Dal ka Kinaara
His photos were shot up across all the top newspapers of the city. “Dead man found stuffed in a brief case” was the headline of the day. All the local media channels covered the topic, each one putting forth its own opinion of how the man must have died.
Some religious groups took advantage of this.
Fake whatsapp forwards from Hindu and Muslim radical groups were circulated, each group claiming the dead man to belong to it and how there was a raised intolerance against them by the other.
Police was doing its own investigation. As of now, no detail on the dead man was discovered. Forensic teams from Delhi were assigned for the work.
Jammu, the developed city it was, the lack of public CCTV’s was a boon for the culprit. No CCTV meant any traces. However, footage from the closest houses, having cameras outside was recovered only to disappoint later. There was no such thing that could lead to the murder.
It was clear that it was a murder and the fact that the internal organs, the most important ones were missing made it even clearer.
‘Yeh murder hi hai’ Digvijay said for the tenth time to Vikrant. After spending the whole night in the hospital, Digvijay went back home and slept for a while, before returning back to work in the afternoon. Vikrant however had dozed off in the hospital itself so he resumed his duty back in the office, in the morning.
‘Yes sir’ he said, ‘this one’s a clear shot murder. I mean, look at the organs that are missing. The most expensive ones that sell in black market’
Vikrant was right. Organ trafficking in the black market wasn’t something new to ears. Kidneys were sold to sell them at a higher price to someone who needed transplant; some kidneys were sold to the cannibals who had fetishes of eating human kidneys while Testes were sold to multinational companies where they churned out steroids and hormonal injections to increase the sexual drive in the impotent.
All of this was going through Digvijay’s mind right now. Maybe they needed to track a black market seller or maybe they needed to find out exactly who this guy, the one that suffered the horrific death was.
Police enquired the local residents who lived near where the incident took place. None of them had the answer to the questions as to who left
The whole day passed in a second. While Vikrant was busy in preparing the press releases to give out to the media which assured the best was being done and the murdered would soon be brought at his feet.
Digvijay, however was busy in collecting information on the ground. He took out a list of all the men missing since the last one week and tried to match it with the dead guy, the victim.
Unfortunately, none of the pictures matched him. He pulled out older pictures, a month older of those young men who went missing.
Another two hours of disappointment.
‘Hello sir, did you get anything?’ Vikrant said as he called Digvijay who now was in his car, thinking his brains out.
‘Nahi yaar’ he said, ‘Abhi tak toh kuch nahi’
‘Yeh madarchod khud toh mar gaya aur hamare liye musibat chodh gaya’ Vikrant said and laughed. Digvijay was now pissed off at the level of coldness he had towards the case.
Digvijay didn’t respond and cut the call.
Two days passed, still no luck.
Sleepless nights, over working hours and dark spots under eyes where the results for Digvijay in these days. He enquired each and every possible detail related to this case, even tried to trace back some of the organ traffickers of the city but there was no luck found.
Finally, the pictures of the dead body were sent across all the major police stations across the country.
National TV started covering this news. They had their own trial, media trial as they called it. The day this news broke, all the channels jerked off to his dead body, the reporters spoke random words that made them sound serious and what not.
Politicians used the fake whatsapp forwards to cash in votes. Assholes, they were.
At home, his wife for the first time was proud of him. Well, proud might not be the exact word to use here as her emotions still had hatred and frustration but it felt like for the first time, she felt her husband was worth leaving her last name for.
Digvijay appeared on the newspapers and on television to tell how they were investigating and taking every step with precision, every time he was on screen, she would call her friends to tell them that he was the one she was married to, just to make them realize that her life wasn’t as fucked up as they expected it to be.
His son, Raj, however continued to stay an asshole, fighting over fancy laptops, smartphones and smart TVs which his family couldn’t afford.
At school, while most kids asked him about how his dad was working, some of them even made fun of him, terming him son of a ‘loser’ and a son of a bitch who was destined to starve on road.
The cunt he was, he preferred the latter one to affect him more.
As the third day was about to end, a call from Delhi police made Digvijay’s day. The dead body was finally identified.
Pranab Roy, 27, a Bengali whose family was settled in South Delhi who was working as a slave for a private multinational in Delhi was the unfortunate.
As the news of death broke to his family, they were shattered to pieces. He was the only son of theirs. It was the worst news that they could have ever got.
Eyes were raining in their house. How could this happen. Why would this happen and why would someone do so much harm to their son, was a mystery for them.
Digvijay and Vikrant the next day packed their bags and left for Delhi, for further investigation.
After ten hours of drive, they straightaway headed towards his house located in South Delhi, one of the most spacious and expensive areas of Delhi. The heavy traffic of Delhi made them drive for wait for an hour extra.
As they entered the capital, Vikrant kept on poking fun at the large ad hoardings of different political parties placed after every step.
‘Condom ka ad kam hai, inka zaada hai’ Digvijay said and laughed. He was finally in relief, now that at least the victim was identified. Finally, after three days of sleeplessness and depression, the case was heading forward.
‘Kya chutiya sheher hai’ Vikrant said, ‘itni gaand nahi hai jitni gaadiyan hai’
Both of them laughed together.
‘House number two twenty-nine’ he said to Vikrant who was driving now. It was seven of the evening now, darkness prevailed in the city.
The city was wonderful but it felt as if it had sold all its rights to mere advertising. Condoms, Netflix, political parties, name it; you’ll see an ad hoarding right after each step.
As they finally found the house, Vikrant stopped the car just outside. The nameplate read ‘Roy Mansion’. It was literally a mansion, painted in red and white. A dream house for the two, something they would never be able to afford.
As they entered the home, a servant came to receive them, at the gate.
The stale smell of shoes dominated their nose. The air had a stale smell, lacking the taste of fresh air and suffocating enough.
It was just the way like the homes who had witnessed a loss. There was complete silence; one could hear the ticking of the clocks.
He made them sit on the fancy sofas in the spacious living room and brought tea for them.
‘Sahib ko bulao’ Digvijay said to the servant, ‘phone par baat hua hai’
He nodded and then disappeared inside a room. Both of them sipped tea and examined the fanciness the house had. Antique glasses, lamps, statues and even a chandelier. The Roys must be rich as fuck. Both of them raised eyebrows as they saw each other.
In two minutes, dressed in a white kurta and pyjama, an old man probably in his late sixties appeared. He must be Mr Roy.
Both of them stood up. Digvijay took out his card and showed it to him, ‘Sub inspector Digvijay, Jammu Police’ he said.
‘Hello Mr Kashyap, I’m Roy. Arnab Roy’ he said and shook hands with him. He had swollen red eyes, probably because of all the sulking and a wrinkled face.
‘We’re here to question you on Pranab’ Digvijay said, ‘as we talked on the phone earlier’
‘Yes, yes’ he said and sat, ‘ask what you want to ask’
In the next hour, Mr Roy told everything about Pranab.
Pranab Roy was working in Cisco, Delhi. He was twenty-seven and had earned well. He got married last year to a girl he had found on the dating app Tinder. She was working in Dell, office just few minutes away.
Unfortunately, two months after their marriage, in a train accident, both, her wife and her brother died.
In further discussion, it was revealed that he had already donated one of his kidneys to his wife, as she was suffering from a kidney infection that needed urgent transplant.
His wife’s sudden loss left him broken. He became the worst of his; affecting his work and the relations he had with his family. Finally, after months, he became normal. His life came back to track and he started working like never before.
It was recently that he wanted to take a break from all this and travelled to Kashmir, alone, for a week. This was the last that they heard from him.
A week ago, the day he reached, he had called them. After that, no contact.
‘So you tried to make no contact with him, once he stopped calling or texting?’
‘No’ Mr Roy said, ‘we wanted our son to be himself. We wanted him to have some space. He was happy after so much time. God knew this would happen’ he started crying. Vikrant stood and put his hand on his shoulder.
‘Aapka galati nahi hai sir’ he said. The old man cried, even more.
‘I shouldn’t have let him go’ he muttered to himself repeatedly and sulked. Vikrant looked at Digvijay. He stood up and held his hand.
‘We’ll make sure your son gets justice’ he said, ‘He will get justice’
‘Please’ He folded his hands, ‘I don’t want my son’s soul to wander. I want him to be free. Please’
Drool fell on Roy’s kurta as he sulked immensely.
‘Please, cooperate with us’ Digvijay said.
‘My wife hasn’t eaten anything since morning. She is sitting there, inside, alone and numb’ Roy said, ‘I don’t want to see her like this anymore. Please sir, help us’ he fell on Digvijay’s feet.
Digvijay held him up and said, ‘We will. Please stop crying now’
After few more minutes, Roy finally stopped crying.
Digvijay asked for the flight tickets, the hotel bookings and the contacts he was in while in Kashmir.
‘Can we have anyone to talk to from her wife’s side?’ he asked. Roy shook his head.
‘Poor girl only had a brother’ he said ‘The stars must be unlucky for my kid’ Roy said went back into the room. After few minutes, he came back.
‘Here’ he said and handed an envelope to them, ‘flight tickets, hotel bookings and everything that he left’
‘Can we check his room?’ Vikrant said. Roy looked down.
‘What?’ Digvijay said and raised an eyebrow.
‘Nothing’ he replied, ‘oh, yes you can’
Both of them then followed him, upstairs to his room. There were sounds of cries from the room next to his.
‘My wife’ Roy said. They nodded.
In the next half an hour, they searched his entire room for whatever they could find. They recovered a journal he used to write. Digvijay went through it casually and found nothing except some shitty senseless shayaries.
His room had everything perfectly on place. Like nothing was displaced from its position. Digvijay scratched his head. Roy’s red eyes were fixed on both of them. The white, perfect walls and the perfectly clean bed; it felt like as if no one lived there. His room resembled more like the rooms of Three Star hotels, where people mostly visit to sleep with strangers.
There was a photograph of him and his wife with their faces glued to each other, fixed in a photo stand kept nearby the bed.
The girl was fair, with green eyes and had sharp facial features. Her eyes were big and her lips were glossy red. The perfectly white complexion was rare to find, without even a single mark on her face. Her eyebrows were perfectly shaped. Indian Kylie Jenner, one could call her.
'Shruti' Roy said, 'his wife'
Digvijay stared at the picture once again.
'Can we take this photograph?' he asked Roy. Vikrant looked at Roy.
'Yes, why not' he said, 'if it helps to bring justice to my poor son's soul then please'
Digvijay removed the photograph from the frame and put into his pocket.
After fifteen more minutes, when they thought they had everything they needed, they asked for the permission to leave.
‘Will you bring Justice to my son?’ Roy said, his voice breaking down again.
‘Yes we will’ Vikrant said.
‘Oh my poor..’ Roy said and before he could cry once again, they left.
‘Hotel Luxuria’ Vikrant said as he held the hotel’s card in his hand, ‘I’ve seen this hotel. Its near Dal lake’
They were now sitting in their service gypsy, outside the Roy mansion.
‘I’ve seen it too’ Digvijay said, ‘it’s not an easy place to get away with a murder. It’s always crowded. Dal lake is a happening place’
‘Sir, Mujhe toh lagta hai iske baap ne hi isko marwaaya hai’ Vikrant said, ‘yeh kya baat hui ki usko space chaiye tha aur maine isliye ussey call nahi kiya. Hamare baap logon se do ghanta baat na karo, dusre sheher tak baat pahunch jaati hai’
Digvijay nodded and scratched his chin.
‘But he said he wanted to give his son space, right. I mean come on, look at them, why would someone so rich want to kill off his son?’
‘Yeh ameeron ka bhi behenchod, kuch samajh nahi aata. Jis chedh se hagte hain usi main jeeb daalte hain’
Digvijay’s phone rang. It was from an unknown caller. After two rings, he picked up.
‘Kya sahib’ a drunk male voice said, struggling with the words.
‘Kaun hai?’ he said, ‘daaru peeke gaand marwaane ka shaunk hai kya, jo raat ko ek police waale ko phone kar raha hai’
Vikrant, who was driving looked at him with a blank face.
The person on the other side laughed. ‘Sahib, Delhi ghoom rahe ho jabki asli maal toh Dal ke kinaare pe aapka intezaar kar raha hai’
Digvijay froze. ‘Kya chaiye tujhe?’ he said and gestured Vikrant to put his call at tracing. Vikrant nodded and immediately called the control room.
‘Sahib, biwi nahi hai na bacha. Baap nahi hai na maa. Mera toh bas paisa hai’ he said.
Anger rushed through him now but he kept his calm.
‘Kya jaanta hai’ he said, ‘phone par bata’
‘Agar phone par bata diya toh paisa kya apni gaand marwaane ka loonga sahib’ he said and laughed again.
‘Teri toh main maarunga, woh bhi bina paisey ke’ Digvijay grunted and cut the call.
‘Sir, who was that?’ asked Vikrant. Digvijay closed his eyes for a moment and tried to let go of the anger.
‘Paisa insaan ko kitna bada madarchod bana deta hai, yeh kabhi nahi socha tha’ he said, ‘location mila kya?’
‘Haan sir, mil gaya’ he said, pointing to the co-ordinates sent by the control room.
Digvijay wiped sweat beads off his forehead. Finally, this was coming to an end.
‘Ab gaadi dal ke kinaare par hi rokna’ he said ‘Bahut ho gaya behenchod’ as Vikrant sped up the car.