a profession and happy with the income he made and the family he had. But his life crashed a little when he met with that horrible accident which took his leg and reminded him of the deadly day every morning.
He was driving his Honda Scooter to work after dropping his kids at their school bus stop. That’s when he saw the three school girls cross the road. They crossed a too dangerous road too casually, with cotton candies in their hands. When they saw the water lorry honking monstrously asking to run for their lives, with no intension to halt whatsoever, they were terror-struck. They scrambled and ran but it would have been too late. Too late if Ahuja dint ride his scooter across, which gave the girls a couple more seconds to cross. And also gave them a life. But when the tires of the lorry came to a screeching halt, it was on Aryan Ahuja’s leg. He was never able to say whether he feel bad for the loss of his leg or not. He was always content about trading them for three lives.
That evening, he was sitting on his wheel chair, in his balcony, sipping tea that his daughter-in-law has served him with a smile. He was happy, he concluded to himself. And then he saw the house across the street. Mrs.Tara Dutta was pacing the room hurriedly. “No, is she dressing up with the curtains apart?” .He felt guilty of prying and decided to turn his wheel chair and return to his room. That’s when he noticed that it was not Mrs.Dutta, instead the maid with that expensive coat that Mrs.Dutta used to wear. “These maids..!”, he thought to himself with a small smile on his lips. They always fantasize about being rich and take advantage when the owner is not around. But that’s all the fun they could get, he wondered.
That’s when he saw it. The shock, panic and the struggle. Before he could process what was happening, it was too late. A little too late. He was shocked beyond explanations and didn’t know whether to believe what he saw or not. He sincerely hoped what he saw was all just imaginations that his mind was making up. But he realized it was not, when the cops arrived with sirens and blue & red lights that kept flashing on his window that is now closed.
He has witnessed a murder. Whether it will help in anyway or not, his conscience suggested him to tell what he saw. And he did. He was looking at the house from his patio, which was once a calm residence, but now a crime-scene; contemplating on what to do. Java seemed to find the curiosity of this neighbor a little strange, as everyone usually turns away from crime-scene and doesn’t like being related to it and questioned. Java walked over to him in his ever-confident stride which sends shivers down everybody. But Mr.Ahuja was calm and steady. He has something that the cop might want. He had nothing to worry about.
“Film shootings and crime scenes are always a fun to watch,uh?? “, said Java with no introduction, with a cigar hanging desperately from the corners of his lips.
Aryan Ahuja gave him a small smile and politely said “Hello Inspector. I’m Aryan Ahuja, retired School teacher. And you are…?”, he left it open-ended and extended his hand.
Java was slightly taken back by this welcoming and confident neighbor in a wheel-chair. But yet he took Mr.Ahuja’s hands and said , “I’m Jawalkar,but you can call me Java. Working on this case, that you must have heard about. “he said, pointing vaguely towards the Dutta residence.
“I think I saw the murder Mr.Java”, said Ahuja and saying Java was stupefied is not even close.
Round 1 :
Round 2 :
Team Potliwale Baba